Rational Risk Policy: The 1996 Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures


Rational Risk Policy is based on Viscusi's Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures, delivered at Lund University in 1996. The organizing principle of these lectures is that the irrationality of individual decisions is often embodied in government regulations. Rather than overcoming the inadequacies in individual risk beliefs and behaviour, governmental regulations often institutionalize them. Viscusi examines how consumers and workers perceive risk and the implications of these risk beliefs and behavioural responses to risk for government policy. Hazard warnings efforts, direct regulation, and liability are among the alternative modes of intervention. The role of risk tradeoffs with respect to the value of life as well as the consequences of wasteful regulatory expenditures are considered in a discussion of riskrisk analysis. Rational Risk Policy also includes a critique of the risk analysis practices used by government agencies as well as a consideration of how liability and social insurance should be integrated into a rational risk management strategy.

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