Conference: Federal Agency Decision-Making Under Deep Uncertainty

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Friday, May 8, 2015 @ 12:00am2015-05-08 00:00:00 2015-05-08 00:00:00 Conference: Federal Agency Decision-Making Under Deep Uncertainty Organizers:David Weisbach, University of Chicago Law SchoolAlan Sanstad, Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryJennifer Nou, University of Chicago Law SchoolMany federal agencies are required to perform a cost-benefit analysis when designing and evaluating regulations. In important cases, scientific information is incomplete and the scope of uncertainty may rival or exceed that of established knowledge. When either the marginal costs or marginal benefits of major regulations are uncertain, the White House requires agencies to do a formal, quantitative analysis of the relevant uncertainties about costs and benefits. The Office of Management and Budget does not, however, provide guidance on how to pick an optimal point with the possible range of outcomes. In practice, agencies facing deep uncertainty simply follow ad hoc rules such as picking a mid-point or some other focal point.In a conference in May of 2013, organizers explored the analytical methods used by scientists and economists to analyze and quantify deep uncertainty. The goal was to better understand potential frameworks for choice in this setting with the hope of improving agency decision making. With the sponsorship of the Becker Friedman Institute and the University of Chicago Law School, a follow up conference focusing more narrowly on the institutional settings under which agencies make choices under conditions of deep uncertainty and on ways to improve their decision making in these circumstances.The conference will bring together scholars who have an institutional focus, who have either worked in or who study how agencies make decisions. In a series of talks and discussions, scholars will examine what the relevant actors, agencies, courts, Congress, or the President, should do when regulatory choices have to be made in the face of deep uncertainty. Because there are not yet widely accepted techniques for choice under deep uncertainty, invited scholars will have a wide range of views of the appropriate decision procedures.Visit the BFI website for the full schedule and registration. - University of Chicago Law School willcanderson@uchicago.edu America/Chicago public
Open to the public
Organizers:
  • David Weisbach, University of Chicago Law School
  • Alan Sanstad, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Jennifer Nou, University of Chicago Law School

Many federal agencies are required to perform a cost-benefit analysis when designing and evaluating regulations. In important cases, scientific information is incomplete and the scope of uncertainty may rival or exceed that of established knowledge. When either the marginal costs or marginal benefits of major regulations are uncertain, the White House requires agencies to do a formal, quantitative analysis of the relevant uncertainties about costs and benefits. The Office of Management and Budget does not, however, provide guidance on how to pick an optimal point with the possible range of outcomes. In practice, agencies facing deep uncertainty simply follow ad hoc rules such as picking a mid-point or some other focal point.

In a conference in May of 2013, organizers explored the analytical methods used by scientists and economists to analyze and quantify deep uncertainty. The goal was to better understand potential frameworks for choice in this setting with the hope of improving agency decision making. With the sponsorship of the Becker Friedman Institute and the University of Chicago Law School, a follow up conference focusing more narrowly on the institutional settings under which agencies make choices under conditions of deep uncertainty and on ways to improve their decision making in these circumstances.

The conference will bring together scholars who have an institutional focus, who have either worked in or who study how agencies make decisions. In a series of talks and discussions, scholars will examine what the relevant actors, agencies, courts, Congress, or the President, should do when regulatory choices have to be made in the face of deep uncertainty. Because there are not yet widely accepted techniques for choice under deep uncertainty, invited scholars will have a wide range of views of the appropriate decision procedures.

Visit the BFI website for the full schedule and registration.