Economist Robert H. Frank joined the Lakeside Upper School community Wednesday, Dec. 18 for the BMGI Speaker Series on Economics 2019-2020. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. He spoke with students about his groundbreaking work in behavioral economics and his upcoming book, “Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work.”
Frank began the day watching startup team presentations in the social and business entrepreneurship class, and then discussed his research on luck and success with the class. He was interviewed by Tatler editors Isabelle Q. ’20 and Eric H. ’20, before joining microeconomics students for lunch.
During Upper School assembly, Frank spoke to students about his most recent work on peer pressure, noting that “social environments are really important and influence what we do.” Using the ideas that influence is a two-way street and “behavioral contagion” occurs in peer groups, he explored ways to positively influence social environments through public policy and personal action.
Frank closed his visit with a Q&A for students, where he fielded questions on private sector altruism, tax evasion, the likelihood of a carbon tax, how he persuades others of his views, and more.
*As of 2018, the BMGI Speaker Series on Economics focuses on student events exclusively at the donor’s request. This offers opportunity to attract the most distinguished speakers due to increased scheduling flexibility.