Should the U.S. adopt the precautionary principle? Should the EU rely more on cost-benefit analysis?
Or maybe this is a better question: Does U.S. and EU regulation rely on anything that could reasonably be called cost-benefit analysis or the precautionary principle?
These are questions that come to mind after reading a very informative paper on regulatory convergence in the TTIP, called "Trade, the Precautionary Principle, and Post-Modern Regulatory Process."
Often I read how the U.S. regulates much less due to its use of cost-benefit analysis, whereas the EU regulates more due to its reliance on the precautionary principle. But I keep coming across examples that show the opposite, that is, the U.S. regulators being much more likely to regulate:
On all of these, the U.S. regulation has been more active, for reasons that are not clear. To some extent, "science" has been invoked, but it seems more like an abundance of "precaution" than anything else.
And what made the EU not regulate in these areas? Was it a cost-benefit analysis? Why didn't precaution lead to regulation here?
I'll be surprised if the TTIP talks can resolve the U.S.-EU differences in fundamental approach, but I think it would be useful if each side could explain how it came to regulatory conclusions on particular issues like these, so we could get a better sense of how the regulatory process actually works.