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. Much of his conceptual research examines possibilities for democratic, decentralized allocation procedures. 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. He teaches an advanced course in analytic methods, the Ph.D. writing seminar, and chairs the annual executive program on Investment Decisions and Behavioral Finance. He has been elected as a fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Sciences and as a member of the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences). He has come first (Mixed Pairs, 2007), second (Mixed Teams, 2003), and third (Open Pairs, 2004) in recent national contract bridge championships. He serves as a Trustee for The Commonwealth School and as a member of NBER, the Russell Sage Roundtable in Behavioral Economics, the Academic Advisory Committee, American Enterprise Institute, and the OECD High Level Advisory Board on Large-Scale Catastrophes. His most recent co-authored books are: Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets and Removing Bad Apples (with Peter Schuck), The Patron's Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art (with Jonathan Nelson), and Collaborative Governance: Private Roles for Public Goals in Turbulent Times (With John Donahue).  He holds a BA (summa cum laude) and a PhD in economics from Harvard University.



  • 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 Harvard Kennedy School Research Report Online.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • 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).
    • Trautmann, Stefan T., Gijs van de Kuilen, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Social Class and (Un)Ethical Behavior: A Framework, With Evidence From a Large Population Sample." Perspectives on Psychological Science 8.5 (September 2013): 487-497.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Roy, Devjani, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Ignorance: Lessons from the Laboratory of Literature." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP13-039, October 2013.
    • Kotowski, Maciej, David A. Weisbach, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Audits as Signals." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP13-026, September 2013.