Richard Zeckhauser

Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy
Harvard Kennedy School
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 41
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-1174
Fax: 617-384-9340
Email: richard_zeckhauser@Harvard.Edu
Wendy Wyatt (617-495-1175)
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Richard Zeckhauser is the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Kennedy School, Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard College (summa cum laude) and received his Ph.D. there. He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society, the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, he was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. His contributions to decision theory and behavioral economics include the concepts of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), status quo bias, betrayal aversion, and ignorance (states of the world unknown) as a complement to the categories of risk and uncertainty. Many of his policy investigations explore ways to promote the health of human beings, to help markets work more effectively, and to foster informed and appropriate choices by individuals and government agencies. Zeckhauser has published over 280 articles. His recent coauthored books are The Patron's Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art (2008), and Collaborative Governance: Private Roles for Public Goals (2011). Apart from academics, Zeckhauser is a Senior Principal at Equity Resource Investments, a real estate private equity firm. He has won multiple national championships in contract bridge.



  • API-302 Analytic Frameworks for Policy
  • API-902 Doctoral Research Seminar

Media Expertise

Richard Zeckhauser welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Aperjis, Christina, Richard Zeckhauser, and Yali Miao. "Variable Temptations and Black Mark Reputations." Games & Economic Behavior 87 (September 2014): 70-90.
    • Kotowski, Maciej H., David A. Weisbach, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Rules and Standards when Compliance Costs are Private Information." Journal of Legal Studies 43.S2 (June 2014): S297-S329.
    • Kotowski, Maciej, David A. Weisbach, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Audits as Signals." University of Chicago Law Review 81.1 (February 2014): 179-202.
    • Fang, Hai, Karen N. Eggleston, John A. Rizzo, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Jobs and Kids: Female Employment and Fertility in China." IZA Journal of Labor and Development 2.12 (2013).
    • Miller, Nolan, Alexander F. Wagner, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Solomonic Separation: Risk Decisions as Productivity Indicators." Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 46.3 (June 2013): 265-297.
    • Alan M. Berger, Casey L. Brown, Carolyn Kousky, Ken Laberteaux, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Where Americans Live: A Geographic and Environmental Tally." Harvard Journal of Real Estate: Navigating Investments with Ethical Risk (2013): 38-48.
  • Book Chapters
    • Zeckhauser, Richard. "New Frontiers Beyond Risk and Uncertainty: Ignorance, Group Decision, and Unanticipated Themes, Preface 2." Handbook of the Economics of Risk and Uncertainty. Ed. W. Kip Viscusi and Mark Machina. Elsevier, 2013, xvii-xxix.
  • Books
    • Donahue, John D. and Richard J. Zeckhauser. Collaborative Governance: Private Roles for Public Goals in Turbulent Times. Princeton University Press, 2011.
    • Zeckhauser, Richard, and Jonathan K. Nelson. The Patron's Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art. Princeton University Press, 2008.
    • Schuck, Peter H., and Richard Zeckhauser. Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples. Brookings Institution, 2006.
    • Avery, Christopher, Andrew Fairbanks, and Richard Zeckhauser. The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite. Harvard University Press, 2003.
  • HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
    • Wernerfelt, Nils, David Slusky, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Second Trimester Sunlight and Asthma: Evidence from Two Independent Studies." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-050, October 2014.
    • Rogers, Todd, Richard Zeckhauser, Francesca Gino, Maurice Schweitzer, and Mike Norton. "Artful Paltering: The Risks and Rewards of Using Truthful Statements to Mislead Others." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-045, September 2014.
    • Viscusi, W. Kip, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Regulating Ambiguous Risks: The Less than Rational Regulation of Pharmaceuticals." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-005, February 2014 (Revised January 2015).
    • Kotowski, Maciej, David Weisbach, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Signaling with Audits: Mimicry, Wasteful Expenditures, and Non-Compliance in a Model of Tax Enforcement." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-001, January 2014.

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