Valuing Life

Sunstein Cass R
In"Valuing Life, "Cass R. Sunstein uses his considerable personal experience and knowledge of law, policy, and behavioral studies to show how we can humanize regulation, and why we ought to do so. All governments regulate: they limit private conduct in order to promote important social goals, such as worker safety, clean air, racial and sexual equality, safe food, or greater financial security. As the U.S. regulatory czar, the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Sunstein oversaw regulation in a dazzling variety of areas, and this experience informs his book." Valuing Life"reveals how OIRA actually worksand how it can work betterfrom an on-the-ground perspective. With engaging examples drawn from his own experience, he explains how OIRA and cost-benefit analysis, a cornerstone of regulatory practice in this country, can benefit from taking behavioral and psychological studies into account. The effectiveness of government is often a product of how people respond to risk or fall prey to certain biases, such as overreaction to bad events. Covering some of the most important topics of our time, the book is linked by three core ideas: we must attend to the human consequences of policies; take account of how people actually behave; and respect human dignity.


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.

More Information
Publisher University of Chicago Press
ISBN-10 0226780171
ISBN-13 9780226780177
GTIN-13 9780226780177
GTIN-14 09780226780177
Subtitle Humanizing the Regulatory State
Author Sunstein Cass R
Edition 1
Language Code eng
Page Count 248
Publication Date Sep 4, 2014
Dimension 6.1 in 9.1 in 1 in