Books, Reviews & Reports






Merage Prof. L. Robin Keller served as one of the decision analysts on a committee for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to write a newly released book on the choice of regulatory designs for safety regulations for high-hazard industries, such as offshore oil operations and onshore oil and gas pipelines. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration asked the National Academies to convene the committee.


Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Released Oct. 2017. Copyrighted 2018.Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. This National Academies book is authored by the Committee for a Study of Performance-Based Safety Regulation.  Freely downloadable at


Detlof von Winterfeldt, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Chair
Kenneth E. Arnold, K. Arnold Consulting, Houston, Texas
Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Louis Anthony Cox, Jr., Cox Associates, LLC, Denver, Colorado
Robin L. Dillon-Merrill, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Lois N. Epstein, Wilderness Society, Anchorage, Alaska
Orville D. Harris, O.B. Harris, LLC, Houston, Texas
L. Robin Keller, University of California, Irvine
Allison M. Macfarlane, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Rachel McCann, Health and Safety Executive, Liverpool, England
Arthur D. Meyer, Enbridge Pipelines, Inc. (retired), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Donald P. Moynihan, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Susan S. Silbey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
James A. Watson IV, American Bureau of Shipping, Houston, Texas

TRB Staff
Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., Study Director
Micah Himmel, Program Officer
Claudia Sauls, Program Coordinator

Contributors  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research Board; Policy Studies; Studies and Special Programs Division


TRB Special Report 324: Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries, examines key factors relevant to government safety regulators when choosing among regulatory design types, particularly for preventing low-frequency, high consequence events. In such contexts, safety regulations are often scrutinized after an incident, but their effectiveness can be inherently difficult to assess when their main purpose is to reduce catastrophic failures that are rare to begin with. Nevertheless, regulators of high-hazard industries must have reasoned basis for making their regulatory design choices.

Asked to compare the advantages and disadvantages of so-called “prescriptive” and “performance-based” regulatory designs, the study committee explains how these labels are often used in an inconsistent and misleading manner that can obfuscate regulatory choices and hinder the ability of regulators to justify their choices. The report focuses instead on whether a regulation requires the use of a means or the attainment of some ends—and whether it targets individual components of a larger problem (micro-level) or directs attention to that larger problem itself (macro-level). On the basis of these salient features of any regulation, four main types of regulatory design are identified, and the rationale for and challenges associated with each are examined under different high-hazard applications.

Informed by academic research and by insights from case studies of the regulatory regimes of four countries governing two high-hazard industries, the report concludes that too much emphasis is placed on simplistic lists of generic advantages and disadvantages of regulatory design types. The report explains how a safety regulator will want to choose a regulatory design, or combination of designs, suited to the nature of the problem, characteristics of the regulated industry, and the regulator’s own capacity to promote and enforce compliance. This explanation, along with the regulatory design concepts offered in this report, is intended to help regulators of high-hazard industries make better informed and articulated regulatory design choices.

Accompanying the report, a two-page summary provides a condensed version of the findings from this report.

  • Two-page summary of the report that offers clarity about regulatory design decisions

Highlights from Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries

An article on the book:

“Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries,” by Cary Coglianese and Thomas R. Menzies, The Regulatory Review- A Publication of the Penn Program on Regulation, University of Pennsylvania. Oct. 4, 2017.



A Risk-Characterization Framework for Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration, Committee on Ranking FDA Product Categories Based on Health Consequences Phase II Report Book (May 2011), Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, Sponsored by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, for the FDA.

Letter Report on the Development of a Model for Ranking FDA Product Categories on the Basis of Health Risks, Committee on Ranking FDA Product Categories Based on Health Consequences, February 17, 2009, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council, Institute of Medicine.


       KI committee

Distribution and Administration of Potassium Iodide in the Event of a Nuclear Incident, Committee (in photo above) to Assess the Distribution and Administration of Potassium Iodide in the Event of a Nuclear Incident, Board of Radiation Effects Research, Division of Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies, National Academies Press, Washington, DC,, 2004.

L. Robin Keller, “The Effects of Decision Problem Representation on Conformity with Utility Properties: An Empirical Investigation”, doctoral dissertation, UCLA Graduate School of Management, September 1982. Available from University Microfilms International.

Book Reviews:

Jeffery L. Guyse and L. Robin Keller, Interfaces, May-June 1997, 27(3) 106-107, review of Strategic Decision Making: Multiobjective Decision Analysis with Spreadsheets, Duxbury Press, Belmont, CA, by Craig W. Kirkwood.

Young-Hee Cho and L. Robin Keller, review of Risky Choice review of Bertrand Munier and Mark Machina (eds.), Models and Experiments in Risk and Rationality, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1994, in Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, March 1997, 10(1) 74-75.

Young-Hee Cho and L. Robin Keller, review of Risky Business review of John Geweke (ed.), Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty: New Models and Empirical Findings, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1992, in Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, March 1997, 10(1) 75-76.

L. Robin Keller, review of Decision Science and Social Risk Management,by M.W. Merkhofer, The Environmental Professional, 10, 1988, 176-177.

L. Robin Keller, review of Making Decisions, by D.V. Lindley, Interfaces, Jan.-Feb. 1987, 135-137.

L. Robin Keller, review of Applied Decision Analysis, by Derek W. Bunn, Interfaces, September -October 1986, 119-120.





Ralph L. Keeney, L. Robin Keller, Rakesh K. Sarin, Alan Sicherman, and Robert L. Winkler, “Analysis of Alternative National Ambient Carbon Monoxide Standards,” 1982, Woodward-Clyde Consultants, project sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Condensed in R.L. Keeney, R.K. Sarin, and R.L. Winkler, “Analysis of Alternative National Ambient Carbon-Monoxide Standards,” Management Science, Vol. 30, No. 4, 1984, pp. 518-528.

Lauraine G. Chestnut, Steven D. Colome, L. Robin Keller, William E. Lambert, Bart Ostro, Robert D. Rowe, and Sandra L. Wojciechowski, “Heart Disease Patients’ Averting Behavior, Costs of Illness, and Willingness to Pay to Avoid Angina Episodes,” Final report for the Office of Policy Analysis, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, October 1988.  Keller #201. Available on web at select “Environmental Economics Report Inventory”, click on reports “downloaded”, search database for our report number EE-0010A.$FILE/EE-0010A.pdf

United States Department of Energy Office of Reconfiguration, Technical Reference Report for Tritium Supply and Recycling, October 1995, Office of Reconfiguration, DP-25, US DOE, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20585.  Contributor to report under Decision Insights contract from DOE via Fluor Daniel, Irvine.

Dipayan Biswas, Thomas Eppel, Jeffery L. Guyse and L. Robin Keller, “Assessing Preferences for Environmental Decisions with Long-Term Consequences,” Final report for the EPA/NSF STAR Partnership for Environmental Research, June 10, 2002.  Keller #203 EPA Report part 1- chapter 1-4; Keller #203 EPA Report (Part 2 Chapter 5 onwards); (prior site:

Tianjun Feng, Nancy S. Jones (ASU), Lowell Kessel, Jay Simon, L. Robin Keller and Craig Kirkwood (ASU),  “Survey of Key Stakeholder Evaluation Concerns and Tradeoffs for Central Arizona Water Resource Planning:  Methods and Results,” Technical Report,  July 5, 2007, Decision Center for a Desert City, Global   Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 878209, Tempe, AZ 85287-8209.  Keller #204

This technical report contains a summary of the methods and a compendium of survey responses and analysis results for a web-based survey of Central Arizona water experts that addressed water planning factors and important forthcoming water management decisions and policy recommendations.  The experts were asked for their priorities among approximately thirty specific concerns within the seven categories of: Central Arizona socio-economic impacts, financial and technical requirements, health and safety, impacts on the natural/biophysical environment, indirect/external impacts, political impacts & governance, and sufficiency of water supplies.  Responses were obtained from experts in policy, planning, engineering, hydrology, and other fields within governmental, private sector, and interest group organizations.  The results show areas of agreement and disagreement among stakeholders, as well as some priorities that may have implications for the role of the Decision Center for a Desert City.