Wharton Risk Management and
Decision Processes Center

For three decades, the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of basic and applied research to promote effective corporate and public policies for low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences.

What We Do

Decision Processes


Understanding and improving individual decision-making in the presence of uncertainty

Risk Management


Researching and evaluating strategies for risk communication, risk reduction, and risk transfer

Public Policy


Engaging decision-makers in designing
effective risk management policies


The Policy Incubator supports novel approaches for increasing resilience through the development of visionary ideas, encouragement of innovative thinkers, and the advancement of workable on-the-ground solutions.

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Our ability to foresee and protect against natural catastrophes has never been greater, yet we fail to heed the warnings and protect ourselves and our communities. What explains this contradiction?

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Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies are Coping with Disruption

Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem

Provides important lessons for decision makers at all levels to reduce the likelihood and curtail the costs — human, financial, and reputational — of large-scale disruptions.

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Featured Publications

In the News

How America Fails at Communicating Flood Risks


By Carolyn Kousky: We have good data about flood risks. The challenge is getting it to people when they need it, in a way that’s useful.

Americans need better disaster relief and insurance programs

The Hill

Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: “More than 90 percent of all federal dollars for flood risk reduction are tied to presidential disaster declarations. Making better use of these dollars requires advanced planning.”

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Small Businesses Say Federal-Disaster Aid Needs Strengthening

Wall Street Journal

“After superstorm Sandy hit the northeast in 2012, 8% of firms affected by the storm borrowed money from the agency’s disaster-lending program, according to a 2016 study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York…”

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Risk Center Updates

Flood Risk and the U.S. Housing Market

By Howard Kunreuther, Susan Wachter, Carolyn Kousky and Michael LaCour-Little.

This paper describes the U.S. housing market’s exposure to flood risk and suggests directions for future research and action.

Demonstrating the Intensive Benefit to the Local Implementation of a Statewide Building Code

The article by Jeffrey Czajkowski, Kevin Simmons and James Done has been selected to receive the RMIR Award for Best Article by the American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA). This award is selected by a committee, chaired by Dr. Joan Schmit, which reviews all the articles published in the prior calendar year (2017) in ARIA’s Risk Management and Insurance Review.

Living with Water: The Future of Flood Insurance in Pennsylvania

Carolyn Kousky is speaking at a roundtable, “Living with Water: The Future of Flood Insurance in Pennsylvania” in Harrisburg, PA on August 27, 2018.  The event is open to the public.

Research Topics



Risk Regulation Series: Solomon Hsiang

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Jon M. Huntsman Hall, JMHH F55

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Wharton Risk Management
and Decision Processes Center

St. Leonard’s Court | Suite 130
3819 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104

P: 215-898-5688
F: 215-573-2130