John Graham (policy analyst)

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John D. Graham
Dean John D. Graham of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Born 1956
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Residence Bloomington, Indiana
Education Wake Forest University
MPP from Duke University
PhD from Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation Professor, dean
Employer Indiana University
Known for Age-discounting controversy[1]
Spouse(s) Susan W. Graham

John D. Graham, Ph.D., is a former senior official in the George W. Bush administration and is dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).

Early life and education[edit]

John D. Graham was born in 1956 as the son of an accomplished steel industry executive,[2] and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in politics and economics at Wake Forest University in 1978, where he also won national awards as an intercollegiate debater. He earned his Master of Arts in public policy at Duke University in 1980 before serving as staff associate to Chairman Howard Raiffa’s Committee on Risk and Decision Making of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences , (Washington, D.C.). He earned his Ph.D. in public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and his doctoral dissertation on automobile safety, written at the Brookings Institution, was cited in pro-airbag decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983 and by Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole in 1985.[3]

Graham joined the Harvard School of Public Health as a post-doctoral fellow in 1983 and as an assistant professor in 1985. He taught methods of decision analysis and cost-benefit analysis to physicians, nurses, and other graduate students in public health. His prolific writings addressed both the analytic and institutional aspects of lifesaving policies. In 1991, at age 34, Graham earned tenure at Harvard.


From 1990 to 2001, Graham founded and led the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA).[4] By raising over $10 million in project grants and philanthropic contributions, Graham helped support eight new faculty positions and dozens of post-doctoral and doctoral students. By 2001, HCRA became internationally recognized for analytic contributions to environmental protection, injury prevention, and medical technology innovation.

In 1995, Graham was elected president of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), an international membership organization of 2,400 scientists and engineers. Graham reached out to risk analysts in Europe, China, Japan, and Australia as he helped organize the first World Congress on Risk Analysis in Brussels in 2000. In 2009, Graham received the SRA’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, the society’s highest award for excellence.

In 2013, Graham returned to Brussels, Belgium, to testify before the European Parliament Committee on International Trade about barriers to free trade.[5] He has delivered invited testimony to numerous House and Senate Committees, state and federal agencies, and the European Commission and Parliament.

Graham is widely known to the public and to opinion leaders through his entertaining speeches about why Americans are both paranoid and neglectful of risks in their daily lives. In both formal and informal formats, he speaks frequently to groups of reporters, students, business leaders, and government officials. He has made several prime-time television appearances, including a Good Morning America interview on the safety of automobile airbags and a significant contribution to John Stossel’s prime-time ABC special, Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?

In March 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Graham to serve as administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget.[6] He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2001. Located in the Executive Office of the President, this office of 50 career policy analysts oversees the regulatory, information, and statistical activities of the federal government. In this capacity, Graham worked to slash the growth of regulatory costs by 70 percent while encouraging regulations that save lives, prevent disease, and protect the environment.

From March 2006 to July 2008, Graham was dean of the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School(PRGS) at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California.[7] PRGS is the largest doctoral program in policy analysis in the world. Graham streamlined the core curriculum, established new analytic concentrations, revised program requirements to enable students to launch their dissertations more promptly, and raised funds from individuals and corporations to support scholarships, dissertation support, and policy papers co-authored by students and RAND researchers.

On July 28, 2008, Graham became the dean of the unique two-campus, $50 million professional school, the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Located in Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana, SPEA is one of the largest public affairs schools in the nation. During Graham’s tenure, the School’s enrollment has grown to more than 2,000 undergraduate students, 500 plus master’s students, and 80 doctoral students. The 85 full-time faculty members, which include laboratory scientists, social scientists, lawyers, and policy specialists, have almost doubled the number of research articles they produce annually since 2008.

Additionally, under Graham’s deanship, SPEA’s Master’s in Public Affairs Program on the Bloomington campus rose to No. 2 out of 266 programs[8] in the 2012 U.S. News and World Report national survey. He has raised $15 million in philanthropic support for the School and, with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors, implemented a strategic planning process to guide the School, resulting in the publication of SPEA 2015. During his tenure, student enrollment in overseas study programs has tripled and the first fully online MPA program offered by a top graduate school in public affairs, SPEA Connect, was launched.


  • Director, NSF International, Ann Arbor, MI (2013 to present)[9]
  • Faculty Advisor to IU Ballroom Dance Club (2011 to present)
  • Member, International Advisory Board of Germany’s Helmholtz-Programme “Technology, Innovation and Society” (2010 to present)
  • Chairperson, Regulatory Occupations Evaluation Committee (ROEC), State of Indiana (2010 to present)
  • Member, The B. John Garrick Foundation for the Advancement of the Risk Sciences, Advisory Board (2010 to present)
  • Member, Dow AgroSciences Advisory Committee (2010 to present)
  • Faculty Advisor to IU Debate Team (2009 to present)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Risk Analysis: An International Journal (1989-2001, 2008 to present)
  • Member, Committee on Preparing the Next Generation of Policy Makers for Science-Based Decisions, National Research Council/National Academy of Science (March 2014-June 30, 2015)
  • Expert Witness, Boies, Schiller, Flexner, Table Saw Safety (2009-2013)
  • Member, Administrative Conference of the United States (2011 to 2012)
  • Member, American Chemistry Society (2008 to present)
  • Member, Board of Scholars, American Council for Capital Formation (1995-2000 and 2007 to present)
  • Member, Scientific and Technology Council, International Risk Governance Council, Lausanne, Switzerland (2008 to present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, International Risk Governance Council, Geneva, Switzerland (2006–2008)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis (2001–present)
  • Member, Committee on the Status and Future of Federal e-Rulemaking (2008)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Panel, Green Chemistry Initiative, State of California (2007–2008)
  • Member, Public Health Policy Advisory Board (1997-2001)
  • Member, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (1997-2001)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Risk: Health, Safety and Environment (1990-2001)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Risk Research (1990-2001)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Injury Control and Safety Promotion (1999)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Accident Analysis and Prevention: An International Journal (1990-1999)
  • Elected President, Society for Risk Analysis (1995-1996)
  • Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Risk Analysis, Advisory Body to the President of the National Academy of Sciences (1994)
  • Member, Board of Visitors, Wake Forest University (1991-1994)
  • Member, Committee to Review the Structure and Performance of the Health Effects Institute, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council (1992 -1993)
  • Member, Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. (1990-1993)
  • Member, Highway Safety Study, Strategic Transportation Research Committee, Transportation Research Board, (1989-1991)
  • Member, Committee to Identify Measures that May Improve the Safety of School Bus Transportation, Transportation Research Board, (1987-1988)


  • Elected Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration (2009)[10]
  • Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, Society for Risk Analysis (2008)
  • Co-recipient (with Ryan Keefe and Jay Griffin) of the annual Best Paper Award in Risk Analysis (2008), vol. 28
  • Alumni Merit Award, Carnegie Mellon University (2002)
  • Annual Public Service Award for Achievements in Risk Communication to the American People, Annapolis Center, Annapolis, Maryland (1998)
  • Award for Outstanding Service in Helping to Develop and Support the National Agenda for Injury Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (April 25, 1991)
  • Outstanding Oral Presentation, "The Case for Motor Vehicle Injury Control,” Society for Automotive Engineers, Industry Government Meetings (May 16, 1991)
  • Co-recipient (with Steven Garber) of the annual Herbert Salzman Award for the "Outstanding Paper" in Volume 3 of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (1984)


Graham has written widely on government reform, energy and the environment, and the future of the automobile in both developed and developing countries. Throughout his tenure in academia, he has authored or co-authored 10 books and more than 200 articles for academic journals and national publications.

Selected Publications[edit]

  • Eberhard Bohne, John D. Graham, Jos C.N. Raadschelders in collaboration with Jesse Paul Lehrke, Public Administration and the Modern State: Assessing Trends and Impact, Palgrave Macmillan, In Press.
  • Kristin Seefeldt and John D. Graham, America’s Poor and the Great Recession, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN (2013) [11]
  • Wendling, Zachary A., Attari, Shahzeen Z., Carley, Sanya R., Krause, Rachel M., Warren, David C., Rupp, John A., Graham, John D., "On the Importance of Strengthening Moderate Beliefs in Climate Science to Foster Support for Immediate Action.” Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 12, December 2013, 5153-5170
  • Krause, Rachel M., Carley, Sanya R., Lane, Bradley W., Graham, John D., “Perception and Reality: Public Knowledge of Plug-in Electric Vehicles in 21 U.S. Cities” Energy Policy, Volume 63, December 2013, 433-440
  • Krause, Rachel M., Carley, Sanya, Warren, David C., Rupp, John A., Graham, John D., “Not In (or Under) My Backyard: Geographic Proximity and Public Acceptance of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Facilities.” Risk Analysis, 2013, DOI: 10.1111/risa.12119
  • Abelkop, Adam D.K., Graham, John D., Principles and Tools of Chemical Regulation: A Comment on ‘the Substitution Principle in Chemical Regulation: A Constructive Critique’ Journal of Risk Research, 2013, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2013.841742
  • Lane, Bradley W., Carley, Sanya, Krause, Rachel, Graham, John D., “Government Promotion of the Electric Car: Risk Management or Industrial Policy?” European Journal of Risk Regulation, Issue 2, 2013, 224-241
  • Carley, Sanya, Krause, Rachel M., Lane, Bradley W., Graham, John D., “Intent to Purchase A Plug-in Electric Vehicle: A Survey of Early Impressions in Large U.S. Cities”, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 18, January 2013, 39-45
  • Carley, Sanya, Krause, Rachel M., Warren, David C., Rupp, John A., Graham, John D., “Early Public Impressions of Terrestrial CCS in a Coal-Intensive State”, Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 46 (13), July 2012, 7086-93
  • Krutilla, Kerry and Graham, John D., “Are Green Vehicles Worth the Extra Cost? The Case of Diesel-Electric Hybrid Technology for Urban Delivery Vehicles”, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 31, Number 3, Summer 2012, pp. 501–532
  • Seefeldt, Kristin, Abner, Gordon, Bolinger, Joel, Xu, Lanlan, Graham, John D., “At Risk: America’s Poor During and After the Great Recession”, SPEA, IU, January 2012
  • Abelkop, Adam, Graham, John D., Wise, Lois R., “Lessons from the EU’s REACH Program, Vol. 2(2) European Journal of Risk Regulation, February 2011, pp. 181-182
  • Fernandez, Sergio and Graham, John, “Reform of Public Organizations: How to Induce More Proactive Responses to Emerging Risks”, Paper presented at the International Risk Governance Council’s Workshop on Emerging Risks, December 16 and 17, 2010. Rüschlikon, Switzerland
  • John D. Graham, “Why Governments Need Guidelines for Risk Assessment and Management”, Risk and Regulatory Policy: Improving the Governance of Risk, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, 2010, pp. 237–246
  • Graham, John D., Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Failures, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 2010[12]
  • Graham, John D., Olmstead, Sarah, "Is There a Universal Precautionary Principle?" Controversies in Globalization, edited by Peter M. Haas, John A. Hird and Beth McBratney, CQ Press, Washington, D.C. 2009, pp. 115–12 [13]
  • Keefe, Ryan, Griffin, Jay, Graham, John D., “The Benefits and Costs of New Fuels and Engines for Light-Duty Vehicles in the United States,” Risk Analysis, Volume 28, No. 5, 2008, pp. 1141–1154
  • Graham, John D., “Saving Lives through Administrative Law and Economics,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Volume 157 (2), December 2008, pp. 395–540
  • Graham, John D., Wiener, Jonathan B., “The Precautionary Principle and Risk-Risk Tradeoffs: A Comment,” Journal of Risk Research, Volume 11(4), December 2008, pp. 465–474
  • Graham, John D., Wiener, Jonathan B., “Empirical Evidence for Risk-Risk Tradeoffs: A Rejoinder to Hansen and Tickner,” Journal of Risk Research, Volume 11(4), December 2008, pp. 485–490
  • Graham, John D., Noe, Paul, “Due Process and Management for Guidance Documents: Good Governance Long Overdue,” Yale Journal on Regulation, Volume 25(1), Winter 2008, pp. 103–112
  • Graham, John D., Montoya, Silvia, Modernizing the Federal Government: Paying for Performance, RAND Publications, OP-213-PV/EMR, 2007
  • Epstein, Diana, Graham, John D., Polarized Politics and Policy Consequences, RAND Publications, OP-197-PV/EMR, 2007 [14]
  • Keefe, Ryan, Graham, John D., Griffin, Jay, The Benefits and Costs of New Fuels and Engines for Cars and Light Trucks, RAND Publications, WR-537-PRGS, 2007
  • Graham, John D., Hu, Jianhui, “The Risk-Benefit Balance in the United States: Who Decides?” Health Affairs, Volume 26(3), May–June. 2007, p. 625-635
  • Brown, Elizabeth, Graham, John D., Leading the Executive Branch: Strategies and Options for Achieving Success, RAND Publications, OP-181-PV-MR, 2007[15]
  • Graham, John D., “The Evolving Regulatory Role Of The U.S. Office Of Management And Budget,” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Vol.1(2), 2007, pp. 171–191
  • Graham, John D., “Valuing the Future: OMB’s Refined Position,” The University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 74, Winter 2007 pp. 51–57
  • Graham, John D., Paul R. Noe, Elizabeth L. Branch, “Managing the Regulatory State: The Experience of the Bush Administration,” Fordham Urban Law Journal, Volume 33(4), 2006, pp. 953–1002

Personal life[edit]

Dr. Graham is married to Susan Woerner Graham, a certified financial planner. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Katie. The Grahams share interests in duplicate bridge, golf, and ballroom dancing.


  1. ^ "E.P.A. Drops Age-Based Cost Studies". NY Times. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  2. ^ The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers: "Thomas C. Graham" retrieved March 10, 2015
  3. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: "Senators Thompson and Levin Urge Confirmation of Dr. John Graham as OIRA Administrator" retrieved March 10, 2015
  4. ^ Harvard Center for Risk Analysis retrieved October 28, 2013
  5. ^ Committee on Trade, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium: Major Points of Testimony retrieved March 10, 2015
  6. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Senators Thompson and Levin Urge Confirmation of Dr. John Graham as OIRA Administrator retrieved March 10, 2015
  7. ^ RAND Office of Media Relations: Graham Appointed Dean retrieved March 10, 2015
  8. ^ U.S. News and World Report: Best Graduate Schools retrieved March 10, 2015
  9. ^ NSF Newsroom: "John D. Graham" retrieved March 10, 2015
  10. ^ IU News Room: SPEA dean named fellow of National Academy of Public Administration retrieved March 10, 2015
  11. ^ Kristin S. Seefeldt; John David Graham (2013). America's Poor and the Great Recession. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-00967-7. 
  12. ^ John D. Graham (30 March 2010). Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Setbacks. Indiana University Press. pp. 3–. ISBN 0-253-00413-6. 
  13. ^ Peter M Haas; John a Hird (30 November 2012). Controversies in Globalization: Contending Approaches to InternationalRelations, 2nd Edition. CQ Press. ISBN 978-1-60871-795-8. 
  14. ^ Diana Epstein; John David Graham (1 January 2007). Polarized Politics and Policy Consequences. Rand Corporation. ISBN 978-0-8330-4220-0. 
  15. ^ Elizabeth Brown; John David Graham (1 January 2007). Leading the Executive Branch: Strategies and Options for Achieving Success. Rand Corporation. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-0-8330-4147-0.