Michael R. Powers

Zurich Insurance Group Chair Professor
Curriculum Vitae

Phone                (86) (10) 62795565
Office                386C Weilun Building
Office Hours       
Wed.13:30-16:00 (386C Weilun Building   Thu.13:30-16:00 (103c Schwarzman College)


Michael R. Powers is the Zurich Insurance Group Chair Professor of Risk Mathematics at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management. A 2011 recipient of China’s Qian Ren Ji Hua award, he also serves as chief editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance. In 2013, he won the Kulp-Wright Book Award for Acts of God and Man: Ruminations on Risk and Insurance (2012, Columbia University Press), in which he proposes a new “science of risk.”


Powers’ research covers a variety of areas, including: government regulation and public policy; applications of game theory in risk and insurance; mathematical models in enterprise risk management; andcultural attitudes and risk finance. He has edited two scholarly books – The Economics and Politics of Choice No-Fault Insurance and Global Risk Management: Financial, Operational, and Insurance Strategies – and is the author of Icons, a science-fiction/fantasy novel. He also has published over eighty articles and book chapters, and received awards for outstanding research from the Journal of Risk and Insurance, the Risk and Insurance Management Society, and the International Insurance Society.


Powers joined Tsinghua from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, where he was professor of risk management and insurance. Prior to that, he served as deputy insurance commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and was responsible for designing Pennsylvania’s current “choice” no-fault automobile insurance system. Over the past three decades, he has consulted for numerous clients in both the public and private sectors, and served on a number of advisory boards, including the Pennsylvania Health-Care Cost Containment Council and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Auto Insurance Task Force.


Powers received his B.S. in applied mathematics, summa cum laude, from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University.



Books and Monographs


Acts of God and Man: Ruminations on Risk and Insurance, 2012, New York: Columbia University Press.


Icons (science-fiction/fantasy novel), 2003, San Francisco: Dry Bones Press.


Global Risk Management: Financial, Operational, and Insurance Strategies, 2002 (with J. Jay Choi, eds.), Amsterdam: JAI Press/Elsevier.


The Economics and Politics of Choice No-Fault Insurance, 2001 (with Edward L. Lascher, Jr., eds.), Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.



Selected Journal Articles


“Insurance Risk, Risk Measures, and Capital Allocation: Navigating a Copernican Shift,” 2013 (with George Zanjani), Annual Review of Financial Economics, 5, 201-223.


“Fourier-Analytic Measures for Heavy-Tailed Insurance Losses,” 2013 (with Thomas Y. Powers), Scandinavian Actuarial Journal, forthcoming.


“The Relationship between Regulatory Pressure and Insurer Risk Taking,” 2013 (with Wen-chang Lin and Yi-hsun Lai), Journal of Risk and Insurance, forthcoming.


“Risk Finance for Catastrophe Losses with Pareto-Calibrated Lévy-Stable Severities,” 2012 (with Thomas Y. Powers and Siwei Gao), Risk Analysis, 32, 11, 1967-1977.


“The Valuation of Contingent Capital with Catastrophe Risks,” 2009 (with Shih-Kuei Lin and Chia-Chien Chang), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 45, 1, 65-73.


“Life Insurance Efficiency in China: A Comparison of Foreign and Domestic Firms,” 2009 (with Bingzheng Chen and Joseph Qiu), China and World Economy, 17, 6, 43-63.


Colonel Blotto in the War on Terror: Implications for Event Frequency,” 2009 (with Zhan Shen), Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 6, 1, 18, 1-16.


Adverse Selection or Advantageous Selection? Risk and Underwriting in China’s Health Insurance Market,” 2009 (with Feng Gao and Jun Wang), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 44, 3, 505-510.


“Social Stability and Catastrophe Risk: Lessons from the Stag Hunt,” 2008 (with Zhan Shen), Journal of Theoretical Politics, 20, 4, 477-497.


“Using Aumann-Shapley Values to Allocate Insurance Risk: The Case of Inhomogeneous Losses,” 2007, North American Actuarial Journal, 11, 3, 113-127.


“Market Bubbles and Wasteful Avoidance: Tax and Regulatory Constraints on Short Sales,” 2004 (with David M. Schizer and Martin Shubik), Tax Law Review, 57, 2, 233-274.


“September 11 Victims, Random Events, and the Ethics of Compensation,” 2004 (with Edward L. Lascher, Jr.), American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 3, 281-294.

Of Happy and Hapless Regulators: The Asymptotics of Ruin,” 2003 (with Emilio C. Venezian and Iana B. Jucá), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 32, 2, 317-330.


“Toward a Theory of Reinsurance and Retrocession,” 2001 (with Martin Shubik), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 29, 2, 271-290.


“Risk Transformations, Deductibles, and Policy Limits,” 2001 (with Larry Y. Tzeng), Journal of Risk and Insurance, 68, 3, 465-473.


“Insurance Market Games: Scale Effects and Public Policy,” 1998 (with Martin Shubik and Shun Tian Yao), Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie (Journal of Economics), 67, 2, 109-134.


“Insurance Premium Taxes: A Lump-Sum Proposal,” 1998 (with Larry Y. Tzeng), Public Finance Review, 26, 1, 53-66.


“On the Tradeoff between the Law of Large Numbers and Oligopoly in Insurance,” 1998 (with Martin Shubik), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 23, 2, 141-156.


“Captive Insurance Tax Policy: Resolving a Global Problem,” 1995 (with M. Moshe Porat), Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance: Issues and Practice, 20, 75, 197-229.


“A Theory of Risk, Return, and Solvency,” 1995, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 17, 2, 101-118.


“The Value of Information in Insurance Pricing: Comment,” 1994, Journal of Risk and Insurance, 61, 3, 519-524.


“Equity in Automobile Insurance: Optional No-Fault,” 1992, Journal of Risk and Insurance, 59, 2, 203-220.

Principal Investigator, "Cultural Attitudes and Risk Finance: Implications for China’s Property Insurance Market," supported by the AXA Research Fund.  For details, see <http://researchfund.axa.com/project/michael-r-powers>.