Mark A. Cohen
Justin Potter Professor of American Competitive Enterprise and Professor of Law
University Fellow, Resources for the Future
Strategy and Business Economics, Ethics and Social Responsibility
Mark Cohen has extensive experience analyzing government enforcement policies - as both a government economist and an academic - with particular emphasis on environmental and criminal justice issues. A leading expert on enforcing environmental regulations and on corporate crime and punishment, Professor Cohen has published over 100 articles and books on such diverse topics as the effect of community “right to know” laws on firm behavior; why firms reduce toxic chemical emissions; cost-benefit analysis of oil spill regulation and enforcement; how the financial markets value corporate environmental policies and performance; and government enforcement policy and judicial sentencing of individuals and firms convicted of environmental crimes. He has also written extensively on the “cost of crime.”
Prior to joining the Owen faculty in 1986, Professor Cohen was a senior economist with the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He also served as a staff economist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Prof. Cohen recently returned from three-year leave of absence after serving as Vice President for Research at Resources for the Future (RFF) - an independent, non-partisan research institute focusing on environmental and natural resource economics policy issues. Following the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he led a research team advising the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling on ways to improve government policies and the safety culture of the offshore drilling industry (see www.rff.org/deepwaterdrilling).
Professor Cohen previously served as Chairman of the American Statistical Association's Committee on Law and Justice Statistics. He has also been a member of Tennessee's Environmental Justice Steering Committee. Professor Cohen is a member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a multi-stakeholder Collaborating Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme, dedicated to developing and disseminating globally applicable sustainability reporting guidelines. He has served as a member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board's Illegal Competitive Advantage Economic Benefit Advisory Panel; and the General Accounting Office's Expert Panel on Disclosure of Environmental Information in SEC filings. He is also a Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies (VCEMS).
Professor Cohen recently co-hosted a conference entitled, “Market Responses and the Effectiveness of Energy Policies” held in Washington, DC and a conference honoring the 20th Anniversary of the “Porter Hypothesis; Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Competitiveness.” He recently presented a paper entitled, “Drill Safely Drill - The Role of Compliance Inspections on Oil & Gas Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico,” at the annual conference of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. His 2001 paper with Shameek Konar, “Does the Market Value Environmental Performance?” was recently cited as one of the “75 seminal and most influential articles” in the past 35 years in the field of “Business and the Natural Environment.” In 2005, he was honored by Money Magazine as a “Class Act of 2004” for his work on racial disparity in the auto lending industry.
B.S.F.S., International Economics, Georgetown University, 1978
M.A., Economics, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1983
Ph.D., Economics, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1985
Economics of Organizations;
Corporate Strategies for Environmental and Social Responsibility;
Environmental Issues in Operations;
Environmental Issues in Marketing
Law and economics; government regulation; white-collar and corporate crime; and environmental management and sustainability.
Area(s) of Expertise:
Environmental regulation; criminal justice issues; corporate crime and punishment; street crime; consumer protection and discriminatory lending practices; microeconomics; and public policy analysis.
Recent media mentions include: Interviewed on National Public Radio "Marketplace" and "Morning Edition" on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010); New York Times (2011) on containing future oil spills. Wall Street Journal (2005) and National Public Radio (2005) on socially responsible investing; Washington Post (2004), Los Angeles Times (2004), Houston Chronicle (2004), Philadelphia Inquirer (2005), and New York Times (2005) on racial disparity in auto lending; Chief Executive (2008) on corporate sustainability programs; Tennessee Business (2008) on "greening" of MBA programs; Christian Science Monitor (2009) on costs and benefits of YouthBuild Offender project; Philadelphia Inquirer (2010) on costs and benefits of private prisons.