Saturday, October 23, 2010

Five Ways Regulators Think Wrong

Here's one of the five.....

"Affect heuristic'" is a fancy name for a pretty obvious concept, namely that we discount the drawbacks of things we are emotionally in favor of. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill certainly killed about 1,300 birds, maybe a few more. Wind turbines in America kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds every year, generally of rarer species, such as eagles. Yet wind companies receive neither the enforcement, nor the opprobrium, that oil companies do.

~Matt Ridley in today's WSJ column "Studying the Biases of Bureaucrats"


At 10/23/2010 4:47 PM, Blogger Jim said...

I knew that wind turbines kill birds but I was surprised by such a high number. Other overlooked facts include that the cost per kilowatt hour for wind turbines is very high and the environmental damage from building service roads and manufacturing parts, etc. is also quite high. These facts are readily available and but nearly always ignored in any discussion of wind turbines. The lowest cost energy creation method with the least damage to the environment is a nuclear plant.

At 10/23/2010 8:49 PM, Blogger Sean said...

Excellent point: it seems very difficult to have anything like an objective public debate on any topic at all.

At 10/23/2010 9:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"...In the last case, psychologists have shown that we systematically overestimate how much we understand about the causes and mechanisms of things we half understand."

Good article in the WSJ. Matt Ridley is sounding very Hayekian.


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