Hypothetical fears and quantitative risk analysis

Risk Anal. 2001 Oct;21(5):803-6. doi: 10.1111/0272-4332.215152.


Hypothetical fears are concepts, not quantities. Their conceptual nature makes impractical conventional quantitative risk analyses (QRA) based on benefit/cost/risk, so they become an unmeasured influence in national decision making. The decision process involves two steps, the Analytic Stage (QRA based) and the Priority Stage (resource allocation competition). This article suggests that a quantitative estimate of the social cost of fear reduction to acceptable levels be used as a surrogate QRA input to the Priority Stage.