Psychology, Behavioral Economics & Public Policy

Professor Jennifer S. Lerner, is the Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy, Decision Science, and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School. Drawing on psychology, economics, and neuroscience, Dr. Lerner’s lab uses interdisciplinary methods to examine how people make judgments and decisions. We especially seek to understand and illuminate social and emotional underpinnings of decision processes.

Across all areas, our work aims to expand the evidentiary base for designing public policies that maximize human well-being.

We are seeking an undergraduate student to be a part-time research assistant. This student will work with Dr. Lerner and her team on a variety of projects relevant to economics, finance, and public health. Undergraduate research assistants assist us in the following areas:

  • Administering experiments at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory – often to elite government and military leaders – as well as through online survey systems
  • Conducting literature reviews and other background research
  • Preparing slides in Power Point for presentation
  • Coding data, summarizing results, and preparing it for presentation
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Tracking down references
  • Finding ways to apply behavioral insights of our research to inform public policy

Highly talented students who work with our team for over one year will have the opportunity to become involved in high levels of research, including designing studies, analyzing data, making public presentations, and co-authoring scientific papers for publication.

Required qualifications:

  • Ability to devote 10 hours per week during the academic year
  • Interest in understanding how the mind works
  • Good grades in psychology and/or related fields (economics, statistics, etc.)
  • Demonstrated reliability and capability in teamwork

Application Guidelines:

Prepare one PDF document containing all of these: (a) a resume; (b) an unofficial college transcript; and (c) a cover letter addressed to Dr. Jennifer Lerner. Send the PDF document to Ms. Chelsea Zabel at the following address: