TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Viscusi & Dalafave on Lighter Safety Regulations

Kip Viscusi and Rachel Dalafave have posted to SSRN The Broad Impacts of Lighter Safety Regulations.  The abstract provides:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s regulation of disposable lighters was targeted at preventing injuries due to use of lighters by children not over 4 years of age. Based on a difference-in-differences analysis of national data for 1990-2019, this article estimates that the regulation reduced all injuries to the target population by 71%, burn injuries by 74%, and injuries severe enough to warrant admission to the hospital by 85% overall and by 84% for burn injuries. Unlike the counterproductive performance of safety cap regulations, this safety device enhanced safety levels in the target population group. The safety improvements from lighter safety devices outweigh any lulling effect of viewing products as being “childproof.” The regulation had a broader safety impact beyond the target population group, as it also reduced all types of injuries by at least 50% for children in the 5-17 age group. Total annual risk reduction benefits were $940 million-$1,465 million. A benefit-cost analysis based on a retrospective assessment of the regulation finds a more favorable impact than was anticipated.

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