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Rational Risk Policy – The 1996 Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Rational Risk Policy: The 1996 Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures

W. Kip Viscusi


Ideally, individual risk‐taking decisions and government risk policies should be based on a rational balancing of risk and cost. Unfortunately, private decisions are subject to a number of biases including overestimation of small probabilities and alarmist responses to ambiguous risks. Hazard warnings can potentially be effective, but are not always ideal, as the people now overestimate the risks of smoking. Labour market estimates of the value of life can provide a rational reference point for benefit‐cost tests of risk regulations. The pressures exerted by irrational public responses to risk ... More

Keywords: ambiguity, hazard warnings, insurance, liability, probability, regulation, risk, safety, smoking, value of life

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1998 Print ISBN-13: 9780198293637
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0198293631.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

W. Kip Viscusi, author
Harvard Law School
Author Webpage