Philip J. Cook

Philip J. Cook

Professor Emeritus of Economics

External Address: 
218 Rubenstein Hall, Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708-0245
(919) 613-7360

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, 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. 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 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 new book with Kristin A. Goss, The Gun Debate (Oxford University Press 2014) is intended for a general audience seeking an objective assessment of the myriad relevant issues.  He is currently heading up a multi-city investigation of the underground gun market, one product of which is a symposium to be published by the RSF Journal in 2017.

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.


  • Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley 1973

Cook, Philip J. “Gun Theft and Crime.Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 95, no. 3 (June 2018): 305–12. Full Text

Smucker, Sierra, Rose E. Kerber, and Philip J. Cook. “Suicide and Additional Homicides Associated with Intimate Partner Homicide: North Carolina 2004-2013.Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 95, no. 3 (June 2018): 337–43. Full Text

Cook, P. J. “Challenge of Firearms Control in a Free Society.” Criminology and Public Policy 17, no. 2 (May 1, 2018): 437–51. Full Text

Cook, P. J. “Gun markets.” Annual Review of Criminology 1 (January 1, 2018): 379–400. Full Text

Krawiec, K., and P. Cook. “If We Pay Football Players, Why Not Kidney Donors?Regulation 41 (2018): 12–17.

Sorensen, L. C., P. J. Cook, and K. A. Dodge. “From Parents to Peers: Trajectories in Sources of Academic Influence Grades 4 to 8.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 39, no. 4 (December 1, 2017): 697–711. Full Text

Cook, Philip J., Ariadne E. Rivera-Aguirre, Magdalena Cerdá, and Garen Wintemute. “Cook et al. Respond.American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 12 (December 2017): e23. Full Text

Cook, Philip J., and John J. Donohue. “Saving lives by regulating guns: Evidence for policy.Science (New York, N.Y.) 358, no. 6368 (December 2017): 1259–61. Full Text

Cook, P. J., K. A. Dodge, E. J. Gifford, and A. B. Schulting. “A new program to prevent primary school absenteeism: Results of a pilot study in five schools.” Children and Youth Services Review 82 (November 1, 2017): 262–70. Full Text


Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. Guns in America results of a comprehensive national survey on firearms ownership and use. Washington, DC: The Police Foundation, 1996.

Cook, P. J. Kids, Guns and Public Policy. Edited by P. J. Cook. Vol. 59, 1996.

Frank, R. H., and P. J. Cook. The Winner-Take-All Society. New York: The Free Press, 1995.

Cook, P. J., and D. Slawson. The Costs of Adjudicating Murder Cases in North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: Administrative Office of the Courts, 1993.

Clotfelter, Charles T., and Philip J. Cook. Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America, 1989.

Cook, P. Robbery in the United States an analysis of recent trends and patterns. National Institute of Justice, 1983.

Cook, P. J., and D. Nagin. Does the Weapon Matter? An Evaluation of a Weapon Emphasis Policy in the Prosecution of Violent Offenders. Washington, DC: Institute of Law and Social Research, 1979.

Vaupel, J. W., and P. Cook. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Self-hazardous Behavior. Durham, NC: Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, Duke University, 1978.

Cook, P. J. Criminal Process in the Seventies. Edited by A. K. Pye and P. J. Cook. Vol. 41, 1977.


Cook, P. J. “Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results by Mark A.R. Kleiman and The Search for Rational Drug Control Policy by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins.” The Search for Rational Drug Control Policy in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 1992.

Cook, P. J. “The Costs of Poor Health Habits by Willard Manning et. al.The Costs of Poor Health Habits in Policy Currents, 1992.

Cook, P. J. “Drugs and Crime, Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, eds.Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Wiley, 1991.

Cook, P. J. “Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status by Robert H. Frank.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Wiley, 1986.

Cook, P. J. “Deterring the Drinking Driver by Laurence Ross.” Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 1983.

Cook, P. J., and A. White. “Economic Models of Criminal Behavior by John Heineke.” Southern Economic Journal. Southern Economic Association, 1980.

Cook, P. J. “Prisoners Among Us by David T. Stanley.” Policy Analysis, 1978.

Cook, P. J. “Public Policy Evaluation by Kenneth Dolbeare.” Policy Analysis, 1977.

Cook, P. J. “Crime, Punishment, and Deterrence by Jack P. Gibbs.” Contemporary Psychology, 1976.


Cook, P. J., and C. T. Clotfelter. “The Gambler's Fallacy in Lottery Play.” In The Economics Of Gambling And National Lotteries, edited by L. V. Williams. Edgar Elgar Publishers, 2012.

Gottfredson, D., P. J. Cook, and C. Na. “School-based crime prevention.” In The Oxford Handbook of Crime Prevention, edited by B. C. Walsh and D. P. Farrington, 269–2897. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Chaloupja, F. J., P. J. Cook, R. M. Peck, and J. A. Tauras. “Enhancing compliance with tobacco control policies.” In After Tobacco, edited by P. Bearman, K. M. Neckerman, and L. Wright, 325–50. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

Cook, P. J., and M. Gearing. “The minimum drinking age: 21 as an artifact.” In College Student Drinking and Drug Use: Multiple Perspectives on a Complex Problem, edited by H. R. White and D. L. Rabiner. Guilford Press, 2011.

Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. “Economical Crime Control.” In Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, edited by P. J. Cook, J. Ludwig, and J. McCrary. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Cook, P. J., and J. MacDonald. “The role of private action in controlling crime.” In Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, edited by P. J. Cook, J. Ludwig, and J. McCrary. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Bushway, Shawn D., Philip J. Cook, and Matthew Phillips. “The Net Effect of the Business Cycle on Crime and Violence,” 2010.

Hauck, E. F., and N. L. Hopkins. “Comment,” Vol. 66, 2010. Full Text

Frank, R. H., and P. J. Cook. “Preface to the new edition.” In The Winner-Take-All Society. London: Virgin Books, Random House, 2010.

Cook, P. J., D. C. Gottfredson, and C. Na. “School crime control and prevention.” In Crime and Justice, edited by M. Tonry. University of Chicago Press, 2010.


Moore, Michael J., and Philip J. Cook. “Habit and Heterogeneity in the Youthful Demand for Alcohol,” June 1995.

Clotfelter, Charles T., and Philip J. Cook. “The Demand for Lottery Products,” April 1989.


Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. “What did the sniper case teach us? Lessons in Gun Control.” News & Observer (Raleigh), November 3, 2002.

Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. “Protecting the Public in Presidential Style.” News & Observer (Raleigh), June 10, 2001.

Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. “Toward Smarter Gun Laws.” The Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2001.

Cook, P. J., and J. Ludwig. “Has the Brady Act Been Successful?The Charlotte Observer, August 15, 2000.

Cook, P. J. “0pEd.The News & Observer (Raleigh), February 14, 1999.

Cook, P. J., and R. Frank. “OpEd.Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 1996.

Goss, K. A., and P. Cook. “A Selective Review of the Social-Contagion Literature.” Terry Sanford Instiute Working Paper, Duke University, 1996.

Cook, P. J., and R. Frank. “OpEd.Washington Monthly, December 1995.

Cook, P. J., and R. Frank. “OpEd.Washington Post (Washington, D.C. : 1974), November 12, 1995.

Cook, P. J., and R. Frank. “OpEd.Usa Today, October 9, 1995.


Selected Grants

Graduate Fellowship Support awarded by Department of Education (Principal Investigator). 1987 to 1988