Katherine Milkman, PhD

Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions

Katherine Milkman is a Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds the Evan C Thompson Endowed Term Chair for Excellence in Teaching. She has a secondary appointment at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her research uses insights from economics and psychology to study how consequential behaviors (e.g., saving, exercising, medication adherence, discrimination) can be changed for good. In her TEDx talk, she describes some of her key findings on this topic.

Katherine has received numerous awards for her research including an early career award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences. When under 30, Milkman was named one of the world’s top 40 business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants and she was a finalist for the Thinkers 50 2017 Radar Thinker Award.  Her dozens of published articles in leading social science journals such as Management Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The Journal of Finance have reached a wide audience through frequent coverage in major media outlets such as NPR, The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. She is a regular contributor to The Washington Post, where she writes about the behavioral economics of everyday life.

Katherine has been recognized with many accolades for her ability to communicate ideas to students. She has repeatedly received the excellence in teaching award from Wharton’s undergraduate division, been voted Wharton's “Iron Prof” by the school’s MBA students for a PechaKucha-style presentation of her research, and has been a repeated finalist for the Anvil Award for Wharton’s most outstanding MBA teacher.

She is an elected member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making’s Executive Board and has been an associate editor for Management Science since 2013.  She has worked with numerous organizations on research and/or consulting, including Google, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Red Cross, Humana, 24 Hour Fitness, the College Board, Wipro, and Cummins Engines.

Katherine co-directs the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work is being chronicled by Freakonomics Radio. 

She 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