Mark A. Cohen

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

Mark Cohen is an expert on government enforcement of policy mandates, having published more than 100 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 board of directors of the U.S. Global Reporting Initiative and the Center for Disease Dynamics and Economic Policy, and serves on several academic editorial boards, including the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Environmental Economics, and Managerial and Decision Economics. Professor Cohen holds a primary appointment at the Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. 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 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 to 2005, he was a senior associate dean of the Owen Graduate School. From 2008 to 2011, he served as vice president for research at Resources of the Future in Washington, D.C., where he currently serves as a University Fellow.

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, public policy analysis, identity theft and consumer fraud

Representative Publications

  • “The Evolution Of Corporate Criminal Settlements: An Empirical Perspective On Non-Prosecution, Deferred Prosecution, and Plea Agreements,” 52 American Criminal Law Review 537  (2015) (with Cindy R. Alexander)
    Full Text | WWW
  • "An Empirical Assessment of Corporate Environmental Crime Control Strategies,” 103 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 231 (2013) (with Sally Simpson, Carole Gibbs, Lee Ann Slocum, Melissa Rorie and Michael P. Vandenbergh)
    Full Text | WWW
  • "The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?" 7 Review of Environmental Economics & Policy 2 (2013) (with Stefan Ambec, Stewart Elgie, and Paul Lanoie)
    Full Text | PDF
  • "The Role of Information Disclosure in Climate Mitigation Policy," 3 Climate Change Economics 1250020:1 (2012) (with W. Kip Viscusi)
    Full Text | WWW
  • "Imperfect Competition in Auto Lending: Subjective Markups, Racial Disparity, and Class Action Litigation," 8 Review of Law and Economics 21 (2012)
    Full Text | PDF
  • “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)
    Full Text | WWW
  • “Climate Change Governance: Boundaries and Leakage,” 18 New York University Environmental Law Journal 221 (2010) (with Michael P. Vandenbergh)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “New Evidence on the Monetary Value of Saving a High Risk Youth,” 25 Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25 (2009) (with Alex Piquero)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • The Costs of Crime and Justice (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005); ISBN 0-415-70072-8 (hardback), 0-415-70073-6 (paperback)
    Full Text | WWW
  • "Does the Market Value Environmental Performance?" 83 Review of Economics and Statistics 281 (2001) (with Shameek Konar)
    Full Text | WWW

Contact Information

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

Curriculum Vitae



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