Behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan to join Booth faculty as University Professor

Behavioral economist to begin July 1

Influential economics scholar Sendhil Mullainathan will join the University of Chicago Booth School of Business faculty on July 1, 2018, where he has been appointed University Professor. He currently serves as the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Mullainathan’s research spans broad areas of economics: behavioral, labor, public economics and corporate finance, and most recently has focused on the intersection of machine learning and public policy. His seminal research includes topics ranging from the impact of poverty on mental bandwidth to showing that higher cigarette taxes make smokers happier.

“Sendhil is a phenomenal scholar, whose work has had great impact in a variety of fields,” said Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “Sendhil’s history of collaboration across disciplines will strengthen ties among Booth’s research areas and deepen the school’s connections to the rest of the University.”

University Professors are selected for internationally recognized eminence in their fields as well as for their potential for high impact across the University. Mullainathan will become the 22nd person to hold a University Professorship, and the ninth active faculty member holding that title.

After completing his PhD in economics at Harvard in 1998, Mullainathan taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 2004, when he moved to Harvard, where he is a professor of economics and affiliate of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“The University of Chicago has a grand tradition of defining new disciplines: the phrase ‘Chicago School of’ has its own resonance in many academic fields,” Mullainathan said.

“Today a new discipline is emerging at the intersection of human and machine intelligence. Algorithms are now capable of amazing feats, and fully harnessing their capacities requires integrating them equally with marvelous aspects of human cognition,” he added. “I’m excited to join Booth and be part of a team that will hopefully define another ‘Chicago School’ in this emerging discipline.”

Mullainathan has published more than 50 journal articles, including 14 papers in top economics journals. He recently co-authored Scarcity: Why Having too Little Means so Much and writes regularly for The New York Times. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship and serves on the board of the MacArthur Foundation.

In 2012, Mullainathan was designated a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum; was labeled a “Top 100 Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine, and named to the “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world” by Wired Magazine.

He helped co-found the non-profit organization ideas42, which applies behavioral science to positively change lives; and co-founded Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a center to promote the use of randomized control trials in development. Mullainathan is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.