Phillip Cook

Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Sociology, Duke University

Areas of Expertise

  • Alcohol and violence
  • Economics of crime
  • Cost of gun availability
  • Consequences of gun availability

Key Findings

  • Researchers have concluded that both weapon lethality and availability have an influence on rates of gun violence and homicides. MORE
  • Thefts make up only about 1% of all gun transactions nationwide. MORE
  • Surveys of convicted criminals, both nationally and in Chicago, suggest that it is rare for respondents to have stolen the gun used in their most recent crime. MORE
  • The fatality rate for firearm assault injuries remained stable from 2003 to 2012, contradicting other widely reported findings of a decline in the fatality rate for firearm assaults. MORE


Philip Cook, Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Sociology at Duke University, is an expert in the economics of crime, the prevention of alcohol-related problems and the cost and consequences of gun availability.

Cook is the co-director of the NBER Work Group on the Economics of Crime and has consulted with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the National Academy of Sciences. He served as the director and chair of Duke’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy, 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.

He has been published in numerous academic journals and is the author of Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, Gun Violence: The Real Costs and The Gun Debate.

Cook received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and B.A. from the University of Michigan.