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Carnegie Mellon Heinz School Policy Management Information Technology
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Jonathan P. Caulkins 

Jonathan P. Caulkins 

Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy
PhD, Operations Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professional Background

Jon Caulkins has been on the Heinz School faculty since 1990, with leaves of absence to be co-director of RAND’s Drug Policy Research Center in Santa Monica (1994-1996), to found RAND’s Pittsburgh Office (1999-2001), and to teach at Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Doha, Qatar (2005-present). At the Heinz School he was director of the Masters of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) program and served as interim Associate Dean for Faculty. He did his undergraduate work in engineering and computer science at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned masters degrees in Systems Science and Mathematics (Washington University, 1987) and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (MIT, 1989) and a Ph.D. in Operations Research (MIT, 1990).

Caulkins serves or has served on the editorial board of Management Science, Operations Research, Mathematical and Computer Modelling, the Journal of Drug Issues, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, and I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, and has refereed for over 50 different journals. He chairs the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Data, Research, and Evaluation Committee and is a scientific advisor for Australia’s Drug Policy Modeling Project, PIRE’s Prevention Research Center, the Allegheny Country Jail Collaborative, and the Partnership for a Drug Free America Social Marketing Advisory Board. Caulkins is currently a trustee of Thiel College and is a past board member of The William J. Copeland Fund, Elmer J. Tropman Nonprofit Management Institute, Forbes Funds, and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. He currently serves on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Reducing Tobacco Use and was formerly a member of the National Research Council Committee on Immunotherapies and New Treatments for Addiction.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently selected Caulkins for one of its prestigious National Health Investigator awards. Caulkins won the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s David R. Kershaw Award for distinguished contributions to the field of public policy and management (1999). The National Science Foundation awarded him both a graduate fellowship and a national young investigator award. Past awards also include Pittsburgh’s Forty Under 40 award and the Heinz School’s Martcia Wade teaching award.


Caulkins’ primary research interest is modeling the effectiveness of interventions related to drugs, crime, violence, delinquency, and prevention. Seeking to understand how policy ought to vary over the course of a drug or other public health epidemic led to a second research area: applications of optimal dynamic control theory to such diverse domains as fashion, counter-terror, and housing policy. Caulkins also does some work on management questions related to software quality and performance evaluation.


Caulkins has taught decision making, mathematical, and spreadsheet modeling to students at the Heinz School (masters students in public policy, healthcare policy, information systems, and network security) and elsewhere (undergraduates in mathematics at the Vienna Technical University, business and computer science students at Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar campus, and PhD students at the RAND Graduate School), as well as executive education for Carnegie Mellon (Decision Making Under Uncertainty) and Harvard (Crime and Drug Policy).

Books and Monographs

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Rosalie Pacula, Susan Paddock, and James Chiesa. 2002. School-Based Drug Prevention: What Kind of Drug Use Does it Prevent? MR-1459-RWJ. RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Jay Cole, Melissa Hardoby, and Donna Keyser. 2002. Intelligent Giving: Insights and Strategies for Higher Education Donors. MR-1427-CAE. RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Gill, Brian P., Jake Dembosky, Caulkins, and Jonathan P. 2002. A “Noble Bet” in Early Childcare and Education: Lessons from One Community’s Experience. MR-1544. RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Karoly, Lynn A., M. Rebecca Kilburn, James H. Bigelow, Jonathan P. Caulkins, and Jill Cannon. 2000. Assessing Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Intervention Programs: Overview and Application to the Starting Early Starting Smart Program. MR-1336-CFP. RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., C. Peter Rydell, Susan S. Everingham, James Chiesa, and Shawn Bushway. 1999. An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty: The Cost-Effectiveness of School-Based Drug Prevention Program MR-923-RWJ, RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., C. Peter Rydell, William L. Schwabe, and James Chiesa. 1997. Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers’ Money? MR-827-DPRC, RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

Articles Published in Refereed Journals (2004 – present)

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Eric Hough, Nancy Mead, and Hassan Osman. Forthcoming. “Using Integer Programming to Optimize Investments in Security Countermeasures: A Practical Tool for Fixed Budgets.” IEEE Security & Privacy.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Gustav Feichtinger, Josef Haunschmied, and Gernot Tragler. Forthcoming. “Quality Cycles and the Strategic Manipulation of Value.” Operations Research.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Erica Layne Morrison, and Timothy Weidemann (forthcoming) Spreadsheet Errors and Decisionmaking: Evidence from Field Interviews. Journal of Organizational and End User Computing.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Richard F. Hartl, Peter Kort, and Gustav Feichtinger (forthcoming) Explaining Fashion Cycles: Imitators Chasing Innovators in Product Space. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Arora, Ashish, Jonathan P. Caulkins, and Rahul Telang. 2006. “Sell First, Patch Later: Impact of Patching on Software Quality.” Management Science. Vol. 52, No. 3, pp.465-471.

Behrens, Doris A., Marion S. Rauner, and Jonathan P. Caulkins (forthcoming). Modeling the Spread of Hepatitis C via Commerical Tattoo Parlors: Implications for Public Health Interventions. OR Spectrum.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Dieter Grass, Gustav Feichtinger, and Gernot Tragler. Forthcoming. “Optimizing Counter-Terror Operations: Should One Fight Fire with ‘Fire’ or ‘Water’?” Computers and Operations Research.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Alessandra Gragnani, Gustav Feichtinger, and Gernot Tragler (2006) High and Low Frequency Oscillations in Drug Epidemics. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos. 16(11).

Caulkins, Jonathan P. and Sara Chandler (2006) Long-Run Trends in Incarceration of Drug Offenders in the US. Crime and Delinquency. Vol 52, No. 4.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. Forthcoming. Price and Purity Analysis for Illicit Drugs: Data and Conceptual Issues. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Moore, Timothy J. and Jonathan P. Caulkins (2006) “How Cost-Of-Illness Studies Can Be Made More Useful For Illicit Drug Policy Analysis.” Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp.75-85.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Peter Reuter, and Lowell Taylor (2006) Can Supply Restrictions Lower Price? Violence, Drug Dealing, and Positional Advantage. Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy. 5(1), Article 3.

Kort, Peter M., Jonathan P. Caulkins, Richard F. Hartl, and Gustav Feichtinger. Forthcoming. “Brand Integrity and Brand Dilution in the Fashion Industry.” Automatica. Vol. 42, pp.1363-1370.

Behrens, Doris A., Jonathan P. Caulkins, Gustav Feichtinger, and Gernot Tragler. Forthcoming. “Incentive Stackelberg Strategies for a Dynamic Game on Terrorism.” Annals of Dynamic Games.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. and Rosalie Pacula. 2006. “Marijuana Markets: Inferences from Reports by the Household Population.” Journal of Drug Issues. Vol. 36, No. 1, pp.173-200.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Wenxuan Ding, George Duncan, Ramayya Krishnan, Eric Nyberg. Forthcoming. A Method for Managing Access to Web Pages: Filtering by Statistical Classification (FSC) Applied to Text. Decision Support Systems.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. and Peter Reuter. 2006. “Illicit Drug Markets and Economic Irregularities.” Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. 40:1-14. DOI information: 10.1016/j.seps.2004.08.002.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Gustav Feichtinger, Caius Gavrila, Alfred Greiner, Josef L. Haunschmied, and Gernot Tragler. 2006. “How Much to Spend on Drug Substitute Programs? A Dynamic Cost-Benefit Analysis.” JOTA. 128(2).

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Gustav Feichtinger, Dieter Grass, Michael Johnson, Gernot Tragler, Yuri Yegorov. 2005. “Placing the Poor While Keeping the Rich in Their Place: Separating Strategies for Optimally Managing Residential Mobility and Assimilation.” Demographic Research. Vol. 13, Article. 1, pp.1-34.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. and Eric Sevigny. 2005. “How Many People Does the US Incarcerate for Drug Use, and Who Are They? Contemporary Drug Problems. 32(3):405-428.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Gustav Feichtinger, Dieter Grass, and Gernot Tragler. 2005. “A Model of Moderation: Finding Skiba Points on a Slippery Slope.” CEJOR. Vol. 13, Issue No. 1, pp.45-64.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Gustav Feichtinger, Michael Johnson, Gernot Tragler, Yuri Yegorov. 2005. “Skiba Thresholds in a Model of Controlled Migration.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations, Vol. 57, pp.490-508. DOI information: 10.1016/j.jebo.2005.04.008.

Gavrila, Caius, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Gustav Feichtinger, Gernot Tragler, and Richard F. Hartl. 2005. “Managing the Reputation of an Award to Motivate Performance.” Mathematical Methods of Operations Research. Vol. 61, pp.1-22.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Doris A. Behrens, Claudia Knoll. Gernot Tragler, and Doris Zuba. 2004. “Modeling Dynamic Trajectories of Initiation and Demand: The Case of the US Cocaine Epidemic.” Health Care Management Science. Vol. 7, No. 4, 319-329.

Sevigny, Eric and Jonathan P. Caulkins. 2004. “Kingpins or Mules? An Analysis of Drug Offenders Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons.” Criminology and Public Policy, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp.401-434.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. 2004. “What Makes Software Special – And Especially Faulty.” International Joural of Information Technology Education. Vol 1, No. 1, pp.115-128.

Reuter, Peter and Jonathan P. Caulkins. 2004. “Illegal Lemons: Price Dispersion in Cocaine and Heroin Markets.” Bulletin on Narcotics. Vol. LVI, No. 1-2, pp.141-165.

Behrens, Doris A., Jonathan P. Caulkins, and Gustav Feichtinger. 2004. “A Model of Chaotic Drug Markets and Their Control,” Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., Rosalie Pacula, Susan Paddock, and James Chiesa. 2004. “What We Can – And Can’t– Expect from School-Based Drug Prevention.” Drug and Alcohol Review, Vol. 23(1), pp.79-87.

Almeder, Christian, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Gustav Feichtinger, and Gernot Tragler. 2004. “An Age-Structured Single-State Initiaton Model – Cycles of Drug Epidemics and Optimal Prevention Programs.” Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp.91-109.

Winkler, Doris, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Doris Behrens, and Gernot Tragler. 2004. “Estimating the Relative Efficiency of Various Forms of Prevention at Different Stages of a Drug Epidemic.” Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp.43-56.

Chapters in Edited Volumes Published (2004 – present)

Caulkins, Jonathan P. Forthcoming. OR and the Drug War: Tales from the Trenches. MIT ORC 50th Anniversary Symposium, Ingrid Larson (ed.). INFORMS Press.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. 2005. “Models Pertaining to How Drug Policy Should Vary Over the Course of an Epidemic Cycle.” In Bjorn Lindgren and Michael Grossman (eds.) Substance Use: Individual Behavior, Social Interactions, Markets, and Politics, Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, Volume 16. Elsevier, pp.407-439.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. 2005. “Investing for Cost-Effectiveness in the Face of Uncertainty: Applying Financial Portfolio Optimization to Prevention Programming.” In Tim Stockwell, Paul Gruenewald, John Toumbourou, and Wendy Loxley (eds.) Preventing Harmful Substance Abuse: The Evidence Base for Polcy and Practice. Wiley, pp.401-413.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. and Robert MacCoun. 2005. “Analyzing Illicit Drug Markets When Dealers Act with Limited Rationality.” In Francesco Parisi and Vernon L. Smith (eds.) The Law and Economics of Irrational Behavior, Standard University Press, Stanford, CA, pp.315-338.

Caulkins, Jonathan P. 2004. “Drug Policy: Insights from Mathematical Analysis.” In Brandeau, M.L., Sainfort, F., and Pierskalla W.P. (eds.) Operations Research and Healthcare: A Handbook of Methods and Applications, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, pp.297-332.