Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Revealing Implicit and Explicit Risk Assessment as to Financial Risk and Government Precaution

Room: Salon 1   3:30 pm–5:10 pm

Chair(s): Branden Johnson

Sponsored by Risk Policy and Law Specialty Group

T4-J.1  3:30 pm  Disinfecting Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hidden Value-Laden Constraints. Finkel AM*; Univ. of Pennsylvania and Univ. of Michigan

Abstract: At every phase of scoping, circumscribing, conducting, refining, and using a cost-benefit analysis (CBA), value-laden judgments seep into the work. The existence of these judgments is not the problem; that they are hiding, or openly masquerading as neutral or “natural” assumptions, is. This presentation develops a typology of 10 phases in CBA; it offers selected examples from each phase showing where value judgments are injected, how each is hidden so that the public fails to see that there are preferences driving the analysis, and how various alternative (equally value-laden, just different) assumptions could be substituted for each. I identify four common ways in which hidden value judgments permeate evidence-based decision-making: (1) analysts refuse to “assign differential weights” to different people or effects, which forces them to be valued exactly equally; (2) they report only the “best estimate” of some quantity, which imposes strict preferences upon the decision; (3) they treat “unquantifiable” effects outside the decision calculus; and (4) they impose linear functions upon variables that have more complicated relationships. Because, as I show, it is impossible to replace any of these value judgments with something truly value-neutral, it is far better for agencies to publish a list of their hidden values—much as they've been urged by the National Academy of Sciences and others in the past to publish lists of (and rationales for) the science-policy default assumptions they also use.

T4-J.3  4:10 pm  Local management and effects on citizen reporting risks and externalities of oil and gas drilling. Scott RP*; Colorado State University

Abstract: Given limited monitoring resources, environmental management agencies often rely upon citizen feedback mechanisms to assess compliance and select targets for inspection and enforcement. This strategy is particularly common for regulating unconventional oil and gas extraction;however, public complaints, though a measure of dissatisfaction and potential harm, are also are a potential indicator of involvement in the civic process. Citizens who file a complaint and are unsatisfied with the process may be less likely to again engage in complaint behavior and may seek an alternative venue for addressing concerns about oil and gas. Public managers can play a pivotal role in these governance arrangements. Accordingly, this paper tests how increased participation of government actors at the state and local level is associated with changes in citizens continuing to engage in the complaint forum. I use statistical network analysis to evaluate how interactions between local government managers, state government managers, and citizens are associated with changes in the likelihood of citizens filing a second oil and gas complaint on a separate issue. Controlling for whether a corrective action is taken as a result of the complaint, the involvement of local government officials as opposed to state officials within a complaint process both increases the likelihood of a complaint being resolved rather than administratively closed and also increases the chance of the citizen again choosing to participate in the complaint process. Coupling these quantitative results with supplementary evidence from semi-structured interviews with complainants, this paper demonstrates that public managers play an important role in shaping citizen satisfaction with complaint processes, but that involvement of local managers within the resolution process has an ability to confer legitimacy and competence to a process that may be missing when only a single state agency is involved.

T4-J.4  4:30 pm  Public cues to relative credibility of disputing scientists. . Johnson BB*; Decision Research

Abstract: When large groups of scientists disagree over the causes or consequences of a phenomenon—such as climate change, marijuana, or dark matter in the universe—public certainty, trust in science, or cooperation with expert advice can suffer. One little-examined issue in understanding public interpretations of and reactions to such disputes is the nature of cues laypeople might use to decide which position in the dispute is more likely to be correct. Cues might include such categories as use of replication, credentials, nationality, experience, and the proportion of scientists on each side. This paper reports experiment results that explore the effects of varied cues manipulated in mock news articles about real scientific disputes over the topics cited above. Dependent variables included choices of the “correct position,” trust in the dueling scientists, and support for research funding. Results advance understanding of the dynamic interactions between dispute attributes and lay interpretations of scientific disputes.

T4-J.5  4:50 pm  The Risk Regulation Turn in Financial Regulation. Weber RF*; Georgia State University

Abstract: Risk regulation literature has undertaken a rich discussion of how risk is conceived as a legal-regulatory object, particularly with respect to increased political demands of governments to control and manage danger and catastrophe. It might seem natural for scholars of financial regulation to utilize a risk regulation lens to better understand decisionmaking in supervisory agencies. After all, many financial regulatory programs are set up for the express purpose of regulating systemic risk and supervising the organizations designed to create, take, and profit from financial risks. And yet that has not happened. First, this essay will explore why the risk regulatory model has historically not taken hold in financial regulatory arena. The overarching theme of modern administrative law is accountability. With financial regulation, concern for accountability has often been countermanded, and at times even overwhelmed, by a concern for independence. So while environmental regulation and health and safety regulation, aided by Congress and the courts, have developed elaborate statutory and administrative architectures for how to integrate scientific and technological uncertainty into their respective regulatory fields, financial regulation is comparatively underdeveloped on this score. The second part of the essay will identify respects in which the legal-regulatory regime of bank supervision has, in ways that have largely gone unnoticed, already migrated toward a risk regulatory model. For instance, one of the key distinctive attributes of risk regulation regimes is that the legality of a regulatory intervention depends on the regulator making a threshold determination about the existence or likelihood of an uncertain harm. Two regulatory initiatives stand out on this score: the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)’s designation of nonbank systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB)’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review program.

[back to schedule]