Discussion Questions on Sunstein, "Cognition and Cost-Benefit Analysis"

1. Sunstein thinks that cost-benefit analysis can help protect us from failures of collective rationality due to the fact that humans are liable to assess risks badly.

a. What are the principal errors to which Sunstein thinks that people are susceptible?

b. How does cost-benefit analysis help to mitigate those errors?

c. To what extent will human irrationalities undermine the rationality of cost-benefit analysis?

d. What alternatives to cost-benefit analysis are there for coping with and lessening the effects of human irrationality?

2. What does Sunstein take cost-benefit analysis to be? How ideally does he think that cost-benefit analyses should be carried out?

3. What role should cost-benefit analysis play in social decision-making?

4. How does Sunstein reply to the objection that cost-benefit analysis is undemocratic?