Professor Ulrike Malmendier elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Ulrike Malmendier, a pioneering behavioral economist, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers.

Malmendier, the Edward J. and Mollie Arnold Professor of Finance at the Haas School of Business and a UC Berkeley professor of economics, is known for her groundbreaking insights into how the personality traits of business leaders influence corporate strategies.

“It’s such an honor to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a wonderful career milestone,” Malmendier said. “I am proud to be in the company of such a prestigious group of scholars, musicians, writers, artists, and politicians.”

Malmendier was one of nine UC Berkeley faculty members elected to the academy this year.

To date, Malmendier has received numerous honors as a pioneer in the field of behavioral economics, including the prestigious Fischer Black Prize for the Top Finance Scholar under 40 in 2013, and the 2015 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in her native Germany.

She also receiveed the UC Berkeley 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor the university bestows.

With her election to the academy this year she joins the novelist Colm Tóibín, La Opinión Publisher and CEO Monica Lozano, jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, former Botswana President Festus Mogae, and author and spokesperson for autism Temple Grandin.

Berkeley scholars have long been pioneers in behavioral economics, starting with Nobel laureates George Akerlof and Daniel Kahneman and carrying on with Haas professors incuding Terrance Odean and Malmendier, who joined the Berkeley-Haas faculty in 2010.

“This is the birthplace of behavioral finance; Berkeley invented it,” Malmendier said.

Malmendier has produced a series of path-breaking papers with colleagues that identify the characteristics and pitfalls of hubris at all levels: the overconfidence and often subpar results of “superstar” CEOs; the overzealous bidders on e-Bay who pay more at auctions than they would in stores; and even the exercise enthusiasts whose optimism is exploited by fitness centers.

Five other Haas faculty members are members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences: Philip Tetlock, who holds the Haas School’s Lorraine Tyson Mitchell Chair II in Leadership and Communications; Prof. Laura Tyson, director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact; Professor Hal Varian, chief economist at Google; Oliver Williamson, professor emeritus; and Janet Yellen, professor emeritus and current Federal Reserve Chair.