122 research outputs found

    An Economic Approach to Protecting Worker Health and Safety

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    Although some of the Assistant Secretaries of Labor for OSHA have worked hard to achieve these goals, even an OSHA advocate would have a hard time showing that workers are demonstrably better off with OSHA than they would have been had the previous institutions been allowed to stand.</p

    Conflicting Objectives in Regulating the Automobile

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    Federal regulation of automobile safety, emissions, and fuel economy is contradictory. Safety equipment and emissions control reduce fuel economy; reducing the size of automobiles is estimated to increase fatalities by 1400 a year and significantly increase serious injuries. These secondary impacts of regulation roughly double the estimated costs of achieving the individual goals. In formulating regulations, these contradictions must be taken into account, along with the effects on the price of the vehicle and its attractiveness to buyers.</p

    Risk Assessment Reform is for Real

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    Dr. Gori seems opposed to anything he cannot observe and count. His notions about scientific theories are hard to understand in a trained scientist. He states “Predictive knowledge-not guesses-is what sends men to the moon, builds skyscrapers, flies airliners, runs computers, provides effective medicines and all technological improvements that enrich our lives.”</p

    The Potential of Energy Efficiency: An Overview

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    Efficient technology that requires less energy than is currently used to get the same or better output has fueled the growth of our economy for more than a century. But while America was building its infrastructure and developing its industry and service sectors, the energy intensity of the economy, BTU per dollar of output, fell dramatically. If this had not happened, it would now take four times as much petroleum, coal, and natural gas to produce current GDP, at the 1919 energy-intensity level. This would amount to 85 percent of the current world production of fossil fuels—just to support the U.S. economy. Producing, transporting, and using that much energy, even if it were technically feasible, would devastate the natural environment and contribute to carbon dioxide emissions that would exceed the atmospheric concentration some scientists think would be catastrophic.</p

    How Safe is Safe Enough? Setting Safety Goals

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    The public is concerned, perhaps even to the point of paranoia, about a host of hazards associated with current production and lifestyles, including pesticide residues in food, living near toxic waste dumps or nuclear power plants, highway safety, and the safety of air travel, to name a few. Supermarkets in California and Massachusetts now compete by advertising that their produce is free from pesticides. A few years ago, many people threw away boxes of cake mix or cornbread mix out of fear that tiny residues of EDB (the pesticide ethylene dibromide) might cause cancer. In 1989 consumption of red apples, apple juice, and other apple products all but stopped because of fear of Alar residuals. During the same period, the importation of all fruit from Chile was suspended and consumers were urged to dispose of all fresh produce that could have come from Chile -- all because two grapes were found to have been injected with small amounts of cyanide. In these and many similar cases, the concerns could not and cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. Some theoretical models such as the "one-hit" theory predict that cancer could be caused by even the most minute exposure to a carcinogen.</p

    Regulation to Civilize The Automobile

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    We can't live with cars and we can't live without them. Automobiles consume almost half the petroleum used in the United States. They are responsible for more than 40,000 deaths each year, 3 million injuries, and billions of dollars in property damage. They are the largest source of air pollution in cities and send millions of Americans into speechless rage every day in traffic jams.</p

    Risk Assessment for Regulation of Dioxin (TCDD)

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    People are concerned about health problems, particularly risks of cancer, and reproductive problems. Whether judged by contributions to the American Cancer Society, appropriations to the National Cancer Institute, and stories in the media, these concerns are important. At the same time, few people have even the most rudimentary idea of the nature of the risks, their magnitude, and of what can be done to lower risk. Consequently, people seem to demand simplistic solutions to these complicated, emotion-packed problems.</p

    Benefit-Cost Analysis: Do the Benefits Exceed the Costs?

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    Many economists see benefit-cost analysis as a rational, analytic tool that is neutral in its values. They assert that benefit-cost analysis is essential for complicated social issues. Our eloquence about the value of this framework has enabled us to convince Congress to write benefit-cost analysis into various laws and convinced President Reagan to embrace it. President Clinton has reaffirmed the Reagan order with minor changes.</p

    Safety in Transportation: The Role of Government

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    We can be too safe; Achieving' safety costs us time and other scarce resources. For example, if all transportation-vehicles were restricted to speeds of one mile per hour, there would be a marked: decrease in the accident rate, but few people would find they were better off than they are at present. A good transportation mode is one that gets me to my destination quickly, cheaply, and safely. In general, one attribute can be bettered only by worsening another-that is, additional safety is available only by trading for it higher cost or slower speed.</p

    Economic Implications of Trace Contaminants in the Air

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    The American economy currently produces a gross national product in excess of $1000 billion and is growing,at about 4% per year. The market is remarkable for what it manages to do. There are some areas where the market has failed, but by and large, few people would consider doing away with the market because of these failures. In 1977, when the full impact of the air pollution abatement laws are felt, we will be spending less than 1% of GNP to abate air pollution. There are two courses of action when a market failure has been identified. The first is to leave it alone; we probably choose this alternative too rarely. The second is for the government to intervene by changing the legal and institutional structure which allowed the failure to occur or by creating a regulatory commission to manage the problem directly. We tend to underestimate the cost of government intervention in the market. The cost is very substantial and intervention should take place only for serious market failures.</p
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