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The new politics of risk regulation in Europe

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This paper examines recent changes in the politics of risk regulation in Europe and compares them to developments in the United States. From the 1960s through the mid 1980s, the regulation of health, safety and environmental risks was generally stricter in the United States than in Europe. Since the mid 1980s, the obverse has often been the case: a wide array of European consumer and environmental regulations are now more restrictive than in the United States. In a number of important respects, European regulatory politics and policies over the last fifteen years resemble those of the United States between the late 1960s and the mid 1980s. They tend to be politicised, highly contentious and characterised by a suspicion of science and a mistrust of both government and industry.

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