Emily Breza

Doctoral Student in Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Emily Breza is a Ph.D. student in the MIT Economics Department. She studies development economics with a focus on household finance. She is particularly interested in how financial decision making interacts with both social effects and behavioral biases, and how financial product design can better integrate these factors. She expects to graduate in June 2012.

Emily is currently studying the importance of peer effects on microloan repayment following a large scale default episode in the Krishna District of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in 2006. She has shared her findings with Indian policy makers who are currently trying to navigate a large default crisis with similar causes and symptoms.

In collaboration with Arun Chandrasekhar, Breza is working to use social networks to help present-biased savers better accomplish their goals. Developing a more thorough understanding of which types of individuals in a network are best suited to monitor and encourage savers will aid in structuring more effective informal savings devices. In research with Horacio Larreguy, Emily and Arun have shown that network based monitoring has strong effects on the efficiency of outcomes in laboratory experiments.