Keith Chen is an associate professor of economics with tenure at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. His research blurs traditional disciplinary boundaries in both subject and methodology, bringing unorthodox tools to bear on problems at the intersection of economics, psychology and biology.
In early work examining the evolutionary origins of economic behavior, he has shown that when monkeys are taught to use money, they display many of the hallmark biases of human economic behavior, suggesting that some of our most fundamental biases are evolutionarily ancient. Chen's most recent work focuses on how people's economic choices are influenced by the structure of their language. His work has shown that how a person's language encodes future events influences future-oriented behaviors as diverse as saving, smoking and safe sex.
Chen also consults and advises numerous companies on topics at the intersection of behavioral economics, business strategy and dynamic pricing. Most recently he was the head of economic research for Uber, where, among other projects, he redesigned Uber's dynamic "surge" pricing model.
At Anderson, Chen teaches MBA core strategy and Ph.D. behavioral economics.
Ph.D. Economics, 2003, Harvard University
B.S. Mathematics, 1998, Stanford University
Grants and Awards
2013: Science, Editors' Choice for "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior"
2011: Yale SOM Alumni Association, Annual Teaching Award
2008: Roger F. Murray Prize, The Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance
2008: American Law and Economics Review, Distinguished Article Prize
2006–2011: National Science Foundation Research Grant