Lisa Robinson

Senior Research Scientist

Center for Health Decision Science


Lisa A. Robinson’s research focuses on the conduct of benefit-cost analysis, particularly for policies with outcomes that cannot be fully valued using market measures. She has led numerous assessments of the costs, benefits, and other impacts of environmental, health, and safety policies and regulations, developed related methods, and drafted guidance documents. She co-edited the National Academies book, Valuing Health for Regulatory Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, led the creation of guidelines for benefit-cost analysis for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and developed approaches for government agencies and others to estimate the value of mortality risk reductions (the value per statistical life, VSL). She has also explored the implications of behavioral economics and happiness research for benefit-cost analysis as well as approaches for assessing employment and distributional impacts. Recently, she has been working on the application of these methods to global health, including guidelines for the conduct of benefit-cost analysis and research related to cost-effectiveness thresholds, as well as on issues related to responses to various types of hazard warnings.

Ms. Robinson is currently Deputy Director of the Center for Health Decision Science and affiliated with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. She was previously a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government as well as an Affiliate Fellow of its Regulatory Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she developed and taught a new course in benefit-cost analysis. She was a Principal at Industrial Economics, Incorporated, the Director of Policy, Planning, and Budget for the federal Institute of Museum Services, and an analyst at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. She is also a past President of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis and served as a Councilor of the Society for Risk Analysis as well as Chair of its Economics and Benefits Analysis Specialty Group. She received the Richard J. Burk Outstanding Service Award from the Society for Risk Analysis and the Richard O. Zerbe Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, and is a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis. She is also on the Editorial Boards of Risk Analysis and the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, which presented her with its Outstanding Symposium award. Ms. Robinson received her Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Related Links

Center for Health Decision Science
Center for Risk Analysis
Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis


M.P.P., Harvard Kennedy School