We've launched a new site so please go to People & Research for current information on our faculty and staff.

Philip J. Cook, ITT/Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy; Professor of Economics and Sociology and Faculty Affiliate, Center for Child and Family Policy  

Office Location: 215 Sanford Building
Office Phone: (919) 613-7360
Duke Box: 90245
Email Address: pcook@duke.edu

Areas of Expertise

  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Health Policy
    • Alcohol
    • Economics
    • Smoking/Tobacco
  • Social Policy
    • Lotteries and Gambling
    • Violence

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1973
BA (with high distinction), University of Michigan, 1968

Current projects: prisoner reentry, crime prevention, alcohol control policy, policies to prevent gun violence

Research Description: Research: Crime and criminal justice; Public health policy and social policy; regulation of alchohol, guns, gambling; violence prevention

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. PJ Cook, ST Parker and HA Pollack. "Sources of guns to dangerous people: what we learn by asking them.." Preventive medicine 79 (October, 2015): 28-36. [doi]  [abs]
  2. PJ Cook, S Kang, AA Braga, J Ludwig and ME O’Brien. "An Experimental Evaluation of a Comprehensive Employment-Oriented Prisoner Re-entry Program." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 31.3 (September, 2015): 355-382. [doi]
  3. PJ Cook, RJ Harris, J Ludwig and HA Pollack. "Some sources of crime guns in Chicago: Dirty dealers, straw purchasers, and traffickers." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 104.4 (January, 2015): 717-760.  [abs]
  4. PJ Cook and S Kang. "Birthdays, schooling, and crime: Regression-discontinuity analysis of school performance, delinquency, dropout, and crime initiation." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (2015).
  5. P.J. Cook, D.C. Gottfredson, and C. Na. "School crime statistics." (forthcoming) Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Ed. G.J.N. Bruinsma and D.L. Weisburd Springer Science+Business Media, 2014

Curriculum Vitae

Philip J. Cook is ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Sociology at Duke University. He served as director and chair of Duke’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy from 1985-89, and again from 1997-99. Cook is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an honorary Fellow in the American Society of Criminology. In 2001 he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cook joined the Duke faculty in 1973 after earning his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice (Criminal Division) and to the U.S. Department of Treasury (Enforcement Division). He has served in a variety of capacities with the National Academy of Sciences, including membership on expert panels dealing with alcohol-abuse prevention, violence, school shootings, underage drinking, and the deterrent effect of the death penalty. He serves as vice chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Law and Justice. Cook's primary focus at the moment is the economics of crime. He is co-director of the NBER Work Group on the Economics of Crime, and co-editor of a new NBER volume on crime prevention. Much of his recent research has dealt with the private role in crime prevention. He also has several projects under way in the area of truancy prevention. Over much of his career, one strand of Cook’s research concerns the prevention of alcohol-related problems through restrictions on alcohol availability. An early article was the first to demonstrate persuasively that alcohol taxes have a direct effect on the death rate of heavy drinkers, and subsequent research demonstrated the moderate efficacy of minimum-purchase-age laws in preventing fatal crashes. Together with Michael J. Moore, he focused on the effects of beer taxes on youthful drinking and the consequences thereof, finding that more restrictive policies result in lower rates of abuse, higher college graduation rates and lower crime rates. His new book on the subject is Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, (Princeton University Press, 2007).

A second strand has concerned the costs and consequences of the widespread availability of guns, and what might be done about it. His book (with Jens Ludwig), Gun Violence: The Real Costs (Oxford University Press, 2000), develops and applies a framework for assessing costs that is grounded in economic theory and is quite at odds with the traditional “Cost of Injury” framework. Ludwig and Cook are also the editors of Evaluating Gun Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2003).

Cook has also co-authored two other books: with Charles Clotfelter on state lotteries (Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America, Harvard University Press, 1989), and with Robert H. Frank on the causes and consequences of the growing inequality of earnings (The Winner-Take-All Society, The Free Press, 1995). The Winner-Take-All Society was named a “Notable Book of the Year, 1995” by the New York Times Book Review.

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

Philip J. Cook