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Series

2003

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Duke Law

Consequentialism (Ethics)

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Puzzle Of Ex Ante Efficiency: Does Rational Approvability Have Moral Weight?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2003

The Puzzle Of Ex Ante Efficiency: Does Rational Approvability Have Moral Weight?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

A governmental decision is "ex ante efficient" if it maximizes the satisfaction of everyone's preferences ex ante, relative to other possible decisions. Equivalently, each affected person would be rational to approve the decision, given her preferences and beliefs at the time of the choice. Does this matter, morally speaking? Do governmental officials - legislators, judges, regulators - have a moral reason to make decisions that are ex ante efficient? The economist's answer is "yes." "Ex ante efficiency" is widely seen by welfare economists to have moral significance, and often appears within law-and-economics scholarship as a criterion for evaluating legal doctrines ...


Legal Transitions: Some Welfarist Remarks, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2003

Legal Transitions: Some Welfarist Remarks, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

This essay offers a sympathetic, utilitarian critique of Louis Kaplow's famous argument for legal retroactivity in his 1986 article, "An Economic Analysis of Legal Transitions." The argument, very roughly, is that the prospect of retroactivity is desirable if citizens are rational because it gives them a desirable incentive to anticipate legal change. My central claim is that this argument trades upon a dubious, objective view of probability that assumes rational citizens assign the same probabilities to states as rational governmental officials. But it is subjective, not objective probabilities that bear on rational choice, and the subjective probabilities of rational ...


Risk, Death And Harm: The Normative Foundations Of Risk Regulation, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2003

Risk, Death And Harm: The Normative Foundations Of Risk Regulation, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Is death a harm? Is the risk of death a harm? These questions lie at the foundations of risk regulation. Agencies that regulate threats to human life, such as the EPA, OSHA, the FDA, the CPSC, or NHTSA, invariably assume that premature death is a first-party harm - a welfare setback to the person who dies - and often assume that being at risk of death is a distinct and additional first-party harm. If these assumptions are untrue, the myriad statutes and regulations that govern risky activities should be radically overhauled, since the third-party benefits of preventing premature death and the risk ...