Howard Kunreuther

Howard Kunreuther
  • James G. Dinan Professor Emeritus of Operations, Information and Decisions
  • Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3819 Chestnut
    Suite 330 St. Leonard's Court
    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 Emeritus, Operations, Information and Decisions (OID) Department 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. 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).  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.  His recent books include The Future of Risk Management (with R. Meyer and E. O, Michel-Kerjan), “Managing Catastrophic Risk: How Companies are Coping with Disruption” (with M. Useem),  “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters” (with R. Meyer), “Insurance and Behavioral Economics: Improving Decisions in the Most Misunderstood Industry” (with M. Pauly and S. McMorrow) and  At War with the Weather (with E. O. Michel-Kerjan).

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Research

Teaching

Past Courses

  • BEPP261 - 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.

  • BEPP761 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course will introduce students to concepts in risk governance. We will delve into the three pillars of risk analysis: risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication. The course will spend time on risk financing, including insurance markets. There will be particular emphasis on climate risk management, including both physical impact risk and transition risk, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including management of environmental risks, terrorism, and cyber-security, among other examples. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sector can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • BEPP961 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course will introduce students to concepts in risk governance. We will delve into the three pillars of risk analysis: risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication. The course will spend time on risk financing, including insurance markets. There will be particular emphasis on climate risk management, including both physical impact risk and transition risk, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including management of environmental risks, terrorism, and cyber-security, among other examples. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sector can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • EAS 499 - SENIOR CAPSTONE

    The Senior Capstone Project is required for all BAS degree students, in lieu of the senior design course. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for the student to apply the theoretical ideas and tools learned from other courses. The project is usually applied, rather than theoretical, exercise, and should focus on a real world problem related to the career goals of the student. The one-semester project may be completed in either the fall or sprong term of the senior year, and must be done under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the supervising professor, and the student's faculty advisor, to the Office of Academic Programs two weeks prior to the start of the term.

  • ESE 099 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    An opportunity for the student to become closely associated with a professor in (1) a research effort to develop research skills and technique and/or (2) to develop a program of independent in-depth study in a subject area in which the professor and student have a common interest. The challenge of the task undertaken must be consistent with the student's academic level. To register for this course, the student and professor jointly submit a detailed proposal to the undergraduate curriculum chairman no later than the end of the first week of the term.

  • ESE 567 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course will introduce students to concepts in risk governance. We will delve into the three pillars of risk analysis: risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication. The course will spend time on risk financing, including insurance markets. There will be particular emphasis on climate risk management, including both physical impact risk and transition risk, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including management of environmental risks, terrorism, and cyber-security, among other examples. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sector can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • LGST206 - 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.

  • 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/OIDD 691/LGST 806. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.

  • MGMT291 - 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.

  • MGMT690 - MANAG DECSN MAKING

    The course is built around lectures reviewing multiple empirical studies, class discussion,and a few cases. Depending on the instructor, grading is determined by some combination of short written assignments, tests, class participation and a final project (see each instructor's syllabus for details).

  • MGMT691 - 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/OIDD 691/LGST 806. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.

  • MGMT891 - ADVANCED STUDY-SMGT

  • OIDD261 - 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.

  • OIDD399 - SUPERVISED STUDY

    This course number is currently used for several course types including independent studies, experimental courses and Management & Technology Freshman Seminar. Instructor permission required to enroll in any independent study. Wharton Undergraduate students must also receive approval from the Undergraduate Division to register for independent studies. Section 002 is the Management and Technology Freshman Seminar; instruction permission is not required for this section and is only open to M&T students. For Fall 2020, Section 004 is a new course titled AI, Business, and Society. The course provides a overview of AI and its role in business transformation. The purpose of this course is to improve understanding of AI, discuss the many ways in which AI is being used in the industry, and provide a strategic framework for how to bring AI to the center of digital transformation efforts. In terms of AI overview, we will go over a brief technical overview for students who are not actively immersed in AI (topic covered include Big Data, data warehousing, data-mining, different forms of machine learning, etc). In terms of business applications, we will consider applications of AI in media, Finance, retail, and other industries. Finally, we will consider how AI can be used as a source of competitive advantage. We will conclude with a discussion of ethical challenges and a governance framework for AI. No prior technical background is assumed but some interest in (and exposure to) technology is helpful. Every effort is made to build most of the lectures from the basics.

  • OIDD761 - RISK ANALY & ENV MGMT

    This course will introduce students to concepts in risk governance. We will delve into the three pillars of risk analysis: risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication. The course will spend time on risk financing, including insurance markets. There will be particular emphasis on climate risk management, including both physical impact risk and transition risk, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including management of environmental risks, terrorism, and cyber-security, among other examples. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sector can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • PSYC699 - INDIV RES FOR 1ST YR GRD

  • PSYC999 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

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

Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem, Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Cope with Disruption (Oxford University Press, 2019)
All Research

In the News

What Role Should Insurers Play in Covering Pandemic Business Losses?

For many small businesses such as restaurants, the denial of insurance claims for COVID-19 losses spells bankruptcy and closure. Public-private partnerships could help provide a solution, says Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 12/1/2020
All News

Wharton Magazine

Making a Case for Climate Change Adaptation
Wharton Magazine - 04/17/2020