MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2002

Sendhil Mullainathan


Associate Professor of Economics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Age: 29

Published September 25, 2002
Portrait of Sendhil Mullainathan

Sendhil Mullainathan is a young scholar who is making contributions in areas of economics ranging from behavioral economics, to social problems in the U.S. economy, to corporate finance, to development economics, to empirical methodology. His studies demonstrate his ability to distill complex empirical data sets and to identify the critical questions, integrating concepts without respect to disciplinary boundaries. For example, a recent paper, “A Memory-Based Model of Bounded Rationality,” draws from concepts of biology and psychology to interpret empirical economic research. In studies ranging from executive compensation, the economic role of social networking, resource allocation within extended families in developing countries, racial discrimination in the American marketplace, and the limited use of checking accounts by the poor, Mullainathan’s empirical methodology and theoretical inquiries consistently reveal new perspectives from which to consider traditional questions in economics. Still at the outset of his career, he invigorates the discipline with fresh and unconventional inquiries into important issues.

Sendhil Mullainathan received a B.A. (1993) from Cornell University and a Ph.D. (1998) from Harvard University. Since 1998, he has been on faculty of the the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reaching the associate professor level in 2002. Mullainathan has also served as a consultant for the Harvard Institute for International Development (1998–2000). In addition to his academic position at MIT, he is currently a Faculty Research Fellow in Labor and Corporate Finance at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His articles have been published in American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the RAND Journal of Economics.


Hi-res photos for download. Photos licensed under a Creative Commons license. Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Right-click on the links below to save the file to your computer.

Sendhil Mullainathan In the Media

"Hold the Phone: A Big-Data Conundrum" thumbnail

"Hold the Phone: A Big-Data Conundrum"

The New York Times
Sendhil Mullainathan , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More
"Possible Path to Closing Pay Gap" thumbnail

"Possible Path to Closing Pay Gap"

The New York Times
Sendhil Mullainathan , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More

"A Top-Heavy Focus on Income Inequality"

The New York Times
Sendhil Mullainathan , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More

"The Co-Villains Behind Obesity’s Rise"

The New York Times
Read More

"Days Late, Dollars Short"

The Economist
Sendhil Mullanaithan, 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Read More

"When a Co-Pay Gets in the Way of Health"

From The New York Times
Sendhil Mullainathan, MacArthur Fellow, 2002
Read More

About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Social Psychologist

Class of 2014

Twenty-Four MacArthur Fellows For 2002

Chicago, IL- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 24 new MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years.   "As the MacArthur Foundation approaches ... Read More