Saturday Feb 18, 2023
In this episode I’d like to explore the impacts of the precautionary principle in public policy. Many people think that the precautionary principle is the safest way forward. We shouldn’t use a tool until we’re sure that it won’t harm us. This just makes sense, doesn’t it? The application of the precautionary principle in European energy policy, for example, has lead to the shut down of Germany’s nuclear fleet, strong labelling laws for GMO products, and many other decisions of which I am not yet aware. Today I’ll be interviewing an economist who has a unique interdisciplinary perspective on the environment, health, and labor economics to get an expert opinion on this topic. I came across his insightful work as references in a Freakonomics podcast episode titled, “nuclear energy isn't perfect. Is it good enough?’.
Matthew Neidell is an economics professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He is also a faculty member with the Earth Institute and the Columbia Population Research Center. Neidell received his PhD in economics from UCLA and has performed policy work for various organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Medicine, Rockefeller Foundation, and World BankHe specializes in environmental, health, and labor economics, applying the latest empirical methods to examine the relationship between the environment and a wide range of measures of well-being, including worker productivity and human capital, and how human behavior affects these relationships.
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