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ERIC Number: ED266059
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Risk Assessment: An Examination of Assumptions.
Prince-Embury, Sandra
A meta-analysis of theoretical debates concerned with the assessment of risk associated with the use of nuclear power as an energy source is presented in this paper. Based on a central premise that risk assessment has a direct impact on national policy decisions and is associated with different perspectives reflective of different social sectors, it is hypothesized that national policy decisions mirror an economic imperative, whereby economic cost is a better predictor of policy decisions than is consideration for human safety. Examples of this view are given including the belief that (1) the cost of safety regulations represent an impediment to technology and hence the economic well-being of the nation; and (2) the notion that quantitative risk-benefit analysis, in which possible costs and benefits of policy decisions are quantified and assigned a financial value, plays an increasing role in policy decisions. Public opinion is then addressed as a variable with potential cost attached to it. Research focusing on bias or individual heuristics that systematically color the public's prediction of the risk associated with hazardous events is followed by a discussion of error variance, expert bias and infallibility of expert opinion, and the use of Bayesian statistics. It is concluded that because different sectors of society are differentially impacted by policy issues, there is a need for greater political balance in prestigious committees concerning risk assessment and policy decisions. (LH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A