Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli
Chapter 12: Risk analysis
Risk analysis (RA) originates with the proliferation of environmental, human health and safety risks that, from the 1960s and 1970s, skewed the legislative production of many Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in favour of regulatory solutions. Since then, RA has evolved from a quite rigid triad of risk assessment, risk management and risk communication to a more integrated framework of risk governance, both in the theory and the practice. The evolution of RA has followed specific national patterns, especially with regard to its relation to cost-benefit analysis, for which RA is also referred to in the literature as impact assessment (IA). This chapter examines the relationship between RA and IA in both theoretical and practical terms. Focusing on the regulatory frameworks of the European Union and the USA, attention is paid to the institutional forms that these paradigms have been taking in combining rigorous policy analysis with reasoned regulatory decisions and discusses the challenges of translating such meeting into credible policy engagement in terms of public involvement around uncertain scientific matters. The chapter concludes by drawing lessons from the European and the American approaches.
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