Revisiting the Cost of Statistical Life

The value of a statistical life, a popular way to quantify the benefits of mortality risk  reduction in   cost-  benefit analysis, has fundamental and often overlooked flaws  that make many of its uses questionable. (James Broughel)

NB   See this 1969 Publication of the Department of Defense


The carbon skyscraper: A new way of picturing rapid, human-caused climate change

Reprint from the Washington Post

The following post is written by Peter Strauss, the son of Peter Strauss, one of the outstanding managers of the administrative state.

Speed kills.

That’s why firing bullets from a gun is more dangerous than tossing them by hand. Why skydivers use parachutes. Why roads have speed limits. And why it’s critical to understand how quickly human activity will drive the climate to change, compared with past rates. Will we cause gradual shifts that civilization and life on Earth can adapt to — or are we igniting a wildfire that can’t be outrun?

Four Managerial Changes That Could Increase OIRA’s Leverage

It is refreshing to see  an article dealing with either OIRA or administrative law that does not address judicial review or the methodologies of benefit-cost analysis, however significant. Attempts to have the political science profession make similar contributions to the management of OIRA have been singularly unsuccessful.


Benefit-Cost Analysis: OIRA’s Lifeline

It would have been virtually impossible to establish an organization within the Executive Office of the President to review regulations had it not been established in an institution known for performing objective economic analyses of  proposals for federal sponsorship. Consequently the resultant grant of authority to OMB to initiate centralized regulatory review did not occur as a result of OMB’s  legal acumen.

Notwithstanding the important role that benefit-cost analysis played in the establishment of OIRA it should be noted that many in the centralized regulatory review community, including some employed by OIRA, believe that the use of benefit-cost analysis  is entirely beholden to Executive Order 12866 because of its laudatory shelf life of more than two decades. This post provides the relevant background material for making a more informed assessment.

The Most Recent Report

01/04/2021  A question in some minds is whether the Administration will expand OIRA jurisdiction to include independent agencies in order to bolster its attack on climate change? The other side of the coin is why would a recently seated Administration with its myriad of issues  take on the Congress at this time? A premature action by the Administration could unleash the first bipartisan action in years, the foundation of which is for the Congress to protect what they consider to be rightfully theirs.