Friday, January 9, 2015


Sendhil Mullainathan to Deliver Raben Lecture on February 23

Sendhil Mullainathan, a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a Cornell Tech Fellow, will deliver the 2014–2015 John R. Raben/Sullivan & Cromwell Fellowship Lecture at Yale Law School on February 23, 2015, at 4:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge. The event is open to the public.

Mullainathan’s lecture, titled “Against Against Prediction: How Machine Learning Can Improve the Legal System,” will discuss how machine learning techniques can be used to analyze data.

“Used correctly, these tools can positively improve decisions in nearly every legal context. Their potential is so large exactly because behavioral economics highlights the fallibility of human predictions,” Mullainathan said. His talk will use bail decisions to illustrate this point. He will also argue against objections to prediction based on a few key misconceptions.

Mullainathan’s work on behavioral economics includes the impact of poverty on mental bandwidth, whether CEO pay is excessive, using fictitious resumes to measure discrimination, showing that higher cigarette taxes makes smokers happier, and modeling how competition affects media bias. His latest research focuses on using machine learning and data mining techniques to better understand human behavior.

He co-authored Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much and helped co-found ideas42, a nonprofit to apply behavioral science, as well as the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a center to promote the use of randomized control trials in development.

The John R. Raben/Sullivan & Cromwell Fellowship Lecture brings to the Law School a leading expert in securities law or the accounting for business enterprises, who delivers a public lecture at the School. To attend the talk, RSVP to marianne,dietz@yale.edu before February 17, 2015.