University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management
Research Focus: Risk and environmental regulation, Behavioral economics, Law & economics
W. Kip Viscusi, Ph.D., is Vanderbilt's first University Distinguished Professor. Viscusi is the award-winning author of more than 30 books and nearly 400 articles, most of which deal with different aspects of health and safety risks. 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. His 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. 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. Viscusi has served as president of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis and the Southern Economic Association.
Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair
Professor of Law and Economics
Research focus: Labor economics, Discrimination, Law & economics
Joni Hersch is an economist who works in the areas of employment discrimination and empirical law and economics. She has published numerous articles in leading peer-reviewed journals and law reviews. Professor Hersch’s research focuses on the influence of gender, race, national origin, skin color, and family background on labor market outcomes, higher education, and inequality. Her research has received international media attention and has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Vox, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and the L.A. Times.
Professor Hersch joined Vanderbilt Law School as a professor of law and economics in 2006, with secondary appointments in the Department of Economics and the Owen Graduate School of Management. That same year, she and W. Kip Viscusi co-founded Vanderbilt’s Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics. She is a research fellow with IZA Institute for Labor Economics and was co-editor of the peer-reviewed IZA Journal of Labor Economics from 2015 through 2018. She also serves as associate editor of the Review of Economics of the Household. She is the author of Sex Discrimination in the Labor Market (Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, 2006) and co-editor of Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century (University of Chicago, 2004).
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