Faculty Profile: Anderson’s Keith Chen

Keith Chen, Associate Professor of Economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, was a serial learner growing up. But while regular schooling was a bit challenging early in his life, Chen’s habit to binge learn turned out to be a blessing in the long run.

“I think I was drawn to academia largely because it felt like a profession where habitual and obsessive restlessness wasn’t going to be debilitating,” he said.Chen’s restless pursuit of knowledge has led to research topics that blur traditional disciplinary boundaries and help bring “unorthodox tools to bear on problems at the intersection of economics, psychology and biology.”

“For example, I’ve been studying a surprisingly strong relationship between how a person’s language encodes future time, and how easily they invest in future-oriented behaviors like saving, (not) smoking and safe sex,” Chen said.

According to Chen, UCLA Anderson is a perfect place for higher learning because of the collective intellectual hunger of the faculty and students.

“The faculty at Anderson are an incredibly broad set of thinkers,” he says. “I think it’s more intellectually diverse than any other business school in the country.”

In the classroom, Chen teaches core strategy and behavioral economics; fields that appeal to him because of their accessibility.

“Economics falls into a kind of intellectual sweet spot,” he said. “Unlike a lot of fields, the fundamental problems aren’t esoteric minutia that take decades of study to even state. They’re understandable by almost anyone with even a little economics training. We have a lot to learn even about very basic economic questions; there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Head to Chen’s UCLA Anderson page for more on his research interests and publications.


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