Whether man-made or naturally occurring, large-scale disasters can cause fatalities and injuries, devastate property and communities, savage the environment, impose significant financial burdens on individuals and firms, and test political leadership. Moreover, global challenges such as climate change and terrorism reveal the interdependent and interconnected nature of our current moment: what occurs in one nation or geographical region is likely to have effects across the globe. Our information age creates new and more integrated forms of communication that incur risks that are difficult to evaluate, let alone anticipate. All of this makes clear that innovative approaches to assessing and managing risk are urgently required.
When catastrophic risk management was in its inception thirty years ago, scientists and engineers would provide estimates of the probability of specific types of accidents and their potential consequences. Economists would then propose risk management policies based on those experts' estimates with little thought as to how this data would be used by interested parties. Today, however, the disciplines of finance, geography, history, insurance, marketing, political science, sociology, and the decision sciences combine scientific knowledge on risk assessment with a better appreciation for the importance of improving individual and collective decision-making processes.
The essays in The Future of Risk Management
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), edited by Howard Kunreuther
, Robert J. Meyer
, Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan
, highlight past research, recent discoveries, and open questions written by leading thinkers in risk management and behavioral sciences. The Future of Risk Management
provides scholars, businesses, civil servants, and the concerned public tools for making more informed decisions and developing long-term strategies for reducing future losses from potentially catastrophic events.
Visit the University of Pennsylvania Press
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Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch.