Arden Rowell

Professor of Law


Arden Rowell’s research interests revolve around environmental law, administrative law, risk regulation and human behavior. Her work looks for ways to meaningfully address risk and uncertainty in legal systems. One strand of her research examines decision-making in regulatory systems, with a special focus on the role of cost-benefit analysis and risk analysis. Another strand seeks to use interdisciplinary research to help law address society’s most challenging environmental problems.

Rowell is the co-author of three books: The Psychology of Environmental Law (NYU Press, 2021), A Guide to U.S. Environmental Law (California Press, 2021) and A Guide to EU Environmental Law (California Press, 2021). Other scholarly work has been published in law reviews and interdisciplinary journals including Science, the Harvard Environmental Law Review, and the University of Chicago Law Review, and she has been appointed to the Fulbright Specialist Roster for her work on administrative and environmental decision-making. Recent and ongoing projects include collaborating on an interdisciplinary grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a Context-Based Analysis of a Risk-informed, Performance-based Approach for Advanced Nuclear Reactors; acting as a consultant for the National Academies for their report on Frameworks for Protecting Workers and the Public from Inhalation Hazards; and exploring the appropriate reach of environmental regulation in projects on Indoor Environmental Law, Improving Outer Space, and Environmental Law Beyond Emergencies: Lessons from the Future.

At Illinois, Rowell is an affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Institute for Government and Public Affairs, the European Union Center, and the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program. She has been named a University Scholar through a program meant to recognize the university’s “very best teachers and scholars.”

Rowell has been a visiting professor at Duke Law School (2018) and Harvard Law School (2015-16) and was a visiting researcher at Oxford University (2015, 2016). She also completed a federal detail at the National Center for Environmental Economics at the Environmental Protection Agency (2015). Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2010, Professor Rowell was a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, from which she also received her J.D. After law school, Professor Rowell practiced at Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle. Professor Rowell has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology/archaeology, which she earned from the University of Washington at the age of 18. Before law school, she worked as an encyclopedia entry writer and as a video game tester.


JD University of Chicago Law School
BA University of Washington

Areas of Expertise

Administrative Law
Environmental Law and Conservation
Psychology and Law
Tort Law


Administrative Law
Environmental Law and Policy
Law, Behavior & Social Science

Selected Publications

Arden Rowell and Kenworthey Bilz, “The Psychology of Environmental Law” (NYU Press, 2021).

Arden Rowell and Josephine van Zeben, “A Guide to U.S. Environmental Law” (University of California Press, 2021).

Josephine van Zeben and Arden Rowell, “A Guide to EU Environmental Law” (University of California Press, 2021).

Arden Rowell, Valuation in Environmental Law, 97 Notre Dame Law Review __ (forthcoming 2021) (symposium).

Arden Rowell, Ethical Preferences in Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis, 18 Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy __ (forthcoming 2021) (symposium).

Colleen Murphy and Arden Rowell, “Risk and Autonomy: A Review of John Oberdiek’s Imposing Risk,” 18 Journal of Moral Philosophy __ (forthcoming 2021).

Arden Rowell, Regulating Best-Case Scenarios, 50 Environmental Law __ (forthcoming 2020).

Arden Rowell, Covid-19 and Environmental Law, 50 Environmental Law Reporter 10881 (2020).

Arden Rowell, COVID VSLs and the Undervaluation of Pandemic Risk, The Regulatory Review (August 17, 2020),

Arden Rowell, Using VSLs in State and Local COVID-19 Policy, The Regulatory Review (August 12, 2020),

Arden Rowell, “Behavioral Instruments in Environmental Regulation,” in Policy Instruments in Environmental Law (Edward Elgar) (Ken Richards and Josephine van Zeben, eds.) (2020).

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