Lisa Robinson

Senior Research Scientist

Center for Health Decision Science

Lisa A. Robinson’s research and teaching focus 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 to estimate the value of mortality risk reductions (the value per statistical life, VSL) for several government agencies and others organizations. She has explored the implications of behavioral economics and happiness research for benefit-cost analysis, investigated approaches for assessing employment impacts, and addressed issues related to estimating the distribution of costs and benefits across advantaged and disadvantaged groups. She applies these methods in high-, middle-, and low-income settings, including developing guidelines for the conduct of benefit-cost analysis in global health and conducting research related to cost-effectiveness thresholds. Her work also addresses responses to hazard warnings.

Ms. Robinson is the 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. 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.

From the Society for Risk Analysis, Ms. Robinson received the Outstanding Practitioner Award and the Richard J. Burk Outstanding Service Award, and was named a Fellow to recognize her significant achievements. From the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, she received the Richard O. Zerbe Distinguished Service Award and was also named a Fellow, its highest award for substantial contributions to theory and practice. She is 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 serves  on the Editorial Boards of Risk Analysis and the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, which presented her with its Best 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

Academic Profile
Catalyst Profile


M.P.P., Harvard Kennedy School