Richard Zeckhauser

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Richard J. Zeckhauser
Richard Zeckhauser (2014).jpg
Richard Zeckhauser (2014)
Spouse(s)Sally H. Zeckhauser[1]
InstitutionHarvard University
FieldDecision theory, game theory, behavioral economics
School or
Decision theory, behavioral economics
Alma materHarvard University
Nat Keohane, Gernot Wagner
InfluencesThomas Schelling
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Richard Jay Zeckhauser (born 1940) is an American economist and the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[2]

He holds a BA (summa cum laude) and a PhD in economics from Harvard University. Early in his career, he was one of the "whiz kids" assembled by Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara to apply cutting-edge analysis to Cold War military strategy. He is married to Sally H. Zeckhauser.[1]

He is the author or co-author of many books and over 300 peer-reviewed articles. His most significant works focus on risk management, decision sciences, investment, and policy-making under uncertainty. Zeckhauser introduced the term "ignorance" into decision-making under uncertainty, as in: there's "risk", "uncertainty", and outright "ignorance".[3]

His most recent book, with Peter Schuck, is Targeting in Social Programs. The book examines how and why to deploy scarce public resources to solve public problems. While he holds no formal office, he has long been an informal leader at the Kennedy School and at Harvard. He is also a consultant with Analysis Group.[4] In 1994, he was elected to the Common Cause National Governing Board.

Bridge career[edit]

Zeckhauser is a champion bridge player.[5]



Significant works[edit]

  • Summers, Lawrence, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Policymaking for posterity." Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 37.2-3 (2008): 115-140.
  • Zeckhauser, Richard. "Investing in the Unknown and Unknowable." (2010): 77-117.
  • Samuelson, William, and Richard Zeckhauser. "Status quo bias in decision making." Journal of risk and uncertainty 1, no. 1 (1988): 7-59.
  • Zeckhauser, Richard (2006) "Investing in the Unknown and Unknowable", Capitalism and Society: Vol. 1 : Iss. 2, Article 5. doi:10.2202/1932-0213.1009
  • Schuck, Peter H. & Zeckhauser, Richard J. Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples, Brookings Institution Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8157-0428-7
  • Zeckhauser, Richard, Strategy and choice, MIT Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-262-24033-8
  • Zeckhauser, Richard, Keeney, Ralph L., Sebenius, James K. Wise choices: decisions, games, and negotiations, Harvard Business Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0-87584-677-4
  • Zeckhauser, Richard (2008). "Insurance". In David R. Henderson. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of Economics and Liberty. ISBN 978-0865976658. OCLC 237794267.


External links[edit]