Federal Agency Decision-Making Under Deep Uncertainty


Location: Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 021

ORGANIZERS

JENNIFER NOU, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL

ALAN SANSTAD, LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY

DAVID WEISBACH, 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 uncertainties may exceed established knowledge.

When either the marginal costs or marginal benefits of major regulations are uncertain, the White House requires agencies to formally quantify the relevant uncertainties. 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 are left to follow ad hoc rules.

In a series of talks and discussions, this conference 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 such conditions, invited scholars will have a wide range of views of the appropriate decision procedures. Presenters include scholars who have an institutional focus, as well as those who have either worked in agencies or who study how they make decisions.

This event is co-sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, Becker Friedman Institute, the University of Chicago Law School's Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, and the Computation Institute.