Photo of Katherine L. Milkman

Katherine L. Milkman

James G. Campbell, Jr. Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management

Research Interests: experimental economics, behavioral decision making, behavioral economics

Links: CV, Personal Website

Katherine Milkman is an Assistant Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research relies heavily on "big data" to document various ways in which individuals systematically deviate from making optimal choices. Her work has paid particular attention to the question of what factors produce self-control failures (e.g., undersaving for retirement, exercising too little, eating too much junk food) and how to reduce the incidence of such failures. To watch Katherine give a 5-minute presentation about her research on motivating exercise, click here. She has also explored race and gender discrimination, focusing on how a decision's context can alter the manifestation of bias. And, she has examined what types of stories are published in The New Yorker as well as what New York Times stories and science stories are most widely shared (to see a presentation about what types of science stories spread, click here).

Katherine has published nearly two dozen articles in leading social science journals such as Management Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Psychological Science. She is also an Associate Editor for the Behavioral Economics Department at Management Science and a member of the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Editorial Board.

Katherine has worked with numerous companies on research and/or consulting including Evive Health, Quickflix, Google, the American Red Cross, Cummins Engines, Wipro, HelloWallet, and StickK. In addition, her work has been featured by media outlets such as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, NPR, and Harvard Business Review. In 2013, John Tierney of the New York Times referred to her findings with Jonah Berger exploring what type of news is most shared online as "the most important social-science discovery of the past century" in his weekly Times column.*

In 2011, Katherine was recognized as one of the top 40 business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants, and in 2013 she was voted Wharton's "Iron Prof" by the school's MBA students.

Katherine received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University (summa cum laude) in Operations Research and Financial Engineering and her Ph.D. from Harvard University's joint program in Computer Science and Business.

She is a member and co-founder of the OPIM Decision Processes Lab Group at Wharton.

*Tierney, J. (2013).  "Good News Spreads Faster on Twitter and Facebook."  The New York Times, March 13, 2013.

Twitter: @Katy_Milkman