Notice & Comment

Introduction to Our Symposium on Livermore and Revesz’s Reviving Rationality

Over the next two weeks, we have the privilege of hosting a symposium here at Notice and Comment on Michael Livermore and Richard Revesz‘s new book Reviving Rationality: Saving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Sake of the Environment and Our Health (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Reviving Rationality is the sequel to Livermore and Revesz’s seminal 2008 book Retaking Rationality, which advances a powerful call for progressives to embrace cost-benefit analysis—or at least to take their seat at the table in regulatory policymaking that involves cost-benefit analysis. Retaking Rationality framed much of the debate on regulatory policymaking and centralized White House review of regulations during the Obama Administration.

Reviving Rationality picks up where Retaking Rationality ends, focusing on the process and quality of regulatory policymaking in the Trump Administration. Livermore and Revesz’s bottom line is, unsurprisingly, scathing of the Trump Administration’s approach, with in-depth case studies from a broad range of regulatory actions over the last four years. But Reviving Rationality is also hopeful and optimistic in how it charts the path forward for how the Biden Administration can rebuild the guardrails for economic analysis and revive rationality in regulatory policymaking.

I’ll have more to say about the book in my substantive contribution next week. For now, I provide this brief introduction to this important new book and the symposium we’ll be hosting here over the next couple weeks. We have assembled a great group of contributors, with distinct perspectives, methodologies, and approaches to regulation. (All of the contributions to the symposium will be collected here.) I look forward to engaging with these reviews and to bringing even more attention to this important and timely new book on cost-benefit analysis and regulatory review.