Jonathan P. Caulkins Ph.D.

H. Guyford Stever Chair Professor
H. John Heinz III College
Carnegie Mellon University
Email: Discipline: Operations Research, Public Policy Expertise: Drug Policy

Investigator Award
Synthesizing Lessons for Drug Policy and Policy Research
Award Year: 2005 America's drug problem is more severe than that of any other developed country, whether measured by number of addicts, overdose deaths, drug-related HIV-infections, or drug-related violence. That's why it's critical for America's drug control strategies to be firmly rooted in objective evidence of what works and what doesn't work, and, also, when certain policies are appropriate and when they are not. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Jonathan P. Caulkins, Ph.D. brings in evidence and analytical methods from several academic disciplines to understand why it's so difficult to eradicate the scourge of illegal drugs, and why so many efforts to combat drug use have a negligible impact. His project, Synthesizing Lessons for Drug Policy and Policy Research, seeks to inform the increasingly polarized debate on fighting drug abuse with a fresh approach that offers practical steps for confronting the problem. He is particularly interested in the fact that drug policies tend to be static while they need to be dynamic, designed from the onset to evolve in response to changes in the nature of the threat.


Jonathan P. Caulkins is the H. Guyford Stever Chair Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in Pittsburgh and teaches at its Qatar campus in Doha. Dr. Caulkins specializes in mathematical modeling and systems analysis of social policy problems with a particular focus on issues pertaining to drugs, crime, violence, and prevention - work that won the David Kershaw Award from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management. A particular interest of late is melding methods of biomathematics, economics, and policy analysis to understand how drug control policy should evolve over the course of a drug "epidemic". Other interests include optimal control theory, software quality, airline operations, and personnel performance evaluation. At RAND he has been a visiting scientist, co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center (1994-6), and founding director of RAND's Pittsburgh office (1999-2001). Dr. Caulkins received a B.S., and M.S. in Systems Science from Washington University, an S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Ph.D., in Operations Research both from M.I.T.