Cultural Evaluations of Risk: "Values" or "Blunders"?
What are the respective contributions of culture and rationality to risk perception? Do disagreements between lay persons and experts (and among members of both groups) originate in conflicting values, differing abilities to comprehend technical information, or both? If conflicting values do play a role, should the law be responsive to popular perceptions of risk even when expert regulators believe that popular beliefs are w1'ong? These are the central questions in the debate between Professor Sunstein and us. We take the position that cultural worldviews pervade popular (not to mention expert) risk assessments and that a genuine commitment to democracy forbids simply dismissing such perceptions as products of ''bounded rationality. "1 Sunstein disagrees.1 The critical impo1t of Sunstein 's arguments notwithstanding, we are grateful for his thoughtful reply to our review essay. We now respond to two of Sunstein 's criticisms, one methodological and the other substantive.