Sendhil Mullainathan, 2014

Sendhil Mullainathan, an economist at Harvard University, delivered the 2014 Sheffrin Lecture "Scarcity: A Talk for People Too Busy to Attend Talks.”

Mullainathan's recent book, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, draws on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics to show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. 

Mullainathan helped co-found ideas42, a non-profit to apply behavioral science. He also co-founded a center at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab to promote the use of randomized control trials in development. He serves on the board of the MacArthur Foundation, and has worked in government in various roles, including most recently as Assistant Director of Research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He has been designated a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, labeled a “Top 100 Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine, and named to the “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world” by Wired Magazine (UK). He was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2002.

The Sheffrin Lectures in Public Policy are possible thanks to a gift from former dean of the Division of Social Sciences, Steven M. Sheffrin, and his wife, Anjali. This year's co-sponsors were the Division of Social Sciences, the Center for Poverty Research, and the Herbert A. Young Society.