This research was supported by Duke University's Center for Environmental Solutions and Northern Illinois University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The authors thank JoAnn Carmin, Robert Keohane, Kathryn Saterson, and participants at conferences hosted by Duke University and Université Toulouse for helpful suggestions on the initial phases of the research cited and summarized here; Andrea Bonnicksen, John Gerring, Robert A. Kagan, David Levi-Faur, Martin Lodge, Miranda Schreurs, Martin Shapiro, Laura Stoker, Matt Streb, Chandra Hunter Swedlow, David Vogel, Art Ward, participants in the Midwest Political Science Association and Law and Society Association annual conferences, and Colin Scott and three anonymous reviewers at Law & Policy for valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript; Joshua Cohen for assistance with data analysis; James Bagaka, Mariana Cotromanes, Zia Cromer, Shannon Frank, Dylan Fuge, Lena Hansen, Clayton Jernigan, Aaron Johnson, Chris Kocher, Chloe Metz, Jessica Regan, Caitlin Snyder, and Ivan Urlaub for invaluable research assistance; and Paula Propst and Ken Erickson for essential technological services.
Theorizing and Generalizing about Risk Assessment and Regulation through Comparative Nested Analysis of Representative Cases
Article first published online: 20 FEB 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy
Law & Policy
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 236–269, April 2009
How to Cite
SWEDLOW, B., KALL, D., ZHOU, Z., HAMMITT, J. K. and WIENER, J. B. (2009), Theorizing and Generalizing about Risk Assessment and Regulation through Comparative Nested Analysis of Representative Cases. Law & Policy, 31: 236–269. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9930.2009.00296.x
brendon swedlow is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, where he teaches public law and environmental policymaking. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and his JD from the University of California, Hastings. His research is directed toward further developing political and social theory.
denise kall received her PhD in sociology from Duke University. Her research interests include environmental sociology, medical sociology, and stratification.
zheng zhou is an associate at the Beijing office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP, with a practice focused on corporate and financial transactions. He received his JD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a law review editor, and his MS from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.
james k. hammitt is Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences and Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. He studies the application of quantitative methods to public and private decisions about health, safety, and environmental risk. He holds degrees in applied mathematics and public policy from Harvard University.
jonathan b. wiener is Perkins Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy and Public Policy, Duke University; and University Fellow, Resources for the Future. He studies risk regulation in the United States, Europe, and internationally. He holds degrees in economics and law from Harvard University.
- Issue published online: 24 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 20 FEB 2009
This article provides a framework and offers strategies for theorizing and generalizing about risk assessment and regulation developed in the context of an on-going comparative study of regulatory behavior. Construction of a universe of nearly 3,000 risks and study of a random sample of 100 of these risks allowed us to estimate relative U.S. and European regulatory precaution over a thirty-five-year period. Comparative nested analysis of cases selected from this universe of ecological, health, safety, and other risks or its eighteen categories or ninety-two subcategories of risk sources or causes will allow theory-testing and -building and many further descriptive and causal comparative generalizations.