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January 20 | 9:00 – 10:00AM CT

Michael Livermore
University of Virginia—School of Law

Presentation Slides

On behalf of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center at the University of Houston Law Center, we are delighted to announce the forthcoming events we’ll host in the frame of our virtual lecture series on Energy Transition and Climate Governance, sponsored by the EU’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and spearheaded by Dr. Aubin Nzaou.  

Topic: Reviving Rationality: Saving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Good of the Environment and Our Health.

Speaker's name: Michael Livermore
University of Virginia—School of Law


Administrative agencies are charged by law with protecting values like stable financial markets and clean air. Their decisions often have profound consequences, affecting everything from the safety of workplaces to access to the dream of home ownership. Under the Trump administration, agencies were hampered in their ability to advance these missions: inconvenient evidence was ignored, experts were sidelined, and analysis was used to obscure facts, rather than inform the public. The results were incoherent policy, social division, defeats in court, a demoralized federal workforce, and a loss of faith in government's ability to respond to pressing problems. Reviving Rationality explains how and why our government abandoned rationality in recent years, and why it is so important for future administrations to restore rigorous cost-benefit analysis if we are to return to a policymaking approach that effectively tackles the most pressing problems of our era.


Michael A. Livermore is the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and serves as director of the Program in Law, Communities and the Environment (PLACE). His research focuses on environmental law, cost-benefit analysis and the application of data science techniques to legal texts. He frequently collaborates on interdisciplinary projects with researchers in other academic fields, including economics, computer science, neurology and the humanities. Livermore is the author of dozens of academic works, which have appeared in top law journals as well as peer-reviewed legal, scientific, and social science journals.

Livermore is a leading expert on the use of cost-benefit analysis to evaluate regulation. He is the co-author of Reviving Rationality: Saving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Sake of the Environment and Our Health (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health (Oxford University Press, 2008) and co-editor of The Globalization of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Policy (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Prior to joining the faculty, Livermore was the founding executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, a think tank dedicated to improving the quality of government decision-making. In that capacity, he participated in dozens of regulatory proceedings on a diverse set of issues ranging from climate change to prison safety.

Livermore earned his J.D. magna cum laude from NYU Law, where he was a Furman Scholar, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and served as a managing editor of the Law Review. After law school, he spent a year as a fellow at NYU Law's Center on Environmental and Land Use Law before clerking for Judge Harry T. Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


We have a remarkable series planned for the rest of the year featuring domestic and international speakers.

Feb. 2022
Jonathan Gilligan
Vanderbilt University—Law School

Feb. 17, 2022
Cymie Payne
Rutgers University—Rutgers Law School

Mar. 10, 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Daniel Magraw
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Mar. 22, 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Michael Vandenbergh
Vanderbilt University—Law School).

Apr. 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Daniel E. Walters
Penn State Law

May 2022
Don Elliot
Yale University—Yale Law School

Jun. 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Cary Coglianese
University of Pennsylvania—Carey Law School

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