Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Negotiation, Organizations & Markets
Harvard Business School
Katherine Coffman is an assistant professor of business administration in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets unit. Before joining HBS, she was an assistant professor of economics at The Ohio State University and a visiting assistant professor of economics at Stanford University.
In her research, Professor Coffman uses experimental methods to study individual and group decision making, with a focus on gender issues. Recognizing that innovative ideas and good answers are valuable only if they are put forward, Professor Coffman employs controlled laboratory settings to investigate the factors that predict whether a person will decide to volunteer ideas, and to measure the effect of these decisions on outcomes. Ultimately, her research can help organizations redesign processes to enhance the contributions of all participants.
In her research, Professor Coffman has investigated the intersection of gender and decision making in a number of situations. In a randomized experiment involving groups of two, she found that individuals are much less willing to contribute ideas in areas that are stereotypically outside of their gender’s domain. The results of another experiment demonstrate that women are more likely than men to skip questions on multiple-choice tests when they are unsure of the answer, a decision that has a significant negative effect on their test scores. She has complemented such experiments with theoretical work on stereotype formation.
Her work has been published in Management Science, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Social Choice and Welfare, and it has been cited in such media outlets as Pew Research, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, The Atlantic, and Time. She is an associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association.
Professor Coffman holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University and a BA in mathematics and economics from Williams College.
Faculty webpage: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=879706
Personal website: https://sites.google.com/site/kbaldigacoffman/