Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II
Chapter 14: Challenges of Benefit–Cost Analyses for Terrorism Security Regulations: Observations from Regulatory Analysis of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
14. Challenges of benefit–cost analyses for terrorism security regulations: observations from regulatory analysis of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Henry H. Willis and Tom LaTourrette INTRODUCTION As the US continues to invest in countermeasures to reduce the risk posed by terrorism, questions have arisen about how to assess the progress of these efforts. One area in which such questions have risen to prominence is the design and implementation of federal regulations focused on improving security against terrorist attacks. The Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, passed 9 January 2007, is one example of a statute passed by the US Congress that requires the Department of Homeland Security to regulate terrorism security efforts. Examples of language in this Act related to terrorism security include requirements for enhanced driver’s licenses, foreign travel and visa documents, and container scanning and seals. Before major federal regulations can be approved, their benefits and costs must be evaluated to help guide decision-makers in their deliberations (31 USC Section 1111 on Money and Finance: Improving Economic Efficiency; Presidential Executive Orders 12291 and 12866 on economic analysis of regulations). Accurately estimating the benefits of terrorism security efforts is very difficult, primarily because of the great uncertainty surrounding the risk of terrorism and the lack of data on the effects of security measures on reducing terrorism risks. As a result, benefit analyses of regulations intended to improve terrorism security to date have relied primarily on qualitative assessments and quantitative estimates based on worst-case scenarios. Such approaches...
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