Howard Kunreuther

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

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3819 Chestnut Street, Suite 217 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 emeritus 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.  Notable 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

  • BEPP2610 - 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 risks, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including pandemics, biodiversity loss, and systemic risks, among others. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk communication and management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sectors can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • BEPP7610 - 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.

  • BEPP9610 - 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.

  • OIDD2610 - 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 risks, although the course will also discuss several other examples, including pandemics, biodiversity loss, and systemic risks, among others. The course will cover how people perceive risks and the impact this has on risk communication and management. We will explore public policy surrounding risk management and how the public and private sectors can successfully work together to build resilience, particularly to changing risks.

  • OIDD3990 - 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.

  • OIDD7610 - 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.

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 at Wharton

Activity

Latest Research

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

How to Overcome Cognitive Biases Against Climate Action

Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer look at what prevents homeowners from investing in measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how that can be changed.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 5/17/2021
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Wharton Magazine

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