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

Wharton Risk Center Annual Report

Highlights of outreach and engagement activities, news items, recent publications and conferences, and a directory of faculty and research fellows associated with the Risk Center.

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Climate Risk Solutions

This summer, researchers from across the University of Pennsylvania are generating new policy-relevant and solution-oriented ideas to tackle climate risks. New solutions will be posted on a continuous basis throughout Summer 2019. Stay tuned in the fall for a synthesis report and events on campus.

Visit the Website


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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Featured Publications

In the News

Even as Floods Worsen With Climate Change, Fewer People Insure Against Disaster.

The New York Times

Last fall, the Risk Center convened FEMA staff, along with insurance representatives and state officials, to talk about ways to get more Americans to buy flood insurance. But ideas presented new obstacles, whether practical, legal or political

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To make sure its utilities survive climate change, California needs liability law reform

Los Angeles Times

Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: “Just as business-as-usual emissions are no longer tenable, neither is business-as-usual disaster policy.”

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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.

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Risk Center Updates

Carolyn Kousky on America Adapts

In this episode of America Adapts, host Doug Parsons interviews Carolyn Kousky, Executive Director of the Risk Center. They discuss a wide range of topics including: California wildfire liability law and needed policy reforms; who owns the legal risks of climate change; disaster aid reform; the dysfunctional nature of flood insurance; and the need to help low income households get access to disaster insurance.

EY / Wharton Collaboration to launch Political Risk Lab

With a growing imperative to develop strategic approaches to managing global political risk, EY and the Risk Center have launched the Wharton Political Risk Lab to explore the relationship between political risk management and corporate performance, and to bring insights on how companies can effectively navigate this volatile global landscape.

Flood Risk and the U.S. Housing Market

Today, many homeowners are uninsured against flood damage. The lack of widespread take-up of flood insurance will not only impose financial strain on families but could have spillover effects in adjoining communities and may trigger foreclosures that hurt lenders. This paper describes the U.S. housing market’s exposure to flood risk and suggests directions for future research and action.

Research Topics

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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