Regulating Risks

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Within a month of his inauguration, President Reagan appointed a “Lord High Executioner” for regulatory reform (the Bush task force) with a “little list” of regulations to be rescinded. In August the Bush task force declared victory and disbanded.

In fact the effort accomplished little because the administration underestimated the public’s desire to be protected, and because almost every regulation generates a constituency of companies that profit from it and will lobby for it. These realities prevent dramatic reform. Had Bush concentrated on deregulation of economic activities and reform of health and safety regulation, more would have been accomplished. In contrast to economic deregulation, the public evidences a strong desire to be protected from harm, and they desire this protection to be efficient as well as effective.




Published In

Risk Analysis , 4, 2, 79-80.