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Jonathan B. Wiener

William R. Perkins Distinguished Professor of Law
School of Law
Duke Law School Room 3192, Duke Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708
Duke Law School 210 Science Dr, Duke Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708


Jonathan B. Wiener is the William R. Perkins Professor of Law at Duke Law School, Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, at Duke University.  He is the Co-Director of the Duke Center on Risk in the Science & Society Initiative. 

He served as President of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) in 2008, and he co-chaired the SRA's World Congress on Risk in Sydney Australia in 2012.  In 2003 he received SRA’s Chauncey Starr Young Risk Analyst Award, and in 2014 he received SRA’s Richard J. Burk Outstanding Service Award.  From 2015-19 he co-directed the Rethinking Regulation program at Duke, and from 2007-15 he directed the JD-LLM Program in International and Comparative Law at Duke Law School.  From 2000-05 he was the founding Faculty Director of the Duke Center for Environmental Solutions, which was then expanded into the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, for which he served as chair of the faculty advisory committee from 2007-10.

He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future (RFF); a Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS); a past board member of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis (SBCA); and an affiliated faculty member of the environment program at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) and of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA).  He is a member of advisory committees at the NYU Institute for Policy Integrity, the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), the Chaire Economie du Climat (CEC), and the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER).  He has been a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (Working Group III) (2014), and the study team on “Environmental Risk Management” for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) (2015). 

His publications include the books Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents, and Financial Crises (Cambridge University Press, 2017 [paperback 2020], with Ed Balleisen, Lori Bennear, and Kim Krawiec); The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe (RFF/Routledge, 2011, with Michael Rogers, Jim Hammitt, and Peter Sand), Reconstructing Climate Policy (AEI Press 2003, with Richard Stewart) and Risk vs. Risk (Harvard University Press 1995, with John Graham [Chinese translation, 2018]), and more than 100 articles in journals in law, policy, economics, risk and science.  He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, NYU Law School, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Université Paris-Dauphine, Sciences Po, and EHESS and CIRED in Paris.

Before coming to Duke, he served at the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and at the US Department of Justice (DOJ/ENRD), in the first Bush and Clinton administrations. He helped negotiate the Framework Convention on Climate Change, attended the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and helped draft Executive Order 12866 (1993).  He also helped organize the Americorps National Service program in 1993, the annual City Year servathon in Boston in 1989, and the D.C. Cares servathon in Washington D.C. in 1991; served on the North Carolina State Commission on National and Community Service from 1994-98; and founded the "Dedicated to Durham" community service day held at Duke Law School since 1995.

He clerked for Judge (now U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston in 1988-89, and for Chief Judge Jack B. Weinstein on the U.S. District Court in New York in 1987-88. He received his A.B. in economics (1984) and J.D. (1987) from Harvard University, where he was a research assistant at the NBER, assistant coach of the 1985 college debate champions, and an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

William R. Perkins Distinguished Professor of Law · 2023 - Present School of Law
Professor of Law · 1999 - Present School of Law
Co-Director of the Center on Risk in the Duke Initiative for Science & Society · 2018 - Present Duke Science & Society, Initiatives
Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy · 2011 - Present Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy · 2012 - Present Nicholas School of the Environment
Professor at Duke Kunshan University · 2023 - Present DKU Faculty
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society · 2015 - Present Duke Science & Society, Initiatives

Education, Training & Certifications

Harvard University · 1987 J.D.