How to Perform an Ethical Risk Analysis (eRA)

Risk Analysis          
Volume 38, Issue 9  Pages: 1763-2009  September 2018

Original Research Articles
How to Perform an Ethical Risk Analysis (eRA)
Sven Ove Hansson
Pages: 1820-1829
First Published: 26 February 2018
Ethical analysis is often needed in the preparation of policy decisions on risk. A three‐step method is proposed for performing an ethical risk analysis (eRA). In the first step, the people concerned are identified and categorized in terms of the distinct but compatible roles of being risk‐exposed, a beneficiary, or a decisionmaker. In the second step, a more detailed classification of roles and role combinations is performed, and ethically problematic role combinations are identified. In the third step, further ethical deliberation takes place, with an emphasis on individual risk‐benefit weighing, distributional analysis, rights analysis, and power analysis. Ethical issues pertaining to subsidiary risk roles, such as those of experts and journalists, are also treated in this phase. An eRA should supplement, not replace, a traditional risk analysis that puts emphasis on the probabilities and severities of undesirable events but does not cover ethical issues such as agency, interpersonal relationships, and justice.