Rachel E. Kranton

Duke University

Primary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2021)


Rachel Kranton studies how institutions and the social setting affect economic outcomes.  She develops theories of networks and has introduced identity into economic thinking.  Her research contributes to many fields including microeconomics, economic development, and industrial organization.  Rachel Kranton earned her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984 with a double major in Economics and Middle East Studies. She earned a M.P.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986, and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1993. She has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  She joined Duke University’s faculty in 2007 and is currently serving as Dean of Social Sciences in Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Rachel Kranton has served on the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association and on the Editorial Boards of the American Economic Review and the Journal of Economic Literature and as a Managing Editor of the Economic Journal. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society and was awarded a Chaire Blaise Pascal. 

Research Interests

Rachel Kranton studies how social settings and institutions affect and shape economics. A main area of interest is the economics of networks:  how friendship and social networks shape economic relations and how networks shape industrial structure.  A second main area of interest is the interplay between social identity, groups, and economic relations.  This work considers how people’s identities, and the norms for how people with different identities should behave, affect the economic choices people make, including interactions with others in economic spheres. This research is now moving towards using experimental methods to understand how group identities and group formation processes affect the allocation of income.  These topics fall under many subfields of economics including microeconomics, economic development, and industrial organization.

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