Research Scientist, MIT Sloan & Director, Applied Cooperation Team
Erez (pronounced ‘EH-rez’) Yoeli is a research scientist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he directs the Applied Cooperation Team. His research focuses on altruism: understanding how it works and how to promote it. He collaborates with governments, nonprofits, and companies to apply these insights to address real-world challenges like increasing energy conservation, improving antibiotic adherence, reducing smoking in public places, and promoting philanthropy.
Erez teaches the undergraduate Game Theory course at Harvard and regularly publishes theoretical and applied academic research articles. He shares his research highlights through frequent talks, including TedXCambridge 2018, and through featured articles in the New York Times, the Economist, Quartz, and Behavioral Scientist. His research has also been profiled nationally and internationally in publications like TIME and the Huffington Post.
Erez received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Before founding the Applied Cooperation Team, Erez was an economist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and served as an expert witness in cases against companies that defrauded consumers. In an earlier, ‘pre-economist’ life, he was a classical percussionist. He enjoys spicy food, hiking, and spending time with his two very cuddly cats.
When someone asks for advice, I try to understand what would be good for them, and not just respond with what would be good for myself.
When trying to motivate people to do good, ask, ‘how can I give folks the most credit possible for their good deeds?’
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
Boston is filled with “wicked” smart people who fill my days with fascinating conversations. At night, there’s a rich music scene, enough good restaurants, and, when the weather isn’t awful, plenty of nice places to take a walk. On the weekends, I love to drive to one of the many cute New England towns, go for a hike in the White Mountains, or hit up Crane’s Beach.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Pho, though unfortunately, most Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. don’t open ‘til lunch. A close second: nearly every Saturday morning, I meet my friends Sarah and Conor at a nearby farmer’s market. We beeline it to the coffee stand for a cortado from Dave, before sauntering over to the pop-up bake shop, for a pretzel croissant or a babka from Rae.
What are you doing at:
10:00 AM – Arriving at the office, after a CrossFit workout and a half hour or so on the piano.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
7:00 PM – Some nights, I’m hanging out with friends, having dinner or a beer. Some nights, my close collaborator Moshe and I are working together, hunched over my laptop, struggling to eke out another paragraph of prose on a research paper.
11:00 PM – Winding down. Listening to an audio book while I do a bit of cooking or fold laundry.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
An espresso in the morning is helpful. One after lunch is all-too-often critical.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
My most used app is probably Audible. Or perhaps SimpleNote, which I use to keep everything from To Do lists to random scraps of prose for our team’s research papers. My favorite social media app is Marco Polo, which I use to chat with my brothers and my mom.
What should everyone try at least once?
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
London. So much history, so well preserved.