Primary-affiliated faculty member Heather Schofield focuses on the role of factors such as nutrition, pain, and sleep in shaping economic productivity, cognitive function, and decision-making. Dr. Schofield partners with the Institute for Financial Management and Research to run a behavioral economics lab in Chennai, India. The lab, co-founded by Dr. Schofield and Frank Schilbach, PhD of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, investigates the impact of health factors on economic wellbeing and decision-making, ranging from savings rates to consumption patterns. Active research studies examine whether various aspects of health such as chronic pain, malnutrition, or poor sleep may lower incomes and impede decision-making. This could lead to negative feedback loops and the potential for “poverty traps,” wherein poor health associated with poverty lowers productivity, earnings, and cognitive function, feeding back into poor health and further poverty.
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