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Sendhil Mullainathan is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University. His real passion is behavioral economics. His work runs a wide gamut: the impact of poverty on mental bandwidth; whether CEO pay is excessive; using fictitious resumes to measure discrimination; showing that higher cigarette taxes makes smokers happier; modeling how competition affects media bias; and a model of coarse thinking. His latest research focuses on using machine learning and data mining techniques to better understand human behavior.
He enjoys writing, having recently co-authored Scarcity: Why Having too Little Means so Much and writes regularly for the New York Times.
He also occasionally enjoys doing. He helped co-found a non-profit to apply behavioral science (ideas42), co-founded a center to promote the use of randomized control trials in development (the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab), serves on the board of the MacArthur Foundation, and has worked in government in various roles, including most recently as Assistant Director of Research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Much to the surprise of those who know him, he is a recipient of the MacArthur "genius" Award, was designated a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum, 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 (UK). His hobbies include basketball, board games, googling and fixing-up classic espresso machines. He also enjoys speaking about himself in the third person, which works well for bios but less well in daily life.
Bugbears or Legitimate Threats? (Social) Scientists' Criticisms of Machine Learning
as author at 20th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), New York 2014,