“Unintended consequences and the homeostasis of risk”

Doctor Skeptic-Saturday, 8 June 2013
“I recently saw a patient who broke her ankle slipping on the shiny yellow paint they use to highlight the edges of steps. Is this an example of the law of unintended consequences, or the theory of risk homeostasis (risk compensation)?”

The bottom line
“My point is not to prove the theory of risk homeostasis, but to raise awareness of the phenomena of risk compensation and unintended consequences. People should understand that an intervention that sounds (superficially) like it would have a clear benefit, probably has unintended consequences and may lead to other changes that diminish its effectiveness.”

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