Risking Regulation, Regulating Risk: Lessons from the Trans-Atlantic Biotech Dispute. Review of Policy Research. Vol. 24, No. 4 (September, 2007).


Debates over the future of new technologies frequently implicate governmental policies and regulation, the purpose of which has traditionally been to mitigate the dangers of new technologies through promotion of conditions of safe use. It is increasingly recognized, however, that regulation is predicated on a particular conception of the nature of risk which may or may not correspond to the views and beliefs held by society. Here I explore three broadly related questions in the context of the debates around agricultural biotechnology. First, what are the implications of varying conceptions of risk for regulatory policy in the United States and the European Union? Second, what are the implications of differing conceptions of risk and resulting regulatory policy for agricultural trade relations between the two giants of international trade? And finally, what lessons might we draw from contemporary disputes over agricultural biotechnology?

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