Disaster Risk Management Lab
In the face of escalating losses from natural and man-made hazards, the Disaster Risk Management Lab undertakes research on risk financing and risk reduction strategies. Ongoing projects examine the functioning of disaster insurance markets, innovative risk transfer products, the design and impact of government disaster aid programs, post-disaster credit markets, and public-private partnerships to ensure equitable financial recovery for all households. Work also seeks to advance smart development, cost-effective building codes, and improved infrastructure decisions.
The Wharton Risk Center has ongoing research on a range of aspects of flood insurance in the United States including risk communication, financing catastrophic losses, the private market, affordability, and flood risk-reduction.
Climate change is increasing the risks of weather-related disasters. Ongoing projects are investigating how innovations in risk transfer can help promote climate adaptation in communities throughout the US, particularly in a coastal context.
The costs emanating from a wildfire can be broad and impact many sectors. Ongoing Risk Center projects are examining the economic impacts of wildfires on municipalities, as well as sources of financial recovery.
The Wharton Risk Center examines the disaster assistance policies and their impacts on households, communities, and federal taxpayers. We are exploring policies to enhance equitable recovery and building back better.
The Wharton Risk Center has partnered with Marsh & McLennan Advantage to develop community-based models of insurance to help close the disaster insurance gap.
The Impact of Natural Disasters on U.S. Housing and Mortgage Markets
Wharton Risk Center researchers are exploring the impact of natural disaster risk on U.S. housing markets and on the mortgage financing system.
Coglianese, C. (2021). What Regulators Can Learn from Global Health Governance. Global Health Governance 16:14-33.
Kunreuther, H., & Schupp, J. (2021). A framework for defining a role for insurance in “uninsurable” risks: insights from COVID-19. Journal of Insurance Regulation, 40. https://doi.org/10.52227/25093.2021
Beer, S., & Braun, A. (2022). Market-consistent valuation of natural catastrophe risk. Journal of Banking & Finance, 134, 106350.
Tesselaar, M., Botzen, W.J.W., Robinson, P.J., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Zhou, F. (2022). Charity hazard and the flood insurance protection gap: an EU scale assessment under climate change. Ecological Economics, 193: 107289.
Liao, Y., & Kousky, C. (2021). The Fiscal Impacts of Wildfires on California Municipalities. The University of Chicago Press, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
Netusil, N. R., Kousky, C., Neupane, S., Daniel, W., & Kunreuther, H. (2021). The willingness to pay for flood insurance. Land Economics, 110819-0160R1.
Kousky, C., H. Wiley, and L. Shabman (2021). Can Parametric Microinsurance Improve the Financial Resilience of Low-Income Households in the United States? Economics of Disasters and Climate Change
Kunreuther, H. (2021). Flood Insurance Finally Acknowledges Climate Change. Brink.
Kousky, C., H. Kunreuther, S. Xian, and N. Lin (2021). Adapting Our Flood Risk Policies to Changing Conditions. Forthcoming in Risk Analysis.
Bernhardt, A., C. Kousky, A. Read, and C. Sykes (2021). Community-Based Catastrophe Insurance: A Model for Closing the Disaster Protection Gap. Marsh & McLennan Companies and the Wharton Risk Center, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA.
Kousky, C. and Wiley, H. (2021). Improving the Post-Flood Financial Resilience of Lower-Income Households through Insurance. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. January.
Wiley, H. and C. Kousky (2020). Speeding Up Post-Disaster Housing Buyouts. Solutions. Volume 11, Issue 3. September.
Kousky, C., M. Palim, and Y. Pan (2020). Flood Damage and Mortgage Credit Risk: A Case Study of Hurricane Harvey. Journal of Housing Research, 29:sup1, S86-S120, DOI: 10.1080/10527001.2020.1840131
Kousky, C., and Golnaraghi, M. (2020). Flood Risk Management in the United States | Research report. Geneva Association.
Collier, B.L., A.F. Haughwout, H.C. Kunreuther, and E.O. Michel-Kerjan (2020). Firms’ Management of Infrequent Shocks. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 52(6): 1329-1359, DOI:10.1111/jmcb.12674
Collier, B. L. (2020). Strengthening Local Credit Markets Through Lender-Level Index Insurance. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 87(2): 319-349, DOI: 10.1111/jori.12277
Collier, B. L. and M.A. Ragin (2020). The Influence of Sellers on Contract Choice: Evidence from Flood Insurance. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 87(2): 523-557, DOI: 10.1111/jori.12280
Tonn, G., Reilly, A., Czajkowski, J., Ghaedi, H., & Kunreuther, H. (2020). US Transportation Infrastructure Resilience: Influences of Insurance, Incentives, and Public Assistance. Transport Policy. Volume 100, January 2021, Pp 108-119.
Simmons, K. M., J. Czajkowski, and P. Kovacs (2020). Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule Participation Analysis. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment.
Kousky, C. (2020). Catastrophic Risk Transfer in a Post-Pandemic World. In: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 World. World Economic Forum.
Kousky, C., and H. Wiley (2020). The Role of Insurance in Coastal Adaptation: Workshop Findings. Philadelphia: Wharton Risk Center, University of Pennsylvania. March.
Wing, O., N, Pinter, P. Bates, and C. Kousky (2020). New insights into US flood vulnerability revealed from flood insurance big data. Nature Communications 11: 1444.
Kousky, C., and S. Light (2019). Insuring Nature. Duke Law Journal, 69.
Kousky, C., L. Ritchie, K. Tierney, and B. Lingle (2019). Return on Investment Analysis and its Applicability to Community Disaster Preparedness Activities: Calculating Costs and Returns. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 41.
Kousky, C. (2019). The Role of Natural Disaster Insurance in Recovery and Risk Reduction. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 11.
Pauly, M. V., and H. Kunreuther (2019). Responses to losses in high-deductible health insurance: persistence, emotions, and rationality. Behavioural Public Policy, 3(1), 72-86.
Kousky, C., K. Greig, and B. Lingle (2019). Financing Third Party Wildfire Damages: Options for California’s Electric Utilities. Philadelphia: Wharton Risk Center, University of Pennsylvania. January.
Kousky, C. (2018). Financing flood losses: A discussion of the National Flood Insurance Program. Risk Management and Insurance Review, 21(1), 11-32.
Kousky, C., and H. Kunreuther (2018). Risk management roles of the public and private sector. Risk Management and Insurance Review, 21(1), 181-204.
Kousky, C., and B. Lingle (2018). The Three Maps That Explain Residential Flood Insurance. BRINK. September 13.
Kousky, C., and H. Kunreuther (2018). A Framework for Managing Catastrophic Risks. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief, August.
Kousky, C., H. Kunreuther, B. Lingle, and L. Shabman (2018). The Emerging Private Residential Flood Insurance Market in the United States. Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, July.
Kunreuther, H. (2018). Improving the National Flood Insurance Program. Behavioural Public Policy, 1-15.
Ripberger, J. T., Jenkins‐Smith, H. C., Silva, C. L., Czajkowski, J., Kunreuther, H., & Simmons, K. M. (2018). Tornado damage mitigation: homeowner support for enhanced building codes in Oklahoma. Risk analysis, 38(11), 2300-2317.
Kousky, C., E.O. Michel-Kerjan, and P.A. Raschky (2018). Does federal disaster assistance crowd out flood insurance? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 87, 150-164.
Mirchi, A., D.W. Watkins, V. Engel, M.C. Sukop, J. Czajkowski, M. Bhat, … and R. Weisskof (2018). A hydro-economic model of South Florida water resources system. Science of the Total Environment, 628, 1531-1541.
Simmons, K. M., J. Czajkowski, and J.M. Done (2018). Economic effectiveness of implementing a statewide building code: the case of Florida. Land Economics, 94(2), 155-174.
Kousky, C., B. Lingle, and L. Shabman (2017). The Pricing of Flood Insurance. Journal of Extreme Events. 04, 1750001.
Kousky, C., & Shabman, L. (2017). Federal funding for flood risk reduction in the US: Pre-or post-disaster? Water Economics and Policy, 3(01), 1771001.
For a full list of publications, see our main publications page: https://riskcenter.wharton.upenn.edu/publications/
Below is a selection of past research projects.
Past Risk Center research has examined how strengthening building codes post-disaster and creating better incentives for investment in property mitigation can limit future losses. Additionally, the center has researched the role of insurance in providing financial protection against critical infrastructure damage and encouraging investment in loss reduction measures.
Since 2001, the Wharton Risk Center has been advancing knowledge on terrorism insurance markets by providing policymakers and key industry decision makers with analysis of what roles the public and private sectors can and should play with respect to terrorism risk coverage in the United States and abroad in the post-9/11 world.
Launched in 2010, this Wharton Risk Center project examined the risk management practices of large, publicly traded companies to identify effective strategies for detecting, preparing for and coping with catastrophic events.
Underlying public cries for better or increased inspections that often follow an industry disaster or near-disaster is a fundamental problem of virtually every regulatory agency and regulated industry: the number of regulated firms far exceeds the resources of agencies to inspect those firms. The Wharton Risk Center examined the value of enhancing the role that third-parties play in implementing regulations.
We are thrilled to announce that the Policy Incubator has received a Stage 2 Civic Innovations grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy. Learn more on our project page.
Carolyn Kousky, Executive Director of the Wharton Risk Center, is responsible for leading the Disaster Risk Management Lab.
In response to a call for research proposals during the spring of 2021, five Wharton faculty members of this lab and the Business, Climate and Environment Lab were awarded grants for research related to climate and sustainability issues. Read about the awardees and their projects here.