Rajiv Sethi Headshot

Rajiv Sethi

Professor of Economics


Economics, Human Rights


1004 Milstein Center



Rajiv Sethi is a Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is currently a Joy Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and has previously held visiting positions at Microsoft Research in New York City and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review and Economics and Philosophy, and is a founding associate editor of Collective Intelligence.

His current research deals with information and beliefs.

In collaboration with Brendan O’Flaherty, he has examined the manner in which stereotypes affect interactions among strangers, especially in relation to crime and the criminal justice system. These include interactions between victims and offenders, officers and suspects, prosecutors and witnesses, and judges and defendants. Their book, Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice was published by Harvard University Press in 2019.

With Muhamet Yildiz, he has explored communication among individuals who consider each other to have valuable information, but also believe that others are biased to different degrees in the manner in which they process information. In deciding where to seek information, therefore, people face a trade-off between sources that are well-informed (in the sense of having precise information about the world) and those that are well-understood (in the sense of having transparent biases). In previous work they have examined public disagreement and private information flows, and in current work are exploring the implications of correlated biases within social groups.

Rajiv is a contributor to CORE (Curriculum Open-Access Resources for Economics), an initiative aimed at the production of high-quality resources for the teaching of economics, distributed free of charge worldwide under a Creative Commons license.

  • B.S. in Mathematics, University of Southampton
  • Ph.D. in Economics, New School for Social Research

  • Introduction to Economic Reasoning
  • Coding Markets
  • Seminar: Stereotypes, Crime and Justice
  • Mathematical Methods for Economists (Columbia/Econ): Video Playlist

Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime and the Pursuit of Justice, Harvard University Press, 2019.

Selected Papers

“Extreme weather events and military conflict over seven centuries in ancient Korea” (with Tackseung Jun), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2021.

Crime and Punishment in Divided Societies, in Difference without Domination: Pursuing Justice in Diverse Democracies, edited by Danielle Allen and Rohini Somanathan, University of Chicago Press, June 2020.

“Retrospectives: Friedrich Hayek and the Market Algorithm” (with Sam Bowles and Alan Kirman), Journal of Economic Perspectives, July 2017.

Communication with Unknown Perspectives (with Muhamet Yildiz), Econometrica, November 2016.

Urban Crime (with Dan O'Flaherty), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, July 2015.

Credit Market Speculation and the Cost of Capital (with Yeon-Koo Che), American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, November 2014.

Group Inequality (with Sam Bowles and Glenn Loury), Journal of the European Economic Association, February 2014.

Public Disagreement (with Muhamet Yildiz), American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, August 2012.

Inequality and Network Structure (with Willemien Kets, Garud Iyengar and Sam Bowles), Games and Economic Behavior, September 2011.

Homicide in Black and White (with Dan O'Flaherty), Journal of Urban Economics, November 2010.

Statistical Discrimination with Peer Effects: Can Integration Eliminate Negative Stereotypes? (with Shubham Chaudhuri), Review of Economic Studies, April 2008.

Metacognitive Control and Optimal Learning (with Lisa Son), Cognitive Science, July 2006.

Inequality and Segregation (with Rohini Somanathan), Journal of Political Economy, December 2004.

Preference Evolution and Reciprocity (with E. Somanathan), Journal of Economic Theory, April 2001.

Stability of Equilibria in Games with Procedurally Rational Players, Games and Economic Behavior, July 2000.

The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences (with Levent Koçkesen and Efe A. Ok), Journal of Economic Theory, June 2000.

The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use (with E. Somanathan), American Economic Review, September 1996.

Endogenous Regime Switching in Speculative Markets, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, March 1996.

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