James Hammitt

Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences
Health Policy and Management
Harvard School of Public Health
(617) 432-4343
Home page:
PubMed Publications

James K. Hammitt, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and of Environmental Health and Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Professor Hammitt's research focuses on the development and application of quantitative methods - including benefit-cost, decision, and risk analysis - to health and environmental policy. Topics include management of long-term environmental issues with major scientific uncertainties, such as global climate change and stratospheric-ozone depletion, evaluation of ancillary benefits and countervailing risks associated with risk-control measures, and characterization of social preferences over health and environmental risks using revealed-preference, contingent-valuation, and health-utility methods. Dr. Hammitt earned his A.B. and Sc.M. in Applied Mathematics in 1978, his M.P.P., in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Public Policy in 1988, all from Harvard University. He has been appointed Senior Mathematician at the RAND Corporation (Santa Monica, California) and to the Pierre-de-Fermat Chaire d’Éxcellence at the Toulouse School of Economics (France).

James Hammitt
An advanced course that introduces the standard model of decision-making under uncertainty and its conceptual foundations, as well as challenges, alternatives, and methodological issues arising from the application of these techniques to health issues. [Not offered in 2011-2012]

Benefits and Risks of Dietary Fish Consumption

Developing models to clarify tradeoffs among risks

Discount rates for the long run

Reviewing key issues relating to the discount rate

Methods for Research-Synthesis: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach Conference

A focus on alternative methods for synthesizing information when forecasting the effects of a policy

Preferences for Mortality Risk Reduction Over the Lifecycle

Investigating individuals' preferences for alternative interventions yielding the same increase in life expectancy

Risk, Perception, and Response Conference

Increasing our understanding of the situations in which people are likely to react poorly to evidence of risk

Using Social-Welfare Functions to Evaluate Policies that Reduce Mortality Risk

Investigating alternative approaches to valuing risk reductions

Valuing Reductions in Morbidity Risk: WTP and QALYs

Investigating the relationship between WTP and QALYs and the differences in their theoretical foundations