About Carolyn Kousky

Carolyn Kousky

Associate Vice President, Economics and Policy Analysis


Areas of expertise:

Climate risk management, disaster insurance, household and community resilience, climate adaptation, disaster policy, environmental economics


Carolyn Kousky is the Associate Vice President for Economics and Policy at Environmental Defense Fund. Dr. Kousky’s research examines multiple aspects of climate risk management and policy approaches for increasing resilience. She has published numerous articles, reports, and book chapters on the economics and policy of climate risk and disaster finance. She is a co-editor of A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation and author of Understanding Disaster Insurance: New Tools for a More Resilient Future.

Dr. Kousky has worked with many communities on resilience strategies and developing inclusive models for insurance and disaster recovery. She is the vice-chair of the California Climate Insurance Working Group, a university fellow at Resources for the Future, a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute, and a member of the Roundtable on Risk and Resilience of Extreme Events at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Kousky is currently an author for the economics chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment.

For more information about Dr. Kousky’s work, please visit her personal webpage.


Before coming to EDF, Dr. Kousky was the Executive Director at the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she founded and directed the Policy Incubator. The Policy Incubator worked to connect research to policy innovation, supporting novel approaches to increasing resilience through the development of visionary ideas and the advancement of workable on-the-ground solutions. While at Wharton, she taught Risk Analysis and Environmental Management. Prior to her time at the University of Pennsylvania, she was a fellow at Resources for the Future.

She has a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University and Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University.


Gourevitch, J., C. Kousky, Y. Liao, C. Nolte, A. B. Pollack, J. R. Porter, and J. A. Weill (2023). “Unpriced climate risk and the potential consequences of over-valuation in US housing markets.” Nature Climate Change.

Kousky, C. et al. (2023). Harnessing Risk Transfer to Support Immediate Post-Disaster Needs of Low- and Moderate Income Households: A meso-insurance Pilot in NYC – Implementation Lessons for Community Organizations. Environmental Defense Fund: November.

Kousky, C. and K. French (2023). Inclusive Insurance for Climate-Related Disasters: A Roadmap for the United States. Boston, Ceres: January.

You X., C. Kousky, H. Wiley, J. Skees (2022). “Linking Inclusive Finance with Inclusive Insurance in the United States Through Community Development Financial Institutions.”

Kousky, C. (2022). “Insurance-sector Tools to Combat Biodiversity Loss.” Science 377(6607): 714-716.

Gilmore, E. A., C. Kousky, and T. St. Clair (2022). “Climate Change Will Increase Local Government Fiscal Stress in the US.Nature Climate Change 12: 216-218.

Wing, O. E. J., W. Lehman, P. D. Bates, C. C. Sampson, N. Quinn, A. M. Smith, J. C. Neal, J. R. Porter, and C. Kousky (2022). “Inequitable Patterns of US Flood Risk in the Anthropocene.” Nature Climate Change 12: 156-162.

Liao, Y. and C. Kousky (2022). “The Fiscal Impacts of Wildfires on California Municipalities.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Bradt, J., C. Kousky, and O. Wing (2021). “Voluntary Purchases and Adverse Selection in the Market for Flood Insurance.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 110 (October): 102515.

Kousky, C., L. Shabman, and H. Wiley (2021). “Can Parametric Microinsurance Improve the Financial Resilience of Low-Income Households in the United States?Economics of Disasters and Climate Change.

Netusil, N. R., C. Kousky, S. Neupane, W. Daniel, and H. Kunreuther (2021). “The Willingness to Pay for Flood Insurance.” Land Economics.

Kousky, C., M. Palim & Y. Pan (2020). Flood Damage and Mortgage Credit Risk: A Case Study of Hurricane Harvey. Journal of Housing Research 29.

Wiley, H. J. P. and C. Kousky (2020). “Speeding Up Post-Disaster Housing Buyouts.” Solutions 11(3).

Kousky, C. and S. Light (2019). “Insuring Nature.” Duke Law Journal 69: 323-376.

Kousky, C., L. Ritchie, K. Tierney, and B. Lingle (2019). “Return on Investment Analysis and its Applicability to Community Disaster Preparedness Activities: Calculating Costs and Returns.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 41.

Kousky, C. (2019). “The Role of Natural Disaster Insurance in Recovery and Risk Reduction.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 11(3).

Kousky, C. (2018). “Financing Flood Losses: A Discussion of the National Flood Insurance Program.” Risk Management and Insurance Review. 21(1): 11-32.

Kousky, C. and H. Kunreuther (2018). “Risk Management Roles of the Public and Private Sector.” Risk Management and Insurance Review. 21(1): 181-204.


These are selected publications. For a full list of her written work, please see her CV.