Research Professionals Listing

Reuben Bauer


Reuben’s current research includes projects on incentives in early childhood education, the role of perseverance in success, screening applicants to charity programs, the efficacy of police internal review procedures, and the impact of police misconduct regulations on police stops and narcotics recoveries . He graduated from the University of Chicago with bachelor’s degrees in economics and history in 2016.

Clark Halliday

2014-Present | Chicago Experiments Scholar

Clark is working on educational projects, focusing on the measurement of student ability and effort. Prior research areas include charitable giving, consumer decision making, and early childhood education. He graduated from University of Illinois with a degree in Economics in 2013.

Bryan Ho

Bryan has been working under Steven Levitt as a Research Professional since October 2015. Previous to joining the BFI, he was a policy analyst at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and then a senior research analyst the Ministry of Health (Singapore). He graduated with a master's degree in Applicable Mathematics from the London School of Economics in 2013, and attended the University of Chicago where he graduated with a bachelor's in economics, political science, and public policy in 2010. He aspires to be a professional economist, a detective, or a pirate, in no particular order of preference.

Claire Mackevicius

2016-Present | Chicago Experiments Scholar

Claire's research is focused on education. Recent experiments include investigating how non-cognitive skills develop and how incentives influence effort and motivation. She graduated from UChicago in 2014 with a degree in Economics.

Dan Mather

2015-Present | Chicago Experiments Scholar
Mather's current work centers on field experiments in education and lab experiments in rational choice theory and discrimination in negotiation. His research interests include the effects of early childhood interventions on human capital, the relationship between personality and health, and the role of private institutional design in improving life outcomes.

Joseph Seidel

2010–Present  |  Chicago Experiments Scholar

Seidel’s current work focuses on field experiments in education, development, and behavioral economics. His earlier research focused on employee theft, charitable contributions, and agricultural economics.

Graham Tierney

Graham's is currently working with Steven Levitt on projects relating to campaign finance, early childhood education, and the psychology of perseverance.  He worked previously as an analyst at Cornerstone Research.  He has a BA in Economics and Statistics from Carleton College.

Previous Research Professionals

Eric Andersen


Andersen’s current research project focuses on the structure and cause of mortality disparities between populations within the United States. Prior to joining the Price Theory Initiative, he attended the University of Chicago, graduating in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Debbie Blair

2015-2016 | Chicago Experiments Scholar
Debbie's research looks at incentives and effort applied to the labor market and to education. She is interested in working on applying behavioral insights to public policy, especially those that aim to improve outcomes in health and education. Prior to working at BFI she completed the MPhil in Economics at University of Oxford, and completed her undergraduate degree in Economics and Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin.David Birke


Andrew Christensen


Christensen's research focuses on the short and long term effects of early childhood interventions on cognitive and executive function development.  His past work includes interdisciplinary research in development and behavioral economics as well as neuroeconomics and neuroimaging.

Tony Ditta


Ditta has been working for Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro as a research assistant in Chicago Price Theory since June 2012. Before that, he attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has worked on projects related to competition and bias in news media, fungibility and mental accounting, and measuring identification in econometric models.

Tristin Ganter


Justin Holz

2011–2015  |  Associate Director, Chicago Experiments

Holz's research focuses on the effects of early childhood interventions on cognitive and executive function development. He also studies the impact of nutrition messages, labeling, and non-monetary incentives on food choice in adults and children.

Wooju Lee

2011–2014  |  Chicago Experiments Scholar

Lee's research includes work on the impact of incentives and competition on educational outcomes, leveraging loss aversion in teachers, identifying motivations for investment in energy efficiency, and testing whether norms impact energy consumption. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from University of Chicago in 2011.

Ryan Malitz

2013–Present | Chicago Experiments Scholar

Malitz's research focuses on the effects of managerial practices on the productivity and energy usage of retailers, as well as education experiments testing the efficacy of classroom interventions such as blending traditional lesson plans with simultaneous computer-based learning. He also studies gender gaps in labor market outcomes. 

Ellen Murphy


Murphy's research at the Becker Friedman Institute examines common misconceptions about health care and the strategic behavior of amateur and professional golfers. She also works on the Freakonomics Golf Challenge experiments. A passionate traveler, her life's goal is to set foot on every continent.

Rachel Neumann

2014 | Chicago Experiments Scholar

Neumann's research includes an education study investigating the effects of early childhood development interventions on strategy and social skills, and the effect of roommate relationships on preferences. She is interested in consumer choice in irregularly priced markets, commitment mechanisms, and the economics of the family.

David Novgorodsky

2011–2013  |  Chicago Experiments Scholar

Novgorodsky's research includes work on the existence and effects of social pressure and social signalling, the impact of incentives and competition on educational outcomes, altruism in effort provision, time inconsistency, sabotage, and the use of norms in promoting energy conservation. He received a bachelor's degree in economics and another in business administration from University of California, Berkeley in 2010. Before coming to the institute, he worked for Towers Watson as an actuarial analyst in their health and group benefits division.

Dhiren Patki


Patki's research examines learning-by-doing models, extreme weather patterns, and the effects of air pollution on birth outcomes. He also studies the impact of information technology adoption on firm size and location.

Zongjin (Franklin) Qian


Qian has been working with Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro as a research professional at the Price Theory Initiative since July 2013. Previously, he attended Duke University. He has been working on projects related to competition in the newspaper market and preference for brand name drugs over generics by shoppers.

Erin Robertson


Robertson's research includes an examination of the strategic behavior of amateur golfers. She also studies the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans residents. She is also cocurriculum developer at the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center and project manager of Freakonomics Experiments.

Florian Rundhammer

2015-2016 | Chicago Experiments Scholar
Flo's research covers the private provision of various public goods and particularly the role of pecuniary and non-pecuniary incentives targeted at increasing contributions. Current projects include the study of behavioral demand-side policies to curb energy demand of private households, charitable giving of money and time, and competition among charities. He is also a PhD student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Andrew Simon

2013–2015 | Chicago Experiments Scholar

Simon's research focuses on the effects of early childhood intervention. He also studies the time and risk preferences of children, including the intergenerational transfer of those preferences, and prosocial behavior.

Phuong Ta

2010–2013  |  Chicago Experiments Scholar

Phuong Ta works on various education studies at the Becker Center, looking at the effects of incentives to students as well as to teachers on students' performance on standardized tests.

Linh To


To's research at the Becker Friedman Institute includes study of the economic incentives that shape ideological diversity in the media using data on US newspapers in the early 20th century. She also works on quantitative modeling of the economic mechanisms that could explain the lower than expected level of ideological segregation of the Internet, and studies of the history of partisanship in congressional speech.

Unika Shrestha


Unika joined the Center on Chicago Price Theory in August 2012. Her current work includes projects that examine the effects of home ownership on formal sector participation; civic participation, and investment in health and education in Mexico. Another project explores whether fertility behavior among those at risk for Huntington's disease differs by disease status. Previously, she was a research analyst at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Mattie Toma


Toma's research includes analyses of the impact on happiness of life decisions determined by a coin flip as well as the efficacy of firms' hiring strategies. She also assists in the revision of an undergraduate microeconomics textbook. Toma received her BA in economics from the University of Chicago in 2014 and is particularly interested in behavioral economics.

Lester Tong


Using functional brain imaging, electroencephalography, and psychophysiological measures,  Tong studies the neural bases of social and economic judgment and decision making. He is particularly interested in the functional interplay between deep brain structures and neocortex that underlies social evaluations.

Karen Ye


Ye's current research focuses on health economics and neuroeconomics. One project examines the effect of legislation on deceased and living organ donation rates. Other projects use neuroimaging techniques to examine neural correlates of the endowment effect, as well as the effects of early childhood interventions.

Jeannine van Reeken


Van Reeken's research at the Becker Friedman Institute includes work on screening models to determine an applicant's ability to succeed in a program, incentives in education, and the impact of employee referrals in firms. She is broadly interested in economics as a study of incentives, with a special focus on organizational, experimental, and behavioral economics.

Michael Wong


Wong works as a research assistant for Jesse Shapiro and Matt Gentzkow. His research focuses on the study of the economic incentives that shape ideological diversity in the media using data on US newspapers in the early twentieth century. He also works on measuring identification in econometric models and the use of software tools in the analysis of large datasets.

Tianlun (Allen) Zhang 


Zhang has worked as a Research Professional for Jesse Shapiro and Matt Gentzkow since July 2013. His work primarily involves analyzing competition in news media, testing model results for robustness, and measuring identification in econometric models. Outside of work, he studies internet markets through the analysis of text descriptions. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 2013, majoring in economics and statistics.