December 01, 2009
Import Safety, edited by Coglianese, Finkel, and Zaring
Posted by David Zaring

I'm pleased to announce that, in time for the holidays, there's a timely book available for your delectation.  Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy includes contributions from Cary Coglianese, Adam Finkel, Michael Trebilcock, Andrew Guzman, Ken Bamberger, Tim Buthe, Jacques DeLisle, Tom Baker, yours truly, and a host of others.  The Penn Press's blog announcement is here.

Import safety cover

The book tackles an increasingly international problem of regulatory governance.  As Cary Coglianese put it in the preface:

For centuries, governments have imposed legal obligations on businesses in order to protect consumers from harmful products.  Bavaria’s Purity Law of 1516, one of the first consumer safety statutes in Europe, purported to protect consumers from unsafe beer, and both British judges and legislators established principles of tort and fraud that provided some protections throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Today, consumer protection depends significantly on laws and institutions established first during the Progressive Era early in the last century and then later in the period following the profound social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. 

We have now entered a new era that calls out for further legal change.  The existing regulatory framework for consumer protection arose within a business climate much different from that of today’s globalized economy.  Protecting consumers through proactive regulation has never been easy, but now such regulatory efforts face new challenges, owing to expansive growth in trade and rapid changes in technologies and economic conditions.  Each year, more food, drugs, and other goods move across national borders than any single government can inspect and test by itself.  Government officials face a growing set of regulatory targets abroad.  Just identifying producers of ingredients and products in other countries poses daunting challenges; holding such foreign companies accountable for unsafe products presents still further administrative and legal obstacles.

Speaking of import safety, this conference looks pretty interesting as well.  So never let it be said that the Glom, offering you written and in personam means to get up to speed on safe imports, is afraid to be of service.  Some of us will also be talking about the book and the issues presented by it at the Society for Risk Analysis's annual meeting in Baltimore next Tuesday.  Please come say hello if you are there.

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