Much research on Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) focuses on improving the methodology of BCA so as to increase the validity of its results and the usefulness of the analysis. However, there is little evidence of how such methodological changes affect the usage of BCA in the policy process. I use data from BCAs conducted in Washington State to analyze the impact of methodological rigor on rule making outcomes. I develop a taxonomy to describe BCA methodology and apply it to 61 preliminary Cost Benefit Analyses generated by theWashington State Department of Ecology for use in agency rule making processes. I use a multistate model to test how the rigor of the BCA relates to changes in the probability of a rule transitioning between different periods of the rule making process. The work contributes to theory regarding the use of scientific information in policy and the effectiveness of risk analytic methods in shaping decision outcomes.

Crafting a risk response for the technological frontier: adapting risk management to address the uncertainties and promise of emerging technologies

For management of emerging technologies, classic risk assessment and risk management are challenged by a lack of knowledge, market failures that can prevent the generation of knowledge about potential impacts, and traits that can drive perception of associated risk towards a positive or negative frame regardless of empirical data. In this review I provide a rationale for why risk management is critical for emerging technologies. I build my rationale through development of Innovation Systems Theory and the Bayesian perspective on uncertainty. However, though classic risk assessment and risk analysis provide a basic framework for risk management of emerging technology, I describe the weaknesses of the approach as pointed out in scholarly literature. Based on my review I select three proposed alternatives to classic risk analysis-- the Solution Focussed perspective, Risk Governance, and the Life Cycle Approach. Through applying these approaches to three case studies, I develop a set of hypotheses about the function of each of the adaptations within differing technology systems. I conclude that each of the “new risk management frameworks” is tailored to providing certain types of risk information, and the applicability of a given method is in many ways dependent on the context created by the technology.