Katherine L. Milkman
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., under-saving 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 Timesstories 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.
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.
- Ph.D., Information, Technology & Management 2009; Business School & School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University
- B.S.E., Summa cum Laude, Operations Research & Financial Engineering 2004; Certificate in American Studies, Princeton University
Evan C Thompson Endowed Term Chair for Excellence in Teaching; Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions
The Wharton School
Operations and Information Management
Edward Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, Dolly Chugh, Modupe Akinola (2018). Diversity Thresholds: How Social Norms, Visibility, and Scrutiny Relate to Group Composition, Academy of Management Journal.
Hengchen Dai, Berkeley J. Dietvorst, Katherine L. Milkman, Maurice Schweitzer (Forthcoming). Quitting: The downside of high performance expectations.
John Beshears, Shlomo Benartzi, Richard T. Mason, Katherine L. Milkman (2017). How Do Consumers Respond When Default Options Push the Envelope?, Working Paper.
Shlomo Benartzi, John Beshears, Katherine L. Milkman, et al (2017). Should Government Invest More in Nudging?, Psychological Science, Research Article.
John Beshears, Katherine L. Milkman, Joshua Schwartzstein (2016). Beyond Beta-Delta: The Emerging Economics of Personal Plans, American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings.
Bradley Staats, Hengchen Dai, David Hofmann, Katherine L. Milkman (2016). Motivating Process Compliance through Electronic Monitoring: The Benefits and Limitations of Electronic Monitoring on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare, Management Science.
Katherine L. Milkman, Todd Rogers (2016). Reminders Through Association, Psychological Science.
Jihae Shin, Katherine L. Milkman (2016). How backup plans can harm goal pursuit: The unexpected downside of being prepared for failure, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 135.
Todd Rogers, Katherine L. Milkman, Leslie John, Michael Norton (2015). Beyond good intentions: Prompting people to make plans improves follow-through on important tasks, Behavioral Science & Policy, 1 (2), 33 - 41.
Katherine L. Milkman, Modupe Akinola, Dolly Chugh (2015). What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations, Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (6), 1678 - 1712.
Katherine L. Milkman, Hengchen Dai, Jason Riis (2015). Put Your Imperfections Behind You: Goal Initiation Is Motivated by Temporal Landmarks that Signal the Beginning of New Time Periods, Psychological Science, 26 (12), 1927 - 1936.
John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, Katherine L. Milkman (2015). The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions, The Journal of Finance, 70 (3), 1161 - 1201.
Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, David Hofmann, Bradley Staats (2015). The Impact of Time at Work and Time off from Work on Rule Compliance: The Case of Hand Hygiene in Healthcare, Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (3), 846 - 862.
Brad Bitterly, Robert Mislavsky, Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman (2015). Want-Should Conflict: A Synthesis of Past Research, in The Psychology of Desire, 244 - 264.
Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014). The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior, Management Science, 60 (10), 2563 - 2582.
Todd Rogers, Katherine L. Milkman, Kevin Volpp (2014). Commitment Devices: Using Initiatives to Change Behavior, Journal of the American Medical Association, 311 (20), 2065 - 2066.
Todd Rogers, Katherine L. Milkman, Kevin Volpp (2014). Commitment Devices to Improve Unhealthy Behaviors: In Reply, Journal of the American Medical Association, 312 (15), 1592 - 1593.
Katherine L. Milkman, J. Beshears, J.J. Choi, D. Laibson, B.C. Madrian (2013). Planning Prompts as a Means of Increasing Preventive Screening Rates, Preventive Medicine, 56, 92 - 93.
Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson and Brigitte Madrian (2012). Planning Prompts as a Means of Increasing Rates of Immunization and Preventive Screening, Public Policy & Aging Report, 22(4), 16-19.
Katherine L. Milkman, Mary Carol Mazza, Lisa L. Shu, Chia-Jung Tsay, Max H. Bazerman (2012). Policy Bundling to Overcome Loss Aversion: A Method for Improving Legislative Outcomes, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117, 158 - 167.
Katherine L. Milkman (2012). Unsure What the Future Will Bring? You May Over-Indulge: Uncertainty Increases the Appeal of Wants over Shoulds, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119, 163 - 176.
Kathleen McGinn, Katherine L. Milkman, Markus Noth (2012). Walking the Talk in Multiparty Bargaining: An Experimental Investigation, Journal of Economic Psychology, 33, 278 - 291.
Katherine L. Milkman, John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian (2011). Using Implementation Intentions Prompts to Enhance Influenza Vaccination Rates, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 10415 - 10420.
Beshears, Katherine L. Milkman (2011). Do Sell-Side Stock Analysts Exhibit Escalation of Commitment?, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 77, 304 - 317.