You are here

Faculty

Office

218 Rubenstein Hall, Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-0245

Phone

(919) 613-7360

Links

Social

Philip J. Cook
ITT/Terry Sanford Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Policy Studies
Professor Emeritus in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor Emeritus of Economics
Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy
Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center

Areas of Expertise

Education

Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley (1973)

 

Phil Cook talks about how criminals get their guns. Listen:

 

Phil Cook, archival image, black and white“I started school at age 4, and I never left.”

Read Career Retrospective Article - Philip J Cook: A Scholar of Bad Behavior >>

Download a high resolution image of Phil Cook

 

Phil Cook discusses "The Great American Gun War." Listen:

 

Bio

Philip J. Cook is ITT/Sanford Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of Economics  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 an honorary Fellow in the American Society of Criminology. In 2001 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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, the deterrent effect of the death penalty, and proactive policing. He served 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 NBER volume on crime prevention.  He also has ongoing projects on education policy and academic performance, with recent publications on starting age for public schools, and on how lead exposure affects academic performance and delinquency.

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 book on the subject is Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, (Princeton University Press, 2007; 2016 in paper).

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. His book with Kristin A. Goss, The Gun Debate (Oxford University Press 2014, 2020) is intended for a general audience seeking an objective assessment of the myriad relevant issues.  He is currently heading up an evaluation of the Chicago Police Department's Area Technology Centers, together with a team from the University of Chicago Crime Lab.  

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.  It has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, and Korean.

Representative Publications

Thinking about gun violence Criminology & Public Policy (11/2020)
Underground Gun Markets and the Flow of Illegal Guns into the Bronx and Brooklyn: A Mixed Methods Analysis. Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine (09/2020)
Children drinking private well water have higher blood lead than those with city water. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (07/2020)