Mark A. Cohen

Justin Potter Professor of American Competitive Enterprise and Professor of Law
University Fellow, Resources for the Future

Mark Cohen is an expert on government enforcement of policy mandates, having published more than 85 articles and books on such topics as the effect of community right-to-know laws on firm behavior; why companies reduce toxic chemical emissions; benefit-cost analysis of oil spill regulation and enforcement; whether it "pays" to be green; and judicial sentencing of individuals and firms convicted of corporate crimes. He has served on various governmental advisory panels, including Tennessee’s Environmental Justice Steering Committee and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Panel on Illegal Competitive Advantage and Economic Benefits. He is a member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative, and serves on several academic editorial boards including Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Environmental Economics, and Managerial and Decision Economics. Professor Cohen holds a primary appointments at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and a secondary appointment at the law school. Before joining the academy, he served as a staff economist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. At Vanderbilt, he has taught such courses as Economics of Organizations, Corporate Strategies for Environmental and Social Responsibility, and the Law and Business of Climate Change. He co-founded and directed the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies, and from 2003-05, he was a senior associate dean of the Owen Graduate School.

Research Interests

Law and economics, government regulation, white-collar and corporate crime, and environmental management and sustainability

Area(s) of Expertise

Environmental regulation, criminal justice issues, corporate crime and punishment, street crime, consumer protection and discriminatory lending practices, microeconomics, and public policy analysis

Representative Publications

  • “Deepwater Drilling: Law, Policy, and Economics of Firm Organization and Safety,” 64 Vanderbilt Law Review 1853 (2011) (with Madeline Gottlieb, Joshua Linn and Nathan Richardson)
  • “Climate Change Governance: Boundaries and Leakage,” 18 New York University Environmental Law Journal 221 (2010) (with Michael P. Vandenbergh)
  • “New Evidence on the Monetary Value of Saving a High Risk Youth,” 25 Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25 (2009) (with Alex Piquero)
  • “Consumption, Happiness and Climate Change,” 38 Environmental Law Reporter 10834 (2008) (with Michael P. Vandenbergh)
  • Economics of Crime (Warsaw, Poland: Ius et Lex, 2007) (with Janusz Kochanowski and Jacek Czabanski)
  • “Information Disclosure as Environmental Regulation: A Theoretical Analysis," 37 Environmental and Resource Economics 3: 599-620 (July 2007) (with V. Santhakumar)
  • "Prevention, Crime Control or Cash? Public Preferences towards Criminal Justice Spending Priorities," Justice Quarterly (2006) (with Roland T. Rust and Sara Steen)
  • "Costs and Benefits of Sentencing," Chapter 8, pp. 117-27, in Preventing Crime: What Works for Children, Offenders, Victims, and Places, Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington eds. (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2006) (with Cynthia McDougall, Amanda Perry and Raymond Swaray)
  • "Assessing the Public's Demand for Hate Crime Penalties," Justice Quarterly (March 2004) (with Sara Steen)
  • The Costs of Crime and Justice (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005); ISBN 0-415-70072-8 (hardback), 0-415-70073-6 (paperback)

Contact Information

(615) 322-0533 (voice)
(615) 343-7177 (fax)

Curriculum Vitae



Ph.D. Carnegie-Mellon University (economics)
M.A. Carnegie-Mellon University (economics)
B.S.F.S. Georgetown University (international economics)