Philip J. Cook

ITT/Sanford Professor Emeritus of Public Policy, Economics, and Sociology, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Economic Security
  • Inequality & the Middle Class
  • Education
  • School Reform
  • Social Issues
  • Criminal Justice
  • Gun Policy

Connect with Philip

About Philip

Cook is an economist who has long-standing research programs in violence prevention (with a particular focus on firearms); criminal justice policy and crime prevention; alcohol control policy (including taxation); evaluation methods; and various aspects of education policy. He has served as an advisor to the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and to the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Department of Treasury. He has also served on a number of expert panels of the National Academy of Sciences, dealing with alcohol-abuse prevention, injury control, violence, school rampage shootings, underage drinking, the prospects for a ballistics reference data base, and the deterrent effect of the death sentence.


How to Break America's Logjam on Guns and Gun Violence

  • Kristin Goss

How Best to Encourage Organ Donation

  • Kimberly D. Krawiec

Why Stand Your Ground Laws are Dangerous



The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Kristin Goss) (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Probes the causes and consequences of gun violence and traces the history of clashing social movements pushing for gun rights and the enactment of legal gun controls.
"Gun Control," (with Anthony A. Braga and Mark H. Moore), Social Science Research Network, November 30, 2000.
Provides a foundation for understanding the "Great American Gun War," and for considering the next steps that could be taken in the search for an effective gun-control policy.
Selling Hope (with Charles Clotfelter) (Harvard University Press, 1991).
Provides a comprehensive description and analysis of state lotteries in America.
The Winner-Take-All Society (with Robert H. Frank) (The Free Press, 1995).
Develops an explanation for the growing inequality of income in terms of changing technology and institutional arrangements.
Gun Violence: The Real Costs (with Jens Ludwig) (Oxford University Press, 2000).
Discusses and analyzes the burden that gun violence imposes on society.
Paying the Tab (Princeton University Press, 2007).
Takes a comprehensive look at alcohol control policy in the United States, including the history, current practice, and evaluation of the alternative approaches.
Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs (with Jens Ludwig and Justin McCrary) (University of Chicago Press, 2011).
Evaluates the potential effects on crime of a variety of criminal justice reforms, social policies, and private action.

In the News

Philip J. Cook quoted in Sam Kim, "A Look at Past and Proposed Gun Legislation Efforts in North Carolina" The Chronicle, March 13, 2018.
Philip J. Cook quoted in Jonathan Edwards, "Norfolk Police Seized More Guns Last Year than They Have in Almost a Decade" The Virginian-Pilot, February 27, 2018.
Philip J. Cook quoted in Allison Graves, Louis Jacobson, "Bernie Sanders Repeats False Claim about Gun Sales without Background Checks" PolitiFact Florida, February 20, 2018.
"Why Ban Payment to Kidney Donors, but Not Football Players?," Philip J. Cook (with Kimberly D. Krawiec), Herald-Sun, February 2, 2018.
Philip J. Cook quoted in Danielle Kurtzleben, "Is Chicago Proof that Gun Laws Don't Work?" National Public Radio, October 5, 2017.
Guest to discuss gun violence data on Science Magazine Podcast, Philip J. Cook, December 8, 2017.
Philip J. Cook's research on the underground gun market discussed in Claire BallentinePhilip J. Cook, "Duke Research Tackles Underground Gun Market, Curbing Murder Rate," The Chronicle, November 19, 2017.
Philip J. Cook's research on the fatality of gunshot wounds discussed in Karen KempPhilip J. Cook, "Study Debunks Claim of Greatly Improved Survival Rate for Gunshot Victims," Duke Today, June 22, 2017.
Guest to discuss rise in homicides on Zeroing In, Philip J. Cook, October 27, 2016.
Philip J. Cook quoted on Obama's executive action to help curb gun violence in Neelesh Moorthy, "Duke Researchers Skeptical about Gun Control Changes" Duke Chronicle, January 14, 2016.
Philip J. Cook quoted on gun sales at gun shows in Josh Lederman, "Obama Moves to Require Background Checks for More Gun Sales" ABC News, January 4, 2016.
"How Dangerous People Get Their Guns," Philip J. Cook, The Conversation, January 5, 2016.
Philip J. Cook quoted on gun control laws in Sabrina Tavernise, "In Missouri, Fewer Gun Restrictions and More Gun Killings" New York Times, December 21, 2015.
Philip J. Cook quoted on how prisoners obtained guns before incarceration in Erik Eckholm, "Rampage Killings Linger in Memory, but Toll of Gun Violence is Constant" New York Times, October 8, 2015.
"‘I Got Nobody’: Scholars of Gun Violence Describe Their Lonely Battles," Philip J. Cook, Interview with Eric Kelderman , Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2015.
Philip J. Cook quoted on civilian firearm total in Christopher Ingraham, "There are Now More Guns than People in the United States" The Washington Post, October 5, 2015.
Philip J. Cook quoted on alcohol taxation in Christopher Ingraham, "Our Booze is Too Cheap and It’s Literally Killing Us" The Washington Post, April 2, 2015.
Philip J. Cook's research on a causal link between dropout and crime discussed in "Duke Study Links Later school Start to Trouble," Herald Sun, March 19, 2015.
"The Best Way to Respect Guns," Philip J. Cook (with Kristin Goss), CNN, January 23, 2015.
Philip J. Cook quoted on smart guns in Avalon Zoppo, "Duke Professor Supports ‘Smart Guns’" The Daily Targum, November 13, 2014.
Philip J. Cook's research on the gun control debate (with Kristin Goss) discussed in Jerry LargePhilip J. Cook, "Research Aids the Discussion over Guns," The Seattle Times, October 29, 2014.
Guest to discuss alcohol consumption in the U.S. on All In with Chris Hayes, Philip J. Cook, September 30, 2014.
"Why Law Enforcement was Powerless to Step Elliot Rodger from Buying Guns," Philip J. Cook, Interview with Harold Pollack, The Washington Post, May 29, 2014.
"In School Rampages, the Weapon Matters," Philip J. Cook (with Kristin Goss), CNN, April 11, 2014.
Philip J. Cook's research on alcohol taxes and their effect on public health and safety discussed in Dylan MatthewsPhilip J. Cook, "The Deadly Consequences of a Cut in the Beer Tax," The Washington Post, May 10, 2013.
"The "40 Percent" Myth?," Philip J. Cook (with Jens Ludwig), National Review, February 28, 2013.
Philip J. Cook's research on how gun violence affects society discussed in The APPhilip J. Cook, "Newtown Residents Rally For and Against Gun Law Reform," PressTV, March 29, 2013.
Philip J. Cook's research on how citizens report their gun ownership to pollsters discussed in Carl BialikPhilip J. Cook, "Guns Present Polling Conundrum," Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2013.
Philip J. Cook's research on the "external cost" of gun ownership (with Jens Ludwig) discussed in Brad PlummerPhilip J. Cook, "The Economics of Gun Control," The Washington Post, December 28, 2012.
Philip J. Cook's research on the future of gun control discussed in Ned BarnettPhilip J. Cook, "After Newtown, Many Turn to Duke Expert on Gun Violence," Raleigh News & Observer, December 29, 2012.
Philip J. Cook's research on the effects (or lack thereof) of state control of alcohol distibution discussed in Dawn HousePhilip J. Cook, "Privatization, Prices Debated at Utah Alcohol Summit," The Salt Lake Tribune, September 6, 2012.
"Five Myths about Gun Control," Philip J. Cook (with Jens Ludwig), The Washington Post, June 13, 2010.
"How to Cut Gun Death Toll," Philip J. Cook (with Jens Ludwig), CNN, January 12, 2011.
"The Economist's Guide to Crime Busting," Philip J. Cook (with Jens Ludwig), The Wilson Quarterly, November 15, 2011.
"More Prisoners vs. More Crime is the Wrong Question," Philip J. Cook (with Jens Ludwig), Brookings Policy Brief no. 185, December 1, 2011.