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Katherine Milkman, PhD

Katherine Milkman, PhD

James G. Dinan Professor

Co-Director, Behavior Change for Good Initiative
Secondary Faculty Appointment, Division of Health Policy, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy CHIBE-affiliated faculty member


Katy Milkman is the James G. Dinan Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a secondary appointment at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her research explores ways that insights from economics and psychology can be harnessed to change consequential behaviors for good, such as savings, exercise, student achievement, vaccination and discrimination. To that end, she co-founded and co-directs the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2021 Katy was named one of the world’s top 50 management thinkers and the world’s top strategy thinker by Thinkers50. The New York Times also named her bestselling book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be one of the eight best books for healthy living in 2021.

Katy is the former president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, a TEDx speaker, an APS Fellow, and the host of Charles Schwab’s popular behavioral economics podcast, Choiceology. She has published dozens of research articles in leading academic journals such as Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and her findings are regularly covered by major media outlets. She has worked with or advised numerous organizations on behavior change, including The White House, Google, Walmart, Humana, the U.S. Department of Defense, 24 Hour Fitness and the American Red Cross. 

Katy frequently writes op-eds about topics related to behavioral science, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist and Scientific American.  She is a repeated recipient of excellence in teaching awards from Wharton’s undergraduate and MBA divisions, and in one particularly proud moment was voted Wharton’s “Iron Prof” by the school’s MBA students for a PechaKucha-style presentation of her research. 

Katy earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University (summa cum laude), where she studied Operations Research and American Studies, and her PhD from Harvard University where she studied Computer Science and Business.