Professor Judd B. Kessler received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University in 2004, an M.Phil. in Economics from Cambridge University in 2005, and his Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 2011. In his research, Kessler uses a combination of laboratory and field experiments to answer questions in Public Economics and Market Design. He investigates the economic and psychological forces that motivate individuals to contribute to public goods inside and outside the workplace, with applications including organ donation, worker effort, and charitable giving. He also investigates market design innovations, placing particular emphasis on bringing market design from theory to practice, with applications including course allocation and priority systems for organ allocation. His research has appeared in general interest journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Management Science. In 2012, Kessler was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in Law and Policy.
For a current list of my publications and working papers, please visit my personal website.
Amanda Chuan, Judd B. Kessler, Katy Milkman (2018), A Field Study of Charitable Giving Reveals that Reciprocity Decays over Time, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Abstract: We examine how reciprocity changes over time by studying a large quasi-experiment in the field. Specifically, we analyze administrative data from a university hospital system. The data include information about over 18,000 donation requests made by the hospital system via mail to a set of its former patients in the four months following their first hospital visit. We exploit quasi-experimental variation in the timing of solicitation mailings relative to patient hospital visits and find that an extra 30-day delay between the provision of medical care and a donation solicitation decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30%. Our findings have important implications for models of economic behavior, which currently fail to incorporate reciprocity’s sensitivity to time. The fact that reciprocal behavior decays rapidly as time passes also suggests the importance of capitalizing quickly on opportunities to benefit from a quid pro quo.
Description: Datasets in "A Field Study of Charitable Giving Reveals that Reciprocity Decays over Time" Dataset regression_deid is the deidentified dataset used to create main and supplemental regression tables (Fig. 1, Tables 3, S1-S3, S5-S7, and S10). Dataset regression_deidexp is the deidentified dataset used to create regression tables exploring the role of patient experience (tables S8 and S9). Dataset sumstat_deid is the deidentified dataset used to create summary statistics tables (Tables 1, 2, S2, and S4).
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, P. Ubel, Judd B. Kessler, G. Meyer, R. Muller, Amol Navathe, P. Patel, R. Pearl, MB Rosenthal, L. Sacks, AP Sen, P. Sherman, Kevin Volpp (2015), Using Behavioral Economics to Design Physician Incentives that Deliver High Value Care, Annals of Internal Medicine, 24, pp. 1-7.
Judd B. Kessler and Alvin Roth (2014), Getting More Organs for Transplantation, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings.
Judd B. Kessler and Stephan Meier (2014), Learning from (Failed) Replications: Cognitive Load Manipulations and Charitable Giving, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
Judd B. Kessler and Alvin Roth (2014), Organ Donation Loopholes Undermine Giving: An Experiment Motivated By Priority Loopholes in Israel, Journal of Public Economics.
Judd B. Kessler and Lise Vesterlund (2014), The External Validity of Laboratory Experiments: Qualitative rather than Quantitative Effects, The Methods of Modern Experimental Economics.
Judd B. Kessler and Stephen Leider (2012), Norms and Contracting, Management Science, Vol. 58, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 62–77.
Abstract: We argue that contracts establish the norms of a relationship and that individuals incur disutility when deviating from these norms. In a laboratory experiment, we allow agents to make simple contracts before they play one of four games, and the most effective contract always includes an unenforceable “handshake” agreement to take the first best action. In three games, a contract with only this handshake agreement is (at least weakly) optimal. The handshake is particularly effective in games with strategic complements. Our results highlight an explanation for contractual incompleteness: establishing an induced norm can effectively substitute for weak enforceable restrictions.
Fall 2012, 2013, 2015 – MGEC 611/612: “Managerial Economics” (MBA)
Spring 2012 – BPUB 250: “Managerial Economics” (Undergraduate)
This course establishes the micro-economic foundations for understanding business decision-making. The course will cover consumer theory and market demand under full information, market equiolibrium and government intervention, production theory and cost optimization, producing in perfectly competitive and monopoly markets, vertical relations, and game theory, including simultaneous, sequential, and infinitely repreated games. Finally, we will wrapup game theory with an application to auctionsn. Students are expected to have mastered these materials before enrolling in the second quarter course: Microechomics for Managers: Advanced Applications.
This course will cover the economic foundations of business strategy and decision-making in market environments with other strategic actors and less than full information, as well as advanced pricing strategies. Topics include oligopoly models of market competition, creation, and protection, sophisticated pricing strategies for consumers with different valuations or consumers who buy multiple units (e.g. price discrimination, bundling, two-part tariffs), strategies for managing risk and making decisions under uncertainty, asymmetric information and its consequences for markets, and finally moral hazard and principle-agent theory with application to incentive contacts.
Project Title: “Using Behavioral Economics to Promote Medication Adherence and Habit Formation” (with Dmitry Taubinsky and Eric Zwick)
Total Received for Project: $150,400
New Wharton research shows that timing is the key to maximizing donations, particularly from people with an existing connection to an organization.Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/02/7