W. Kip Viscusi

W. Kip Viscusi

University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management
Co-Director, Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics

Research Interests/Areas of Expertise

Regulation of health, safety, and environmental risks; law and economics; tort liability; risk and uncertainty



W. Kip Viscusi is Vanderbilt's first University Distinguished Professor, with tenured appointments in the Department of Economics and the Owen Graduate School of Management as well as in the Law School.

Awards & Accomplishments

His pathbreaking research has addressed a wide range of individual and societal responses to risk and uncertainty, including risky behaviors, government regulation, and tort liability. He is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on benefit-cost analysis.


He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Department of Justice on issues pertaining to the valuation of life and health. In the Carter administration, he was Deputy Director of the Council of Wage and Price Stability, which was responsible for White House oversight over all new federal regulations. He has served on different panels of the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for over a decade. Professor Viscusi served as the President of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis and was on the SBCA board as Past President.


Professor Viscusi is the award-winning author of more than 30 books and 400 articles, most of which deal with different aspects of health and safety risks. He is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on benefit-cost analysis. Viscusi's estimates of the value of risks to life and health are currently used throughout the federal government. His book Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society synthesized much of his work in this area. Professor Viscusi is the founding editor of the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, which he has edited since 1988. He recently collaborated with Joseph Harrington and David Sappington on the fifth edition of his textbook, Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, which has retained its monopoly position in that field. In 2019, he received the Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research, Vanderbilt’s most prestigious honor for faculty research and scholarship. He is also the third most frequently cited U.S. law professor according to Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports (Google Scholar h-index).


Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty, Professor Viscusi was the Cogan Professor of Law and Economics and Director of the Program on Empirical Studies at Harvard Law School. He has also been the Allen Professor of Economics at Duke University, Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, and Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University, 1976

A.M., Economics, Harvard University, 1974

M.P.P., Public Policy, Harvard University, 1973

A.B., Economics, Harvard University, 1971