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.

Read More


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?

Read More


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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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…”

Read More

Risk Center Updates

Flood Risk and the U.S. Housing Market

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

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.

Wharton Risk Center’s 2018 Annual Report

The annual report summarizes initiatives in mitigation and risk communication for natural and man-made risks.  It also provides 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.

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


No Upcoming Events

Mailing List Sign Up:


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