Philip J. Cook
  • Philip J. Cook

  • Professor of Economics
  • Economics
  • 215 Sanford Inst Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Campus Box 90245
  • Phone: (919) 613-7360
  • Fax: (919) 681-8288
  • Homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Overview

    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.
  • Specialties

    • Public Economics
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • University of California at Berkeley,
      • 1973
      • BA (with high distinction),
      • University of Michigan,
      • 1968
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology,
      • Academy of Experimental Criminology,
      • May 2012
      • Raymond Vernon Memorial Prize,
      • Association of Public Policy and Management,
      • November, 2008
      • Richard A. Stubbing Teacher Mentor Award,
      • Sanford Institute of Public Policy,
      • May 2008
      • RAYMOND VERNON MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR THE BEST RESEARCH ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN JPAM,
      • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management,
      • January 2008
      • Member, National Academies Institute of Medicine,
      • National Academy of Sciences,
      • 2001-present
      • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy,
      • 2002
      • Fellow of the American Society of Criminology,
      • 2000-present
      • Bellagio Center Residence,
      • Rockefeller Foundation, The,
      • January 2003
      • Who's Who in America 2001,
      • annual
      • Member,
      • Institute of Medicine of The National Academies,
      • January 2001
      • RAYMOND VERNON MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR THE BEST RESEARCH ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN JPAM,
      • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management,
      • January 1997
      • Researcher (NBER Family Members),
      • National Bureau of Economic Research,
      • January 1996
  • Recent Publications

      • PJ Cook and S Kang.
      • (2016).
      • Birthdays, Schooling, and Crime: Regression-Discontinuity Analysis of School Performance, Delinquency, Dropout, and Crime Initiation.
      • American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
      • ,
      • 8
      • (1)
      • ,
      • 33-57.
      • American Economic Association.
      • [web]
      • PJ Cook, ST Parker and HA Pollack.
      • (2015).
      • Sources of guns to dangerous people: what we learn by asking them..
      • Preventive medicine
      • ,
      • 79
      • ,
      • 28-36.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Gun violence exacts a lethal toll on public health. This paper focuses on reducing access to firearms by dangerous offenders, contributing original empirical data on the gun transactions that arm offenders in Chicago. Conducted in the fall of 2013, analysis of an open-ended survey of 99 inmates of Cook County Jail focuses on a subset of violence-prone individuals with the goal of improving law enforcement actions. Among our principal findings: *Our respondents (adult offenders living in Chicago or nearby) obtain most of their guns from their social network of personal connections. Rarely is the proximate source either direct purchase from a gun store, or theft. *Only about 60% of guns in the possession of respondents were obtained by purchase or trade. Other common arrangements include sharing guns and holding guns for others. *About one in seven respondents report selling guns, but in only a few cases as a regular source of income. *Gangs continue to play some role in Chicago in organizing gun buys and in distributing guns to members as needed. *The Chicago Police Department has a considerable effect on the workings of the underground gun market through deterrence. Transactions with strangers and less-trusted associates are limited by concerns over arrest risk (if the buyer should happen to be an undercover officer or a snitch), and about being caught with a "dirty" gun (one that has been fired in a crime).

      • PJ Cook, S Kang, AA Braga, J Ludwig and ME O’Brien.
      • (2015).
      • An Experimental Evaluation of a Comprehensive Employment-Oriented Prisoner Re-entry Program.
      • Journal of Quantitative Criminology
      • ,
      • 31
      • (3)
      • ,
      • 355-382.
      • [web]
      • PJ Cook.
      • (2015).
      • Robbery Violence.
      • manual
      • R Hornsby and R Hobbs (Eds.),
      • Gun Violence
      • Ashgate Publishing Ltd..
      • PJ Cook and J Ludwig.
      • (2015).
      • The Burden of 'Acting White:' Do Black Adolescents Disparage Academic Achievement?.
      • manual
      • JU Ogbu (Eds.),
      • Minority status, Oppositional Culture and Academic Engagement
      • RoutledgeFarmer.
  • View All Publications
  • wall_background