Federal Agency Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty

May 8–9, 2015

(All day)

Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 021
Jennifer Nou, University of Chicago Law School
Alan Sanstad, Computation Institute and The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
David Weisbach, University of Chicago Law School

Featured Media Playlist

Many federal agencies are required to perform a cost-benefit analysis when writing and evaluating regulations. However, in important cases scientific information is incomplete and uncertainties exceed established knowledge. Nonetheless, agencies must formally quantify the effects of their regulations, even when the marginal costs and benefits of their actions are uncertain. Because the Office of Management and Budget does not provide guidance on how to optimally quantify uncertain effects, agencies follow ad hoc rules when facing deep uncertainty.

In a series of talks and discussions, this conference examined what agencies, courts, Congress, and the President should do when regulatory choices have to be made in the face of deep uncertainty. Scholars presented a range of views of appropriate procedures derived from studies of institutional behavior, decision making, and historical example.

This event was 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 Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP).

May 8, 2015 (All day) May 9, 2015 (All day)