Why separate risk assessors and risk managers? Further external values affecting the risk assessor qua risk assessor

Journal of Risk Research 13 (5):687-700 (2010)
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Abstract

The functional separation of risk assessment and risk management has long been at the heart of risk analysis structures. Equally long it has been criticized for creating technocratic risk management due to valuations being done in the risk assessment to which the stakeholders do not have access. The criticism has mostly been of an ethical nature. Arguably, in separating risk assessment and risk management, one hopes to fulfil two requirements: Social requirement: we want risk management to meet the goals and needs of society. Scientific requirement: we do not want political views to influence the assessment of facts. We ask in this paper whether it is, in principle, possible to separate risk assessment from risk management. The crucial distinction between risk assessment and risk management we take to be between what kinds of values are involved in them and that separation is meant to shield risk assessment from risk management values and vice versa. Risk assessment is judged to be a scientific activity that should only involve scientific values. We go through a paradigmatic example of good science to see what those scientific values are and whether they are the only ones influencing science. We also present an example of a risk assessment in order to compare it to science. We conclude that the values involved in both science and risk assessment are of the same kind and that they both involve extra-scientific values. The paper ends with a short discussion of whether the above requirements can be met even though risk assessment and risk management are interdependent.

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Johannes Persson
Lund University

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