2019 Annual Conference: Speakers

Radical Mechanisms 10 Years after the Financial Crisis | February 21-22, 2019 | Speaker Biographies

Ananya Chakravarti
Ananya Chakravarti Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown University

Ananya Chakravarty is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University. She is a member of the board of directors for RadicalxChange, which convenes a community of activists, artists, entrepreneurs and scholars committed to challenging long-established social institutions to dramatically expand competitive, free and open markets and create widely shared prosperity and social cooperation. Her responsibility within this community is to promote ideas and research related to this vision across a variety of academic disciplines. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University of Chicago and her A.B. in Economics from Princeton University in 2005.

Rachel Cummings
Rachel Cummings Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech

Rachel Cummings is an Assistant Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her research interests lie primarily in data privacy, with connections to machine learning, algorithmic economics, optimization, statistics, and information theory. Her work has focused on problems such as strategic aspects of data generation, incentivizing truthful reporting of data, privacy-preserving algorithm design, impacts of privacy policy, and human decision-making. Cummings received her PhD in Computing and Mathematical Sciences from the California Institute of Technology, her MS in Computer Science from Northwestern University, and her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Southern California. She is the recipient of a Google Research Fellowship, a Simons-Berkeley Research Fellowship in Data Privacy, the ACM SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention, the Amori Doctoral Prize in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, a Caltech Leadership Award, a Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science, and the Best Paper Award at the 2014 International Symposium on Distributed Computing.  Cummings also serves on the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council's Privacy Committee.

Lucas Geiger, Cofound, Wireline
Lucas Geiger, Co-founder, Wireline

Lucas Geiger is a blockchain evangelist and serial entrepreneur. Previously he founded a data analytics company and was a founding partner at El Area Ventures, after working in investment advisory in Europe, Asia Pacific, and South America.

Robin Hanson
Robin Hanson Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Robin Hanson is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and received his PhD in 1997 in social sciences from Caltech. He joined George Mason's economics faculty in 1999 after completing a two-year post-doc at U.C Berkeley. His major fields of interest include health policy, regulation, and formal political theory.  Hanson's interests include economics, philosophy, political theory, alternative institutions, and the economics of science fiction.

Zoë Hitzig
Zoë Hitzig Ph.D. Graduate Student, Harvard University

Zoë Hitzig is a PhD student in Economics at Harvard. Her research seeks to understand how economic institutions can be designed to better reflect the preferences and values of the people they affect. In particular, she aims to use mechanism design to more thoroughly incorporate community input in the provision of public goods and services. She is also interested in methodological questions raised by contemporary economic theory and practice––for example, she has written on economists' roles in redesigning public school allocation algorithms and FCC spectrum auctions, and on the use of big data in economic research. She holds degrees from Harvard (A.B. in Mathematics, Philosophy) and Cambridge (MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science).

Nicole Immorlica
Nicole Immorlica Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research New England

Nicole Immorlica is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research New England. Immorlica's research lies broadly within the field of algorithmic game theory. Using tools and modeling concepts from both theoretical computer science and economics, she hopes to explain, predict, and shape behavioral patterns in various online and offline systems, markets, and games. Her areas of specialty include social networks and mechanism design. Immorlica received her PhD from MIT in Cambridge, MA in 2005 and then completed three years of postdocs at both Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA and CWI in Amsterdam, Netherlands before accepting a job as an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL in 2008. She is the recipient of the Sloan Fellowship, the NSF Career Award, and the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship. She joined the Microsoft Research New England Lab in 2012.

Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan Co-founder, Mechanism Labs

Aparna Krishnan is a Thiel Fellow and the co-Founder of Mechanism Labs - an open source blockchain research lab. She works on cryptography research. She was the Head of Education and Executive VP at Blockchain at Berkeley and founded the Education Department at Blockchain at Berkeley. She has taught the world's largest university accredited blockchain course at University of California, Berkeley.

Ernest Liu
Ernest Liu, Postdoctoral Researcher, Princeton University

Ernest Liu studies the implications of weak financial institutions for economic growth, allocation of resources, and economic development. He has done work that uses production network theory to understand industrial policies, specifically the strong government support for upstream industries that are widely adopted in developing economies. His other work shows how low long-term interest rates encourage market concentration and slow down productivity growth; how financial market imperfections not only distort economic allocations via underinvestment, but may have much amplifying effects because of the interactions across economic sectors or because the relationships between borrowers and lenders create underdevelopment traps. He received his PhD in Economics from MIT in 2017.

Ioana Marinescu, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
Ioana Marinescu, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Ioana Marinescu is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She studies the labor market to craft policies that can enhance employment, productivity, and economic security. To make an informed policy decision, it is crucial to determine the costs and benefits of policies. My research expertise includes antitrust & the labor market, the universal basic income, unemployment insurance, and employment contracts.

John Mercurio
John Mercurio, Chief Communications Officer, Bitfury

John Mercurio is the Acting Chief Communications Officer for the Bitfury Group. Before joining Bitfury, Mercurio served in senior strategic roles at Purple Strategies and Burson-Marsteller, where he built and executed communications campaigns and provided senior counsel on crisis communications. Mercurio also served as Executive Editor of the National Journal’s Hotline, where he also wrote a weekly column on politics.During his time at the National Journal, he was a political commentator who appeared frequently on all major TV networks and cable news channels. He also participated in the U.S. State Department’s Public Diplomacy program, through which he spoke to groups around the world. Mercurio also served as CNN’s political editor, where he conducted and managed the network’s reporting on U.S. politics and government and provided on-air analysis for the CNN News Group. Mercurio was also a politics reporter with Roll Call, the Washington Times and the Journal Newspapers. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism.

Karsten Muller
Karsten Müller, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University

Karsten Müller studies finance, macroeconomics, and political economy. One line of his work focuses on the causes and consequences of the allocation of credit in the economy. Using novel historical data, he has documented a striking shift in lending away from firms towards households all over the globe. He has also shown that the types of financial regulations put in place after the financial crisis of 2007-08 are subject to powerful electoral cycles. He has also studied the effects of inefficient bankruptcy courts and banking deregulation on credit contracts in the US. His second stream of research – focusing on social media, populism and hate crime – has been featured widely in international news outlets. Müller earned his Ph.D. in Business and Management from the University of Warwick in 2018.

Matt Prewitt, Deputy Director, RadicalxChange
Matt Prewitt, Deputy Director, RadicalxChange

Matt Prewitt is Deputy Director of RadicalxChange Foundation. He is also a writer, programmer, and lawyer. He has worked as a plaintiff's side antitrust and consumer class action litigator, and as a federal law clerk.

Steve Randy Waldman
Steve Randy Waldman interfluidity.com

Steve Randy Waldman writes about finance, economics, and sometimes politics at interfluidity.com and develops tooling for the Ethereum blockchain.

Anthony Lee Zhang
Anthony Lee Zhang Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Anthony Lee Zhang is a PhD student in Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has a working paper, Depreciating Licenses, with Glen Weyl, January 2018. He received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Devon Zuegel
Devon Zuegel Engineer, GitHub

Devon Zuegel is an engineer and writer based in San Francisco. She works at GitHub designing and building tools for the open source economy, and she is involved in San Francisco land use policy. Previously, Devon was Editor in Chief at the Stanford Review and worked on blockchain lending protocols at Bloom.



Glen Weyl
Glen Weyl Researcher, Microsoft Research Visiting Scholar, Princeton University

E. (Eric) Glen Weyl uses ideas from political economy to develop social technology for widely-shared prosperity and social cooperation. These ideas have inspired a social movement, RadicalxChange, that convenes activists artists, entrepreneurs and researchers using market mechanisms to create a richer and more equal society. Weyl helps catalyze this collaboration as Founder and Chairman of the RadicalxChange Foundation, as he continues his research as Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York City. He also teaches a course as a Visiting Research Scholar and Lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on his recent book with Eric A. Posner, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, which summarizes many of these ideas. He received his A.B. in Economics, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in 2008 from Princeton University. Weyl then spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and three years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago before joining Microsoft. He is a Sloan Research Fellow 2014-2019.

Atif Mian
Atif Mian

Atif Mian is John H. Laporte, Jr. Class of 1967 Professor of Economics, Public Policy and Finance at Princeton University, and Director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance at the Woodrow Wilson School. He holds a bachelors degree in Mathematics with Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. Prior to joining Princeton in 2012 he taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago Booth School of business. Mian's work studies the connections between finance and the macro economy. His latest book, House of Debt, with Amir Sufi builds upon powerful new data to describe how debt precipitated the Great Recession. The book explains why debt continues to threaten the global economy, and what needs to be done to fix the financial system. House of Debt is critically acclaimed by The New York TimesFinancial TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Atlantic among others.  Mian's research has appeared in top academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of EconomicsJournal of FinanceReview of Financial Studies, and Journal of Financial Economics.