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Raj Chetty wins a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship

Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
November 2012
Raj Chetty wins a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship

Raj Chetty has shown that the impact of talented teachers is huge—and measurable. He is one of the brightest rising stars in the hot field of behavioral economics, and the only Indian-American to win a 2012 Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. Still in his early 30s, Chetty became a tenured professor at Harvard in his 20s. For the next five years, he and 22 other recipients of this “genius” award will each receive $100,000 annually. In one groundbreaking study, Chetty found that talented teachers in elementary schools make a significant difference. One way their students do better than others is by earning much higher incomes as adults.

Other topics Chetty has focused on:
(1) How employment insurance affects the behavior of job seekers.
(2) How dividend tax cuts influence corporate behavior.
(3) How retail sales taxes affect consumer behavior. Adding the sales tax at the end, rather than including it in the price, leads to greater consumption, Chetty found.
(4) How tax policy changes the way people work.
(5) How tax deductions for retirement savings promote individual savings.

Chetty, who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard, belongs to a highachieving family. His father, also an economist, was an advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; his mother is a physician; both his sisters are professors.


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