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Several new faculty members across a wide range of policy areas are joining Harvard Kennedy School this fall. We take this opportunity to introduce them to the HKS community.
Julia Minson is an assistant professor of public policy. Prior to coming to the Kennedy School, she was a post-doctoral scholar and visiting faculty member at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Minson’s research addresses psychological biases that prevent managers, consumers, and policy-makers from gaining maximum value from collaboration.
Q: What brought you to the Kennedy School?
Minson: The Kennedy School is an amazing institution for pursuing my research interests because of the caliber of colleagues one has access to, the research resources, and the students who can immediately put research insights into practice.
Q: What are your primary areas of research?
Minson: My primary research interests deal with collaborative decision-making and negotiations. I am very eager to understand when and how people manage to use the input of others to improve their decision-making outcomes, and what are the barriers that stand in their way.
Q: What courses will you be teaching?
Minson: I will be teaching MLD-221E Negotiations Analysis in the Spring of 2014.
Q: How can the work being done here at HKS help address some of the world’s most significant public policy challenges?
Minson: As a decision-making researcher I see tremendous value in applying what we know to be true from empirical research findings to improve the decision-making processes that drive policy.
I would like to offer students a "tool-kit" that will enable them to be better policymakers and public managers by leveraging decision-making strategies that we know to be effective, while avoiding specific well-documented pitfalls.
Q: What are you currently reading?
Minson: I always read a "work" book on my commute and a "fun" book on my downtime. The current "work" book is “Infotopia” by Cass Susstein. It's a great synthesis of both research and anecdotes on the merits and pitfalls of collective judgment. The "fun" book is “Gone With the Wind.” I am actually re-reading "Gone with the Wind" for the fifth time. Everyone thinks of it as a love story, but in reality it's a book about the different ways in which different women survive catastrophic change. Every few years it speaks to me in a different way.