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John  List

John List

Chief Economist at Uber, Professor of Economics & Author of The Why Axis


Can economics be passionate? Can it influence people and what really matters to them day-in and day-out? And help us understand their hidden motives in everyday life? John List is a revolutionary. His ideas and methods for revealing what really works in addressing big social, business and economic problems gives us new understanding of the motives underlying human behavior. Read More >

As the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, List is globally recognized for his innovative use of field experiments in economics. He has also now been the Chief Economist at Uber for over a year. In 2010, he was named as one of the Top 7 "New" Economists in the world by Forbes. In 2012, List received the Yrjo Jahnsson Lecture Series prize. Ten of the previous nineteen recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in economics. Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt and Nobel Laureate Gary Becker have both predicted that John List will win a future Nobel Prize.

List uses field experiments to offer new insights in areas from education to market behavior, from charitable giving to the environmental economics, from discrimination to incentive programs, from behavioral economics to marketplace effects on corporate and government policy decisions. His pioneering approach is to embed himself in the factories, schools, communities, and offices where people work, live, and play. Then, through large-scale field experiments conducted “in the wild,” he observes people in their natural environments without them being aware that they are observed. The results of these experiments have revealed ways to close the gap between rich and poor students; to stop the violence plaguing inner-city schools; to decipher whether women are really less competitive than men; to correctly price products and services; and to discover the real reasons why people discriminate.

List received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming. List also spends time at Tilburg University, where he is a distinguished visiting scholar and Resources for the Future, where he is a University Distinguished Scholar. From May 2002 to July 2003, he served as Senior Economist, President’s Council of Economic Advisors for Environmental and Resource Economics. Anyone working in business, politics, education, or philanthropy will find List’s talks extremely educational. Using The Why Axis as support, he teaches audiences how to reach a deeper, nuanced understanding of human behavior, and a better understanding of what motivates people and why. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Science of Philanthropy

Speech Topics

Why there is a Racial Achievement Gap & How to Correct It

Why People Give & How You Can Keep Donors Committed to Your Cause

Why Yesterday’s Business Manager is an Endangered Species

How to Leverage Behavioral Economics to Become More Successful than Your Competition

How to Build a Healthier Culture

Bold Ideas to Improve American Education