Improving Risk Analysis

  • R. Talbot Page
  • John A. Ferejohn
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Risk Analysis book series (CIRA, volume 1)


In the past few years, a number of federal regulatory programs have come to make use of quantitative risk assessments to provide information for policy decisions. But, current methods of risk assessment are flawed in a number of respects. Risk assessments are costly in time and effort; they often result in vague and unusable estimates; and it is difficult to separate the good ones from the bad ones because the probabilistic predictions are not observed for many years. Because of these facts, it is difficult for the assessors themselves to identify and learn from their mistakes.


Risk Analysis Strict Liability Probabilistic Prediction Liability Rule Indicator Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Becker, G.M., M.H. DeGroot, and J. Marschak (1964). “Measuring Utility by a Single Response Sequential Method.” Behavioral Science, Vol. 9, 226–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, Gary and George Stigler (1974). “Law Enforcement, Malfeasance and Compensation of Enforcers.” Journal of Legal Studies (Jan.).Google Scholar
  3. Bogle, Gib and Talbot Page (1982). “Priority Setting for Testing Chemicals.” in Safety Evaluation and Regulation of Chemicals. Homburger (ed). Boston: S. Karger.Google Scholar
  4. Brier, Glenn (1950). “Verification of Forecasts Expressed in Terms of Probability.” Monthly Weather Review.Google Scholar
  5. Calkins, D.R., R.L. Dixon, C.R. Gerber, D. Zarin, and G.S. Omann (1980). “Identification, Characterization, and Control of Potential Human Carcinogens: A Framework for Federal Decisionmaking.” JNCI, Vol. 64, No. 1: 172 (Jan.).Google Scholar
  6. Coombs, C.H., T.G. Bezembinder, and F.M. Goode (1967). “Testing Expectation Theories of Decisionmaking without Measuring Utility or Subjective Probability.” Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Vol. 4, 72–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crump, K. and H. Guess (1980). “Drinking Water and Cancer: Review of Recent Findings and Assessment of Risks.” Washington, D.C.: Council on Environmental Quality.Google Scholar
  8. De Finetti, Bruno (1962). “Does It Make Sense to Speak of ‘Good Probability Appraisers’?” in The Scientist Speculates: An Anthology of Partly-Baked Ideas. Toronto: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  9. DeGroot, Morris (1970). Optimal Statistical Decisions. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  10. DeGroot, Morris (1974). “Reaching a Consensus”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 69, No. 345 (March).Google Scholar
  11. Ellsberg, Daniel (1961). “Risk, Ambiguity, and the Savage Axioms”. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 75.Google Scholar
  12. Fischhoff, Baruch (1982). “Debiasing” in Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Kahneman, Slovic and Tversky (eds). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Foreman, Joshua (ms). “Incentives in the Elicitation of Probability Estimates”. Pasadena, Calif. California Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  14. Green, J. and J.J. Laffont (1979). Incentives in Public Decisionmaking. New York: North Holland.Google Scholar
  15. Grether, David and Charles R. Plott (1979). “Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon”. American Economic Review, Vol. 69, No. 4, 623–638 (Sept.).Google Scholar
  16. Grether, David (1980). “Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic”. Quarterly Journal of Economics (Nov.).Google Scholar
  17. Hand, Learned (1947). “United States vs. Carroll Towing”. F. 2d 169 (2nd Cir 1947).Google Scholar
  18. Harris, Robert, Talbot Page, and Nancy Reiches (1977). “Carcinogenic Hazards of Organic Chemicals in Drinking Water”. Origins of Human Cancer, Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.Google Scholar
  19. Hoerl, Arthur E. and H.K. Fallin (1974). “Reliability of Subjective Evaluations in a High Incentive Situation”. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Vol. 137, Part 2, p. 227.227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Howard, R.A., J.E. Matheson, and D.W. North (1972). “The Decision to Seed Hurricanes”. Science Vol. 176, 1191–1202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jensen, Floyd A. and C.R. Peterson (1973). “Psychological Effects of Proper Scoring Rules”. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol. 9, 307–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lichtenstein, S., B. Fischhoff and L.D. Phillips (1982). “Calibration of probabilities: The state of the art to 1980” in Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Kahneman, Slovic and Tversky (eds). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Marschak, Jacob, and others (1975). “Personal Probabilities of Probabilities”. Theory and Decision (May).Google Scholar
  24. Marshall, Eliot (1983). “The Murky World of Toxicity Testing”, Science, Vol. 220, June 10, 1983.Google Scholar
  25. McCubbins, Mathew and Talbot Page (1986). “A Theory of Congressional Delegation” in Congress: Structure and Policy. McCubbins and Sullivan (eds.). New York: Cambridge University Press (in press).Google Scholar
  26. McKelvey, Richard and Talbot Page (1986). “Common Knowledge and Consensus with Aggregate Statistics”. Econometrica (in press).Google Scholar
  27. Morgan, M.G., S.C. Morris, A.K. Meier, and D.L. Shenk (1978). “A Probabilistic Methodology for Estimating Air Pollution Health Effects from Coal-Fired Power Plants”. Energy Systems and Policy, Vol. 2, No. 3, 287–310.Google Scholar
  28. Murphy, A.H. (1972). “Scalar and vector partitions of the probability score (Part I): Two-state situation”. Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol. 11, 273–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. National Academy of Sciences (1984). Toxicity Testing: Strategies to Determine Needs and Priorities. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  30. Page, Talbot (1978). “A Generic View of Toxic Chemicals and Similar Risks”. Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 2.Google Scholar
  31. Page, Talbot (1979). “Keeping Score: An Actuarial Approach to Zero-Infinity Dilemmas” in Energy Risk Man-agement. Goodman and Rowe (eds). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  32. Page, Talbot (1981). “A Framework for Unreasonable Risk in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 363, 145–166 (April 30).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Page, Talbot (1983). “On the Meaning of the Preponderance Test”. Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 46, No. 3, 267–283 (Summer).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Page, Talbot (1986). “Pivot Mechanisms in Probability Revelation”. Pasadena, Calif.: California Institute of Technology, Social Science Working Paper No. 596.Google Scholar
  35. Page, Talbot and Robert Harris (1983). “A Cost-Benefit Approach to Drinking Water and Cancer” in Water Chlorination: Environmental Impact and Health Effects. (Vol. 4, Book 2). Jolley, Brungs, Cotruvo, Cumming, Mattice, and Jacobs (eds). Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Science Publications.Google Scholar
  36. Posner, Richard (1977). Economic Analysis of the Law. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  37. Raiffa, Howard (1970). Decision Analysis: Introductory Lectures on Choices under Uncertainty. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  38. Roberts, Harry (1965). “Probabilistic Prediction”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, (March).Google Scholar
  39. Savage, Leonard J. (1971). “Elicitation of Personal Probabilities and Expectations”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 66, No. 336 (Dec.).Google Scholar
  40. Savage, Leonard J. (1972). The Foundations of Statistics. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  41. Subcommittee on Department Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture (1983). “EPA Pesticide Regulatory Program Study”. Washington, D.C.: Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives Ninety-Seventh Congress, Second Session (Dec. 17).Google Scholar
  42. Supreme Court of the United States. “Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO v. American Petroleum Institute”. Decided July 2, 1980.Google Scholar
  43. Tversky, Amos and Daniel Kahneman (1974). “Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases”. Science, Vol. 185 (Sept. 27).Google Scholar
  44. Whittemore, Alice (1983). “Facts and Values in Risk Analysis for Environmental Toxicants”. Risk Analysis, Vol. 3, No. 1 (March).Google Scholar
  45. Winkler, R.L., A.H. Murphy, and R.W. Katz (1977). “The Consensus of Subjective Probability Forecasts: Are Two, Three.. Heads Better than One?” Fifth Conference on Probability and Statistics in Las Vegas. Boston, Mass: American Meteorological Society.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Talbot Page
    • 1
  • John A. Ferejohn
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Quality LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

Personalised recommendations