Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics

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Law & Economics Working Papers


Feasibility analysis, a method of evaluating government regulations, has emerged as the major alternative to cost-benefit analysis. Although regulatory agencies have used feasibility analysis (in some contexts called "technology-based" analysis) longer than cost-benefit analysis, feasibility analysis has received far less attention in the scholarly literature. In recent years, however, critics of cost-benefit analysis have offered feasibility analysis as a superior alternative. We advance the debate by uncovering the analytic structure of feasibility analysis and its normative premises, and then criticizing them. Our account builds on two examples of feasibility analysis, one conducted by OSHA and the other by EPA. We find that feasibility analysis leads to both under- and over-regulation, and we conclude that it lacks a normative justification and should have no place in government regulation.



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