March 6, 2006

Dear Admitted Student:

Congratulations on your admission to the Harvard Ph.D. program in economics! We are very eager to welcome you to Cambridge.

We think you would benefit from interacting with the extremely strong behavioral/experimental group we have at Harvard. We have worked hard over the last few years to create a program that is particularly conducive to studying behavioral and experimental issues. In our opinion, we have succeeded in creating the best such program in the world. We think there are three features that really make our program stand out.

First, we have a large set of courses on behavioral and experimental topics. Al Roth teaches a course on experimental economics. David Laibson and Sendhil Mullainathan teach an overview course on behavioral economics (every other year). Jeremy Stein teaches a course on behavioral finance. Equally importantly, behavioral and experimental concepts infuse many other field courses, from development economics to public finance.

Second, we have two behavioral/experimental seminars that meet each week. There is a behavioral/experimental research seminar in which an outside speaker presents a research paper (Tuesday afternoons) and an informal lunch that enables our Ph.D. students to present their own work in progress (Wednesday).

Third, we have an exceptionally large faculty doing active research or with heavy interests in these areas. This group includes 13 faculty in the department of economics, 3 faculty members at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), 6 faculty members at the Harvard Business School (HBS), and dozens of faculty with related interests in the psychology and neuroscience departments. The Harvard economists include Attila Ambrus, Nava Ashraf (HBS), George Baker (HBS), Malcolm Baker (HBS), Greg Barron (HBS), Max Bazerman (HBS), Iris Bohnet (KSG), John Campbell, Drew Fudenberg, Edward Glaeser, Brian Hall (HBS), Jerry Green, Michael Kremer, David Laibson, Kathleen McGinn (HBS), Markus Mobius, Sendhil Mullainathan, Al Roth, Andrei Shleifer, Jeremy Stein, Lawrence Summers (KSG), Andrea Wilson and Richard Zeckhauser (KSG).

These faculty have diverse interests. For example, their research includes work in the following subfields:

  • experimental (Ambrus, Ashraf, Barron, Bazerman, Bohnet, Fudenberg, Glaeser, Kremer, Laibson, McGinn, Mobius, Mullainathan, Roth, Zeckhauser).
  • social preferences and social networks (Ambrus, Ashraf, G. Baker, Bazerman, Bohnet, Glaeser, Hall, McGinn, Laibson, Mobius, Roth, Zeckhauser).
  • bounded rationality and learning (Ambrus, Barron, Bazerman, Fudenberg, Laibson, McGinn, Mullainathan, Roth, Wilson, Zeckhauser).
  • intertemporal choice (Ashraf, Fudenberg, Laibson).
  • neuroeconomics (Fudenberg, Laibson).
  • negotiations (Ashraf, G. Baker, Bazerman, Bohnet, Glaeser, Hall, McGinn, Roth, Zeckhauser).
  • persuasion (Ashraf, G. Baker, Bazerman, Glaeser, Hall, Kremer, Laibson, McGinn, Mullainathan, Shleifer).
  • behavioral finance (M. Baker, Bazerman, Campbell, Hall, Laibson, Mullainathan, Shleifer, Stein, Summers, Zeckhauser).
  • behavioral IO (G. Baker, Bazerman, Campbell, Hall, Laibson, Mullainathan, Shleifer, Summers).
  • behavioral public finance (Laibson, Summers, Zeckhauser).
  • behavioral development (Ashraf, Kremer, Mullainathan).
  • behavioral macro (Laibson, Summers).
  • behavioral organizations/labor (Ambrus, Ashraf, Baker, Bazerman, Bohnet, Glaeser, Hall, McGinn, Mobius, Mullainathan).

Fourth, as this large number of faculty would indicate, we advise a large number of students in this area. Student lunches, seminars and individual attention from faculty all play a role in turning out students we are extremely proud of. In the past 10 years, at least 20 students have graduated from our program with a significant behavioral component in their research program. To pick out a few examples, these students now have jobs at the University of Chicago (3), Cal Tech (1), NYU (1), Stanford (2), MIT (1), University of Pennsylvania (1), Yale (2), Berkeley (2), Dartmouth (1), Princeton (1), and Harvard (2).

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your interests and the pros and cons of coming to Harvard. Here are the emails and numbers of the various faculty. We invite you to call us to talk:

Attila Ambrus:, 617-496-5168

Nava Ashraf (HBS):, 617-495-5058

George Baker (HBS):, 617.495.6119

Malcolm Baker (HBS)

Greg Barron (HBS):, (617).496.1514.

Max Bazerman (HBS), 617-495-6429

Iris Bohnet (KSG):, 617-495-5605

John Campbell:, 617-495-8326

Drew Fudenberg:, 617-496-5895

Edward Glaeser:, 617-495-0575

Brian Hall (HBS):, 617.495.5062

Jerry Green:, 617-495-6859

Michael Kremer:, 617-495-9145

David Laibson:, 617-496-3402.

Kathleen McGinn (HBS):, 617-495-6901

Markus Mobius:, 617-496-3419

Sendhil Mullainathan:, 617-496-3361

Al Roth:, 617-496-0009 (ECON) 617-495-5447 (HBS)

Andrei Shleifer:, 617-495-5046

Jeremy Stein:, 617-496-6455

Lawrence Summers (KSG):, 617-495-9322

Andrea Wilson:, 617-496-6284

Richard Zeckhauser (KSG):, 617-495-1174

David Laibson and Sendhil Mullainathan have also volunteered to help be point-faculty so if you are not sure who specifically to talk to please feel free to call them.

We look forward to meeting you here when you visit the campus in April. And we hope that we will be able to welcome you as a Harvard student in the fall!


The Harvard Behavioral/Experimental Group