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W. Kip Viscusi


Professor W. Kip Viscusi, Ph.D.

Bio

W. Kip Viscusi, Ph.D., is Vanderbilt's first University Distinguished Professor. His estimates of the value of risks to life and health are currently used throughout the Federal government. (Read more)

Headshots of W. Kip Viscusi (headshot 1) (headshot 2) (headshot 3)

Bibliography

W. Kip Viscusi is the author of more than 20 books and 330 articles. (CV) (Download publications) (W. Kip Viscusi at SSRN)

W. Kip Viscusi is the founding editor of The Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. 2013 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the journal.

Presentations

March 16, 2018: "Expanding the Domain of the Value of a Statistical Life," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

November 17-19, 2017: "The Dynamic Relationship between Social Norms and Pro-Environmental Behavior: Evidence from Household Recycling," Southern Economic Association 87th Annual Meetings, Tampa, FL

July 20, 2017: Keynote address, "Pricing Lives for Policy," Annual Conference of the Economic Society of Australia, Sydney, AU

July 20, 2017: "Rational Benefit Assessment for an Irrational World: Toward a Benefit Transfer Test," Annual Conference of the Economic Society of Australia, Sydney, AU

March 28, 2017: Lecture, "Pricing Lives," Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

Kip Viscusi: Pricing Lives for Government and Corporate Decisions

March 27, 2017: "Anchoring Biases in International Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," RAND Visiting Speaker Series, Santa Monica, CA

March 16-17, 2017: "Best Estimate Selection Bias of Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

March 16-17, 2017: "Anchoring Biases in International Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," Discussion Panel, Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

September 16, 2016: "Best Estimate Selection Bias: Value of a Statistical Life," Meta-Analysis of Economic Research Network (MAER-Net) Colloquium, Hendrix College, Little Rock, AR

March 18, 2016: "Rational Benefit Assessment for an Irrational World," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

March 17, 2016: "Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

November 21, 2015: "Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes," Southern Economic Association Annual Meetings, New Orleans, LA

September 8, 2015: "Benefit-Cost Analysis," XI Summer School in Public Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

March 19, 2015: Keynote address, "Pricing Lives for Government and Corporate Risk Decisions," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

March 19, 2015: "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

January 29, 2015: Roundtable speaker, Workshop on Regulatory Impact Analysis, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center, Washington, DC

January 15, 2015: "Regulating Ambiguous Risks: The Less than Rational Regulation of Pharmaceuticals," Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA

November 23, 2014: "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," Southern Economic Association Annual Meetings, Atlanta, GA

November 22, 2014: "The Incidence of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," Southern Economic Association Annual Meetings, Atlanta, GA

November 11, 2014: "Regulating Ambiguous Risks: The Less than Rational Regulation of Pharmaceuticals," Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

September 12, 2014: "Judicial Review of Cost-Benefit Analysis," LEC Public Policy Conference on Administration Unbound? Delegation, Deference, and Discretion, George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA

April 15, 2014: "The Value of a Statistical Life for Transportation Regulation," University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Conference on Risk in Honor of Michael Jones-Lee, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

March 14, 2014: Roundtable speaker, "What Should Be Done with Benefit-Cost Analysis in Cases Where WTA and WTP Valuations Differ?" Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

March 13, 2014: "The Value of a Statistical Life for Transportation Regulation," Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference, Washington, DC

November 23, 2013: "Shifting the Fat-Tailed Distribution of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," Southern Economic Association Annual Meetings, Tampa, FL

September 26, 2013: "Shifting the Fat-Tailed Distribution of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," University of North Carolina Law School, Chapel Hill, NC

September 5, 2013: Keynote speech, "Publication Selection and the Income Elasticity of the Value of a Statistical Life," Meta-Analysis of Economic Research Network (MAER-Net) Colloquium, University of Greenwich, Greenwich, England

May 15, 2013: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHS40 Conference, "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life Using Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Data," Washington, DC

December 13-14, 2012: Université de Montpellier, Rationality and Pro-Environmental Behavior Seminar, "Social Norms and Recycling Behavior," with Joel Huber and Jason Bell, Montpellier, France

December 10-11, 2012: Munich School of Management, Behavioral Insurance Workshop, "Risk Beliefs and Insurance," Munich, Germany

October 24-26, 2012: CEVRO Institute, Law and Economics as an Applied Science: The Legacy of Guido Calabresi, "The Role of Modern Tort Liability as a Risk Distribution Mechanism," with Joni Hersch, Prague, Czech Republic

What's New

W. Kip Viscusi's article featured in May 2017 Research News @ Vanderbilt newsletter.

July 2017: On July 20, 2017, W. Kip Viscusi was a keynote speaker for the 2017 Australian Conference of Economists. Professor Viscusi's presentation, "Pricing Lives," was based on his forthcoming book Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society (Princeton University Press). 

ACE 2017

ACE 2017

May 2017: Laws that allow doctors to apologize to patients with the provision that the apology not be used in lawsuits fail to limit medical malpractice liability risk, according to a new study from Vanderbilt University. [Read full article]

W. Kip Viscusi received SBCA's Best Article of the Year award.

March 2017: W. Kip Viscusi received the Best Article of the Year award at the Society of Benefit-Cost Analysis 2017 Annual Conference for his article “Rational Benefit Assessment for an Irrational World: Toward a Behavioral Transfer Test,” co-authored with Ted Gayer and published in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis in Spring 2016.

SBCA Best Article

W. Kip Viscusi (right) and Ted Gayer (center) receiving the Best Article of the Year award from Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis editor, Glenn Blomquist (left).

W. Kip Viscusi presented two awards at annual SBCA Conference

March 2016: Professor Viscusi, 2015 President of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, presented the award for Outstanding Economist and the Richard Zerbe Award on March 18 at the annual Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Conference in Washington, D.C.

Viscusi Harberger DudleyProfessor Viscusi (left) presents Dr. Arnold Harberger with the Outstanding Economist award at the 2016 SBCA Conference in Washington, D.C. Viscusi and Harberger are joined by current SBCA president Susan Dudley.

Viscusi Dowd DudleyProfessor Viscusi (left) presents SBCA Executive Director Erika Dowd (center) with the Richard Zerbe Award for outstanding contributions to the SBCA in Washington, D.C. on March 18. Viscusi and Dowd are joined by current SBCA president Susan Dudley.

W. Kip Viscusi presented Keynote Address at annual SBCA meeting

April 2015: Professor Viscusi, President of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, recently presented the Keynote Address, "Pricing Lives for Government and Corporate Risk Decisions," at SBCA's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Watch the full address here.

W. Kip Viscusi quoted in The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog

April 2014: The Takeda verdict: Why the $9 billion award will likely shrink - A federal jury late Monday stuck Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and marketing partner Eli Lilly with a whopping $9 billion in punitive damages for allegedly hiding the cancer risks associated with the diabetes drug Actos. But how likely is it that the companies will actually fork over that amount? Not very, say legal experts. W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, is quoted. [Read at WSJ.com]

W. Kip Viscusi quoted by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Freakonomics Radio

April 2014: Professor Viscusi is quoted briefly by The Current's Project Money on job risk and soldier pay. Freakonomics Radio quoted Professor Viscusi on the costs of cigarettes and smoking.

W. Kip Viscusi elected for leadership of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

December 2013: Professor Viscusi has been elected to be the Vice-President of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis for 2014 and will be president of the SBCA in 2015.

W. Kip Viscusi's Featured Article in the BLS's Monthly Labor Review

October 2013: Professor Viscusi's article "Using data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries to estimate the "value of a statistical life" is the Featured Article in the October 2013 Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

W. Kip Viscusi quoted by The Wall Street Journal

June 2013: On June 19, 2013, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on railroad safety, including the progress on installing anticrash gear. Central to the debate is the delicate matter of putting a dollar value on saving a life. It is an age-old regulatory predicament—namely, whether or not spending to make one thing safe steers money away from addressing a more serious threat elsewhere. W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, is quoted. [Read at WSJ.com]

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) adopts Viscusi's estimates of the value of a statistical life.

April 2013: In its 2013 guidance memo, DOT updated its approach for assigning a dollar value to prevention of fatal injuries, which is now over $9 million per expected fatality. DOT relied upon Viscusi's studies to set the overall valuation of risk to life, the reasonable range of valuation estimates, and the effect of income levels on these values.  The previous DOT methodology was based largely on the 2003 meta-analysis of value of statistical life studies by Viscusi and Aldy, while the current approach relies on labor market studies using newer occupational fatality data. Yellow highlighting in the attached DOT guidance document indicates all studies authored or coauthored by Viscusi. [Read the DOT 2013 guidance memo]

W. Kip Viscusi at the Prague Conference on Political Economy 2012: Law and Economics as an Applied Science: The Legacy of Guido Calabresi

October 26-28, 2012: Professors Viscusi and Hersch were invited to join scholars from all over the world to celebrate the seminal work and 80th birthday of Judge Guido Calabresi. The photo below is of Professor Josef Sima, Judge Calabresi, and Professor Viscusi.

Kip Viscusi at Calabresi Conference-Prague 2012

W. Kip Viscusi in Bloomberg BNA
and US News & World Report

July 17, 2012: Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured by Bloomberg BNA and U.S. News & World Report.

W. Kip Viscusi at GUIRR

June 20, 2012: Professor Viscusi gave the keynote address "Valuing Risks to Life: Ethical Issues and Policy Challenges" at the National Academies' Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) in Washington D.C., sponsored by the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

The Viscusi Cocktail

"Over at About.com Lance Mayhew has posted a simple brunch or aperitif cocktail we recently came up with featuring Quady Essensia, an Orange Muscat dessert wine. The wine is delicious on its own but we wanted to play with it in mixed drinks too. This one adds in mild Canadian whiskey, Prosecco, and orange bitters; head over to About for the recipe for the Viscusi cocktail.

Incidentally the drink is named after Vanderbilt economist Kip Viscusi, whose book Smoke-Filled Rooms happened to be out on my counter while Lance and I were experimenting with drinks. I don't know if Viscusi is into cocktails, but I hope he'll be glad to find his name on one if he ever comes across it." [Get the recipe]

Read more of what's new with W. Kip Viscusi.