Great Companies Needed

My good friend and colleague John List has very ambitious summer plans.

We’ve both believed for a long time that the combination of creative economic thinking and randomized experiments has the potential to revolutionize business and the non-profit sector. John and I have worked to foment that revolution through both  academic partnerships with firms as well as a project of John’s called the Science of Philanthropy Initiative (SPI), whose mission is “evidence-based research on charitable giving.”

This summer, John is committed to taking that mission to a whole new level with the first annual University of Chicago Summer Institute on Field Experiments.  The idea is to bring together for one week top economists, business leaders, and NGOs with the goal of developing powerful, creative solutions to the toughest problems faced by firms, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.

In addition to lots of brainstorming and work focused on firms’ problems, there will be presentations by John, me, and other leading scholars. Knowing John, I’m sure there will also be plenty of after-hours activities.

Here’s how the website describes the sort of people we are looking for:

The Summer Institute is looking for practitioner partners who are open to new and bold ideas that will revolutionize the way they develop policy, do business, or provide charitable programming. Practitioner partners should be willing to work closely with researchers to field-test solutions, and must be willing to allow research publications to come from the partnership. We expect the Institute to serve as a catalyst for field-experiment research and strong researcher-practitioner partnerships.

So if you or someone you know might be a good candidate, please apply!  You can find the details on the Institute website.

We can’t wait to meet you and get started!

Sue McEntee

Very exciting! As a company that works with nonprofits of all levels we do our best to level that playing field for nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions. Particularly in the area of fundraising.

I look forward to seeing where this goes and in the results that will surely come from the great discussions and collaborations.

Linchuan Zhang

Will interns/assistants be needed for this event? I might be in the area, and would love to contribute.

Old Guy

They're also looking for faculty collaborators, but their website says they are only looking for "young" scholars. They use the word "young" 6 times. I'm over 40, so I wonder if I can increase my chances of acceptance by saying stuff like "This sounds like a gnarly experience." Perhaps an interesting field experiment could be an audit study examining the prevalence of age discrimination.


Old Guy,
Thank you for making the comment. Based on the amount of "charity" associated with the education deform movement, the real description is profit opportunity.


There is no permutation too odd for economists to construct, if it disparages teachers.
Is the speculation that the U.S. Dept. of Educations was given to the hedge funds (charter schools) and Silicon Valley (Common Core), in return for campaign contributions, a harbinger of what SPI plans to do to another program that benefits the middle class? (Isn't it amusing that the boards of the
education villainthropies, are filled with people from the GDP-dragging financial sector and nary, a person who has actually taught school?)
The oligarchs' pension economists took widely disparate situations, generalized to all fifty states and, then extrapolated out 3 decades, using aberrant 2008 investment data as a basis. Can we assume the same contortions from SPI?
When SPI recruits its gung-ho troupe, be sure to seek applicants from David Axelrod's outfit.
He and his fawning wife, in a CBS interview, mastered the humility of his success- the reduction of the middle class in every state, White family median wealth reduced by 47%, Black and Hispanic wealth, 27%. Then, SPI could look to the neoliberal Harvard Kennedy School, that places its interns with DFER and the Heritage Foundation. JFK would turn over in his grave.
In conclusion, Levitt should read Amitai Etzioni's, "The Moral Ill Effects of Economists".



This is an awesome idea and i like that you guys are pushing for the non-profit sector. Keep up the good work .