Alma Cohen joins Harvard Law as Professor of Empirical Practice

Alma CohenAlma Cohen will join the Harvard Law School in August as a Professor of Empirical Practice. She comes to the law school from the Tel-Aviv University Department of Economics, where she served as an Associate Professor (with tenure). She has also been serving as a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Traphagen Senior Fellow in Law and Economics at Harvard Law School.

Cohen is an applied empirical economist, who has done influential work in the areas of law and economics, risk and uncertainty, regulation and corporate governance. As of the end of 2013, she was ranked by the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) as among the top 10 academics with a law school appointment in all fields in term of citations to her work, which has attracted more than 1,000 citations by research papers on SSRN. Her research has been published, among other places, in the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Law and Economics, the California Law Review and the Yale Journal of Regulation.

“Alma Cohen is globally recognized for her superb empirical studies of risk, regulation, corporate governance, executive compensation, and insurance.  She is also a gifted collaborator, bringing her expertise in applied economics to a wide range of interdisciplinary topics.” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School. “We have hoped to recruit her for some time, having benefitted from her work as visiting lecturer and a senior fellow at Harvard Law School; I am so delighted to welcome her to the faculty.”

Cohen’s work developed corporate governance indices, and methodologies for estimating risk preferences and identifying adverse selection, that have been widely used by subsequent studies. Her empirical studies have also identified the effects of a wide-ranging set of legal rules and arrangements – including mandatory seat belt laws, accident liability laws, state antitakeover statutes, staggered boards, executive pay arrangements, NBA rules, insurance contracts, and governmental subsidies for childbearing.

“Harvard Law School provides an incredibly rich environment for empirical study of legal rules, institutions and arrangements,” said Cohen. “I am excited to be joining the Law School. I very much look forward to working and collaborating with its faculty and to teaching and interacting with its students.”

Cohen received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 2002. She also holds an M.Sc in Management and Operations Research and a B.Sc. in Mathematics from Tel-Aviv University.