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Saving Lives Through Administrative Law and Economics

In this Article, Dean Graham examines the recent history of federal lifesaving regulation and argues that, considering both philosophical and practical perspectives, lifesaving regulation informed by benefit-cost analysis (BCA) has compelling advantages relative to regulation informed by the main alternatives to BCA. Using his first-hand experience as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Graham suggests that, despite its reputation for antiregulatory bias, BCA is actually an influential tool for protecting or advancing valuable lifesaving regulations. But the Article also pinpoints problems in the “benefit-cost” state, and identifies opportunities for improvement in the process of lifesaving regulation. Graham concludes by suggesting that innovations in analytic practice that would strengthen the efficiency and fairness of federal lifesaving regulation.