University of Chicago Summer Institute on Field Experiments

July 12–16, 2015

(All day)

Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 203

The Summer Institute trained the brightest young researchers to partner with key stakeholders in government, industry, and the not-for-profit sector to solve the unique problems faced in society through applying economic theory and rigorous field experiment methods. The Summer Institute was organized by John List, the Chairman of the Department of Economics and Homer J. Livingston Professor at the University of Chicago. Co-organizers included Anya Samek, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Luigi Butera, Dan Searle Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago. Top researchers in the use of field experiments and behavioral economics, including Freakonomics coauthor Steven Levitt, spoke at the Summer Institute. 

Recent years have seen an enormous increase and interest in research using experimental methods in the field to address questions across a broad range of topics in economics. Yet for young researchers, carrying out a field experiment may be daunting. Many young scholars have not been trained on field experiment methods, and may not have connections in business or government required to carry out experiments.

Seeking Practitioner Partners

The Institute seeks practitioner partners who are willing to be “matched” to the most promising of the Institute’s participants to work together and design solutions to problems they face. Partners will be asked to provide a list of questions or problems, and the Institute’s participants will work to provide suggested solutions. Following the Institute, John List will work to “match” the researchers to practitioners in order to continue by working together in carrying out and evaluating the proposed solutions.

The Institute is looking for practitioner partners who are open to new and bold ideas that will revolutionize the way they develop policy, do business, or provide charitable programming. Practitioner partners should be willing to work closely with researchers to field test solutions, and must be willing to allow research publications to come from the partnership. We expect the institute to serve as a catalyst for field experiment research and strong researcher-practitioner partnerships.

Seeking Researchers Interested in Partnership

The summer institute aims to bring in the brightest 20 young scholars in the world through a competitive application process. each summer with the following objectives:

  1. Train the most promising young scholars in the world in the field experiment method.
  2. Position young scholars for success by providing connections within business and government and helping them identify practitioner needs
  3. Use the institute as a catalyst for field experiment research in business and government

As part of the institute, scholars will listen to lectures from leading economists on the best practices of field experimentation. Then, scholars will receive real-world problems, which have been submitted to us from industry and government, and will spend the summer institute week outside of lectures working independently or in a team to develop proposed testable solutions. Finally, in the last day of the institute scholars will present their work and the most promising individuals/teams will have the opportunity to be matched with our industry and government partners to carry out the project. The institute also includes networking opportunities with fellow scholars.

For information on the 2016 program, please visit:

The Summer Institute is funded by a generous grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Thank you to our partners, the Science of Philanthropy Initiative and the University of Chicago.

July 12, 2015 (All day) July 16, 2015 (All day)