Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

The Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, established in 1985, is a research center affiliated with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Engaging students and faculty throughout the University in collaborations, research projects, and other partnerships, the Center is recognized worldwide as a leader in risk-related research and policy analysis. The Risk Center also serves as a bridge between scholars at Penn and organizations and decision-makers in the public and private sectors.

Catastrophe Bonds – A Primer

The first catastrophe bonds were issued in the mid-1990s and the market has been steadily growing since that time. This primer explains the general mechanics of catastrophe bonds, provides examples of their use, and outlines future opportunities for the market.

Read more.


In this book, edited by Carolyn Kousky, Billy Fleming, and Alan M. Berger, coastal adaptation experts discuss the interrelated challenges facing communities experiencing sea level rise and increasing storm impacts and provides tools for evaluating necessary tradeoffs to think more comprehensively about the future of our coastal communities.

For purchase from Island Press.

Community-Based Catastrophe Insurance

This report, produced in partnership with Marsh & McLennan and Guy Carpenter, looks at community-based catastrophe insurance (CBCI), a new model of catastrophe insurance delivery to secure widespread coverage and help sustain communities following a catastrophic event.

Read more about CBCI.

Covid-19 Response (1)

The world continues to struggle with the spread of the novel coronavirus and the impacts are rippling through the global economy. Sound risk management is more important than ever. At the Wharton Risk Center, we engage with our partners to meaningfully support management of evolving threats, such as this one.

Risk Center resources and contributions from our scholars will be added to the site as made available. See the resources here.

In the News

How to Overcome Cognitive Biases Against Climate Action

The Hill                                                       

“The Biden administration has clearly indicated that climate change is a critically important issue on its agenda. Given the polarization of the country, a challenge that has not been adequately addressed is convincing property owners with varying political views to undertake measures, such as investing in solar panels, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer discuss cognitive biases that prevent people from investing.

Read the full op-ed.

The Case for Responsible Business

Wharton Magazine – Spring/Summer 2021

Witold Henisz, Director of the Political Risk Lab and Affiliated Scholar of the Business, Climate and Environment Lab, appears in the Spring/Summer issue of Wharton Magazine. “[Firms] don’t just exist in isolation, and they — and their investors — have to take those factors into account.”

See full article here.

EV Turning Point: Momentum Builds for U.S. Electric Vehicle Transition


“Driven by GM, Tesla, and the Biden administration, the U.S. is now poised to press ahead in the transformation to electric vehicles. Big challenges still loom, but technological advances, government support, and growing consumer appeal will drive the inevitable switch to EVs” write Affiliated Scholars, John Paul Macduffie and Sarah E. Light in this article.

Read the full article here.

New Data Reveal Where Flood Damage Is An Existential Threat


“If you don’t have the finances you need to recover, then families have to make really difficult trade-offs, like maybe forgo spending on medical expenses because otherwise you don’t have a safe home,” says Carolyn Kousky in this NPR article discussing data released by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research organization that studies flood risk and housing.

Read the full article.


Wharton Risk Management
and Decision Processes Center

St. Leonard’s Court | Suite 217
3819 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104

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