The Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center is excited to join forces with several Wharton research centers and labs to form the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Initiative. The ESG Initiative will expand the boundaries of business research and education to deliver essential insights for academics, students, and industry professionals. Learn more about the ESG Initiative here.

Risk Communication and Decision-Making Lab

To better understand and improve individual and collective decision-making in the presence of uncertainty, the Risk Communication and Decision-Making Lab investigates different approaches for framing and providing information to households, businesses, and public sector decision-makers to ensure that they are aware of the risks they face and able to improve their preparedness and response to future adverse events.

Controlling the Risk of Wildfires

Wildfires have caused record-breaking losses that are likely to increase in the future due to the impacts of climate change, with drought, extreme heat, and reduced snowpack contributing to the severity of the fires.  Homeowners, communities, and insurance firms all have important roles in curtailing damages from future wildfires. Watch the recording of a virtual event about Mitigating Wildfires, moderated by Howard Kunreuther, here.

Adapting to Climate Change

Cognitive biases, such as myopia, inertia, and herding, cause property owners to avoid investing in long-term measures, such as installing solar panels on their property. We can address these biases with strategies that work with, rather than against, how people naturally make decisions, in concert with short-term economic incentives that meet households’ immediate needs. Recent published work on these topics includes a working paper on Addressing Biases that Impact Homeowners’ Adoption of Solar Panels, an article on how Flood Insurance Finally Acknowledges Climate Change, and an opinion piece on How to overcome cognitive biases against climate action.

Learning from COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be one of the most extensive and complex catastrophic risks the global economy has ever faced. Going forward, discussions and decision-making frameworks are needed to help evaluate risk management strategies to deal with “uninsurable” risks.  Alternative options that involve the insurance sector may be able to assist businesses, nonprofits, and local governments in managing future pandemics and other catastrophic and systemic risks.

Choice Architecture and Insurance

Learn how choice architecture can be applied to the context of insurance as well as how Risk Center researchers are investigating underlying decision processes.

Understanding and Managing 21st Century Risks

Research on how individuals perceive risk and make decisions with respect to risk preparedness.

Increasing Mitigation Through Persuasive Messaging

With support from the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research (ACIIR) at the University of Alabama, the Wharton Risk Center is developing audiovisual messages that aim to increase mitigation activities (e.g., installing a high wind resistant roof) among homeowners in hurricane-prone regions of the U.S.

Botzen, W.J.W., Mol, J.M., Robinson, P.J., Zhang, J., Czajkowski, J. (2021). Individual hurricane preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights for risk communication and emergency management policiesNatural Hazards. 1-16.

Kunreuther, H., Conell-Price, L., Kovacs, P., & Goda, K. (2021). The Impact of a Government Risk Pool and an Opt-Out Framing on Demand for Earthquake Protection . NBER w29144, and SSRN 3901895.

Kunreuther, H. (2021) Flood Insurance Finally Acknowledges Climate Change. Brink. June.

Mol, J.M., W.J.W. Botzen, J.E. Blasch, E.C. Kranzler, and H.C. Kunreuther (2021). All by myself? Testing descriptive social norm-nudges to increase flood preparedness among homeowners. Behavioural Public Policy, 1-33. doi:10.1017/bpp.2021.17

Kunreuther, H., A. Polise, and Q. Spellmeyer (2021).  Addressing Biases that Impact Homeowners’ Adoption of Solar Panels. NBER working paper #28678.

Kousky, C., H. Kunreuther, S. Xian, and N. Lin (2021). Adapting Our Flood Risk Policies to Changing Conditions.  Forthcoming in Risk Analysis.

Chaudhry, S.J., M. Hand, and H. Kunreuther (2021). Broad bracketing for low probability events. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 61(3), 211-244.

Kunreuther, H. (2020). Risk Management Solutions for Climate Change–Induced Disasters. Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.1361

Kunreuther, H. and M.V. Pauly (2020). Do People Have a Bias for Low-Deductible Insurance? NBER working paper.

Mehr, K. S., Geiser, A. E., Milkman, K. L., & Duckworth, A. L. (2020). Copy-Paste Prompts: A New Nudge to Promote Goal AchievementJournal of the Association for Consumer Research5(3), 000-000.

Kirgios, E. L., Chang, E. H., Levine, E. E., Milkman, K. L., & Kessler, J. B. (2020). Forgoing earned incentives to signal pure motivesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences117(29), 16891-16897.

Warren, D. and Schweitzer, M. (2019). When weak sanctioning systems work: Evidence from auto insurance industry fraud investigations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Gaspar, J., Methasani, R. and Schweitzer, M. (2019). Fifty Shades of Deception: Characteristics and Consequences of Lying in Negotiations. Academy of Management Perspectives, 33(1), 62-81.

Wilson, M. T. and C. Kousky (2019). The Long Road to Adoption: How Long Does it Take to Adopt Updated County-Level Flood Insurance Rate Maps? Risk, Hazards, & Crisis in Public Policy, 10(4): 403-421

Haer, T., W.J.W. Botzen, and J.C. Aerts (2019). Advancing disaster policies by integrating dynamic adaptive behaviour in risk assessments using an agent-based modelling approach.  Environmental Research Letters, 14(4), 044022.

Botzen, W. J,W., H. Kunreuther, J. Czajkowski, and H. de Moel (2019). Adoption of Individual Flood Damage Mitigation Measures in New York City: An Extension of Protection Motivation Theory.  Risk Analysis.

Kousky, C. (2018). How America Fails at Communicating Flood Risks. City Lab. October 11.

Kunreuther, H. (2018). Improving the National Flood Insurance Program.  Behavioural Public Policy, 1-15.

Robinson, P. J., and W.J.W. Botzen (2018). The impact of regret and worry on the threshold level of concern for flood insurance demand: Evidence from Dutch homeowners.  Judgment and Decision Making, 13(3), 237-245.

Meyer, R. and H. Kunreuther (2017) The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton Digital Press.

For a full list of publications, see our main publications page:

Flood Resilience Research – Collaboration with Zurich Insurance

The Risk Center joined with Zurich and partners to develop key initiatives focused on broadening the scope of flood resilience research, in order to advance global understanding of flood impact, risk reduction, financial protection, and community resilience.

Covid-19 Pandemic Resources

While the world first responded to the spread of the coronavirus and the economic impacts, the Wharton Risk Center engaged with our partners to meaningfully support the management of evolving threats. See past resources here.

Contributing Scholars:

Howard Kunreuther

Howard Kunreuther

Co-Director Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Research Areas: Climate Adaptation; Disaster Insurance; Communication of Climate Risks; Climate Change Policy

Robert Meyer Final

Robert Meyer

Faculty Director, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Research Areas: Decision Making Under Risk & Uncertainty; Choice Modeling; Natural Language Processing

Carolyn Kousky

Carolyn Kousky

Executive Director, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Research Areas: Disaster Insurance; Natural Disaster Policy; Climate Adaptation

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

William Maul Measey Professor of Law

Research Areas: Insurance; Liability; Financial Services Regulation

Alex Braun

Alexander Braun

Vice Director, Institute of Insurance Economics (University of St. Gallen)

Research Areas: Catastrophe Risk, Insurance-Linked Securities, Digital Insurance, Sustainable Insurance

Wouter Botzen

Wouter Botzen

Professor of Economics of Climate Change and Natural Disasters, VU University Amsterdam

Research Areas: Climate Change Economics; Natural Disaster Risk Management; Catastrophe Insurance, Individual Decision Making

Shereen Chaudry

Shereen Chaudhry

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Research Areas: Judgment and Decision Making; Social Communication; Impression Management and Person Perception


Benjamin Collier

Assistant Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, Fox School of Business at Temple University

Research areas: Insurance Economics; Household Finance; Small Business Economics


Steven Kimbrough

Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions

Research Areas: Risk & Uncertainty; Deep Decarbonation Pathways; Market Design

Cait Lamberton

Cait Lamberton

Duran President’s Distinguished Professor of Marketing

Research areas: Consumer Psychology; Financial Decision Making; Risk Management

Katherine Milkman

Katherine L. Milkman

Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions

Research Areas: Judgment and Decision Making;  Behavioral Economics; Health; Household Finance; Diversity and Inclusion

Alice Moon1

Alice Moon

Assistant Professor of Operations, Information, & Decisions

Research Areas: Judgment and Decision Making; Preference Elicitation; Consumer Psychology

Mark Pauly

Mark V. Pauly

Bendheim Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy

Research Areas: Health Insurance; Health Policy, Medical Economics; Public Finance/Public Choice

ARJ (1)

Alex Rees-Jones

Associate Professor, Business Economics and Public Policy Department

Research Areas: Integrating psychology into economic policy analysis

Harvey Rubin

Harvey Rubin

Professor of Medicine and Computer and Information Science

Rebecca Schaumberg

Rebecca Schaumberg

Assistant Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions

Research Areas: Social Psychology; Organizational Behavior Theory


Maurice Schweitzer

Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions and Management

Research Areas: Behavioral Decision Research; Deception and Trust; Emotions; Negotiations

Paul Slovic2

Paul Slovic

President, Decision Research; Prof. of Psychology, University of Oregon

Research Areas: Psychology of Risk and Decision Making

Mike Useem

Michael Useem

Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the Wharton Leadership Center and McNulty Leadership Program

Research areas:  Governance; Management; Leadership