Ray Kluender

Ray Kluender

Assistant Professor
Entrepreneurial Management Unit, Harvard Business School
Ray Kluender Headshot

Ray Kluender is assistant professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and faculty affiliate at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 with degrees in Economics, Mathematics, and Political Science. He received his PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018 and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Household Finance at the National Bureau of Economic Research for the 2018-2019 academic year before joining HBS.

Kluender studies the causes of financial distress among American households and how government, private insurance, and credit markets should function to insure those risks. His research involves both large-scale field experiments and frontier methods applied to existing “big” datasets.

His research has focused on the economic consequences of hospitalizations and the consumer bankruptcy system, with the goal of clarifying and quantifying the tradeoffs for some of America’s most critical policy debates.

One ongoing field experiment has, in partnership with the charity RIP Medical Debt, randomly forgiven more than $100 million of medical debt in collections for more than 75,000 Americans in order to better understand the consequences of financial distress on other financial and health care decision-making. 

In other ongoing research, Kluender studies the potential for financial and insurance technology to improve the financial situations for the majority of American households which are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Some current projects leverage partnerships with Upsolve (a company that provides free bankruptcy filing support for those who might otherwise be unable to afford a lawyer) and Hugo Insurance (a company offering prepaid daily auto insurance contracts to address the problem of unaffordable auto insurance).

Ray was born and raised in Madison, WI and lives in Boston, MA.