Cover: Risk by Choice: Regulating Health and Safety in the Workplace, from Harvard University PressCover: Risk by Choice in E-DITION

Risk by Choice

Regulating Health and Safety in the Workplace

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674186217

Publication Date: 04/13/1983

200 pages

2 line illustrations, 24 tables


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Whose life is worth how much? To some people it seems immoral even to ask, but to others—to the worker, say, who is offered a dangerous but lucrative job—it is a practical question. Should government interfere with a worker’s decision, a personal negotiation with destiny? If so, when and how?

Risk by Choice presents a comprehensive, nontechnical analysis of these questions and of government risk regulation policies in general. W. Kip Viscusi shows that the goal of a risk-free workplace is a chimera, leading to expensive regulatory programs that do little to lessen health and safety risks. He argues that when workers are aware of the hazards they face, market forces operate to promote efficient levels of risk. Government should intervene only when these forces fail to work—principally when workers do not understand the risks—and then should design policies that complement market forces rather than supplant them. Based in part on the author’s experience as a member of the White House group that reviewed government regulations in many areas, this book offers the most extensive discussion available of the economic foundations of risk regulation, as well as new information on OSHA and the White House regulatory oversight process.

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