Howard Kunreuther

Howard Kunreuther
  • James G. Dinan Professor
  • Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center
  • Professor of Decision Sciences and Business Economics and Public Policy
  • Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3730 Walnut Street
    563 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: decision processes, insurance, low-probability events and decision making, managerial economics, operations management, regulation, risk assessment

Links: CV, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Overview

Howard C. Kunreuther is the James G. Dinan Professor; Professor of Decision Sciences and Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School, and co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. He has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low-probability, high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards. Professor Kunreuther is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis He served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a Coordinating Lead Author for the chapter on “Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response Policies” in the 2014 IPCC report, and currently serves on the NAS/NRC Roundtable on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events. His recent books include At War with the Weather (with Erwann Michel-Kerjan) (MIT Press), winner of the Kulp-Wright Book Award from the American Risk and Insurance Association in 2011; Insurance and Behavioral Economics: Improving Decisions in the Most Misunderstood Industry (with Mark Pauly and Stacey McMorrow) (Cambridge University Press); and Leadership Dispatches: Chile’s Extraordinary Comeback from Disaster (with Michael Useem and Erwann Michel-Kerjan) (Stanford University Press). Professor Kunreuther received the 2015 Shin Research Excellence Award from the Geneva Association and the International Insurance Society (IIS) in recognition of his outstanding work on the role of public-private partnerships in mitigating and managing risks, as summarized in his paper "The Role of Insurance in Reducing Losses from Extreme Events: The Need for Public–Private Partnerships" (Geneva Papers 2015, 40: 714-762).

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Research

Teaching

Past Courses

  • BEPP261 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course is designed to introduce students to the complexities of making decisions about threats to human health and the environment when people's perceptions of risks and their decision-making processes differ from expert views. Recognizing the limitations of individuals in processing information, the course explores the role of techniques such as decision analysis, cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment and risk perception in structuring risk-management decisions. We will also examine policy tools such as risk communication, incentive systems, third party inspection, insurance and regulation in different problem contexts. The problem contexts for studying the interactions between analysis, perceptions, and communication will include risk-induced stigmatization of products (e.g. alar, British beef), places (e.g. Love Canal), and technologies (e.g. nuclear power); the siting of noxious facilities, radon, managing catastrophic risks including those from terrorism. A course project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem.

  • BEPP761 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course is designed to introduce students to the role of risk assessment, risk perception and risk management in dealing with uncertain health, safety and environmental risks including the threat of terrorism. It explores the role of decision analysis as well as the use of scenarios for dealing with these problems. The course will evaluate the role of policy tools such as risk communicaton, economic incentives, insurance, regulation and private-public partnership in developing strategies for managing thse risks. A project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem. Cross-listed with OPIM 761.

  • BEPP961 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course is designed to introduce students to the role of risk assessment, risk perception and risk management in dealing with uncertain health, safety and environmental risks including the threat of terrorism. It explores the role of decision analysis as well as the use of scenarios for dealing with these problems. The course will evaluate the role of policy tools such as risk communication, economic incentives, insurance, regulation and private-public partnerships in developing strategies for managing these risks A project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem.

  • LGST206 - NEGOTIATION/CONFLICT RES

    This course examines the art and science of negotiation, with additional emphasis on conflict resolution. Students will engage in a number of simulated negotiations ranging from simple one-issue transactions to multi-party joint ventures. Through these exercises and associated readings, students explore the basic theoretical models of bargaining and have an opportunity to test and improve their negotiation skills.

  • LGST806 - NEGOTIATIONS

    This course examines the art and science of negotiation, with additional emphasis on conflict resolution. Students will engage in a number of simulated negotiations ranging from simple one-issue transactions to multi-party joint ventures. Through these exercises and associated readings, students explore the basic theoretical models of bargaining and have an opportunity to test and improve their negotiation skills. Cross-listed with MGMT 691/OPIM 691. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.

  • MGMT291 - NEGOTIATIONS

    This course includes not only conflict resolution but techniques which help manage and even encourage the valuable aspects of conflict. The central issues of this course deal with understanding the behavior of individuals, groups, and organizations in conflict management situations. The purpose of this course is to understand the theory and processes of negotiations as it is practiced ina variety of settings. The course is designed to be relevant to the broad specturm of problems that are faced by the manager and professional including management of multinationals, ethical issues, and alternative dispute resolutions. Cross listed w/ LGST 206 & OPIM 291.

  • MGMT690 - MANAGERIAL DECISN MAKING

    There has been increasing interest in recent years as to how managers make decisions when there is uncertainty regarding the value or likelihood of final outcomes. What type of information do they collect? How do they process the data? What factors influence the decisions? This course will address these issues. By understanding managerial decision processes we may be better able to prescribe ways of improving managerial behavior. Building on recent work in cognitive psychology, students will gain an understanding of the simplified rules of thumb and apparent systematic biases that individuals utilize in making judgments and choices under uncertainty. At the end of the course, students should understand the decision making process more thoroughly and be in a position to become a better manager.

  • MGMT691 - NEGOTIATIONS

    This course examines the art and science of negotiation. This course develops managerial skills by combining lectures with practice, using exercises where students negotiate with each other. Over the course of the semester, students will engage in a number of simulated negotiations ranging from simple one issue transactions to multi-party joint ventures. Through these exercises and associated readings, students explore the basic theoretical models of bargaining and have an opportunity to test and improve their negotiation skills. Cross-listed with LGST 806/OPIM 691.

  • OIDD261 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

  • OIDD761 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course is designed to introduce students to the role of risk assessment, risk perception and risk management in dealing with uncertain health, safety and environmental risks including the threat of terrorism. It explores the role of decision analysis as well as the use of scenarios for dealing with these problems. The course will evaluate the role of policy tools such as risk communication, economic incentives, insurance, regulation and private-public partnerships in developing strategies for managing these risks. A project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem. Cross-listed with BPUB 761.

Awards and Honors

  • Shin Research Excellence Award, 2015 Description

    Awarded by the Geneva Association and the International Insurance Society in recognition of his outstanding work on the role of public-private  partnerships in mitigating nd managing risk.

  • World Economic Forum, Davos, 2007-2013
  • American Association of the Advancement of Science: AAAS Fellow, 2005
  • Society for Risk Analysis: Distinguished Achievement Award, 2001
  • Society for Risk Analysis: Elected Fellow, 1992
  • Society for Risk Analysis: Outstanding Service Award, 1990
  • Wharton Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, 1983
  • Western Electric Fund Award, 1980 Description

    (with Paul Schoemaker and Paul Kleindorfer) for the program “Decision Sciences Applied to University Problems.” The award is given annually for outstanding achievements in the area of educational innovation in undergraduate education for business administration.

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton

Activity

Latest Research

Luis Ballesteros and Howard Kunreuther, “Organizational Learning from Catastrophes”. In Rethinking Catastrophic Risk: How Corporate America Copes with Disruption, edited by Howard Kunreuther, Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Michael Useem, (Oxford University Press, 2016)
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In the News

2017 Was a Terrible Year for Natural Disasters: Is It the New Normal?

Last year was the costliest on record in the U.S. for damage from natural disasters, painting a grim picture of what the future could bring.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/01/19
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