Valuing Life: Humanizing The Regulatory State

Hardcover | September 5, 2014

byCass R. Sunstein

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The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is the United States’s regulatory overseer. In Valuing Life, Cass R. Sunstein draws on his firsthand experience as the Administrator of OIRA from 2009 to 2012 to argue that we can humanize regulation—and save lives in the process.

As OIRA Administrator, Sunstein helped oversee regulation in a broad variety of areas, including highway safety, health care, homeland security, immigration, energy, environmental protection, and education. This background allows him to describe OIRA and how it works—and how it can work better—from an on-the-ground perspective. Using real-world examples, many of them drawn from today’s headlines, Sunstein makes a compelling case for improving cost-benefit analysis, a longtime cornerstone of regulatory decision-making, and for taking account of variables that are hard to quantify, such as dignity and personal privacy. He also shows how regulatory decisions about health, safety, and life itself can benefit from taking into account behavioral and psychological research, including new findings about what scares us, and what does not. By better accounting for people’s fallibility, Sunstein argues, we can create regulation that is simultaneously more human and more likely to achieve its goals.

In this highly readable synthesis of insights from law, policy, economics, and psychology, Sunstein breaks down the intricacies of the regulatory system and offers a new way of thinking about regulation that incorporates human dignity– and an insistent focus on the consequences of our choices.

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The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is the United States’s regulatory overseer. In Valuing Life, Cass R. Sunstein draws on his firsthand experience as the Administrator of OIRA from 2009 to 2012 to argue that we can humanize regulation—and save lives in the process. As OIRA Administrator, Sunstein help...

Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University. His many books include Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness and Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:September 5, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226780171

ISBN - 13:9780226780177

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
Franklin’s Algebra

ONE
Inside Government

TWO
Human Consequences, or The Real World of Cost-Benefit Analysis

THREE
Dignity, Financial Meltdown, and Other Nonquantifiable Things

FOUR
Valuing Life, 1: Problems

FIVE
Valuing Life, 2: Solutions

SIX
The Morality of Risk

SEVEN
What Scares Us

EPILOGUE
Four Ways to Humanize the Regulatory State

APPENDIX A
Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011

APPENDIX B
The Social Cost of Carbon

APPENDIX C
Estimated Benefi ts and Costs of Selected Federal Regulations

APPENDIX D
Selected Examples of Breakeven Analysis

APPENDIX E
Values for Mortality and Morbidity
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“It begins with an “insider” account of Sunstein’s time in the White House. Rather than a memoiristic tale about the personalities of the Obama administration, however, Sunstein focuses almost entirely on the OIRA’s day-to-day operations, laying out exactly how the office comes to approve regulations. He clearly invests government regulation with a great deal of importance, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call him passionate, he is certainly convinced that bureaucracy can do real good, specifically in the context of the regulatory state.”