Faculty Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State, Friday, October 10 at noon

Faculty Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State, Friday, October 10 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor Cass R. Sunstein’s recently published book, Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State.

Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University, and is the author of several books, including, Simpler: The Future of Government (2013), with coauthor Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008), and Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism (2014).

Sunstein Valuing Life

“The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is the United States’s regulatory overseer. In Valuing Life, Cass R. Sunstein draws on his firsthand experience as the Administrator of OIRA from 2009 to 2012 to argue that we can humanize regulation—and save lives in the process.

As OIRA Administrator, Sunstein helped oversee regulation in a broad variety of areas, including highway safety, health care, homeland security, immigration, energy, environmental protection, and education. This background allows him to describe OIRA and how it works—and how it can work better—from an on-the-ground perspective. Using real-world examples, many of them drawn from today’s headlines, Sunstein makes a compelling case for improving cost-benefit analysis, a longtime cornerstone of regulatory decision-making, and for taking account of variables that are hard to quantify, such as dignity and personal privacy. He also shows how regulatory decisions about health, safety, and life itself can benefit from taking into account behavioral and psychological research, including new findings about what scares us, and what does not. By better accounting for people’s fallibility, Sunstein argues, we can create regulation that is simultaneously more human and more likely to achieve its goals.

In this highly readable synthesis of insights from law, policy, economics, and psychology, Sunstein breaks down the intricacies of the regulatory system and offers a new way of thinking about regulation that incorporates human dignity– and an insistent focus on the consequences of our choices.” — University of Chicago Press Books

Book talk panelists include:

Professor John Coates, John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics and
Research Director, Program on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School;

Professor Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University, Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Friday, October 10, 2014, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School Library Caspersen Room in Langdell Hall. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Free and open to the public.  Lunch will be served.

“What happens when the world’s leading academic expert on regulation is plunked into the real world of government? Sunstein is that expert, and he was the regulatory boss of the US government from 2009 to 2012. Valuing Life describes both how Sunstein’s ideas about regulation influenced his tenure in government, and how his experiences in government have influenced his ideas about regulation. This immensely rewarding book, written in the humane, beautiful style that Sunstein is known for, should be read by everyone who cares about how our government works.” — Eric Posner, University of Chicago

“Written with clarity and elegance, this book explains how White House oversight of the federal regulatory state is conducted—both the procedures and the analytics. It is a must read for academics and practitioners interested in improving the quality of federal regulation.” — John D. Graham, Indiana University and former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB

“An immensely insightful look at one of the least understood and most influential agencies in the government and the complex factors that it considers in helping to determine what is and isn’t subject to government regulation.“ — Carol Browner, distinguished senior fellow, Center for American Progress

“Sunstein, who served as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) from 2009 to 2012, argues that government must always consider the impact of proposed regulation on human life. Sunstein describes how the OIRA actually works, explains the role of break-even analyses in government regulation, and explores how the government might account for risk to nonquantifiable goods, such as privacy. . . . overall this is a lucid book that sheds light on how the government reasons, and how it ought to reason, about the regulations that shape our everyday lives.” — Publishers Weekly

%d bloggers like this: