Dr. Matthew Weinzierl

Matt Weinzierl is the Joseph and Jacqueline Elbling Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  His research focuses on the optimal design of economic policy, in particular taxation, with an emphasis on better understanding the philosophical principles underlying policy choices. Recently, he has launched a set of research projects focused on the commercialization of the space sector and its economic implications. He also serves on the editorial boards of Social Choice and Welfare and National Tax Journal. Prior to completing his PhD in economics at Harvard University in 2008, Professor Weinzierl served as the Staff Economist for Macroeconomics on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and worked in the New York office of McKinsey & Company.  

Professor Weinzierl has written on a range of topics in optimal taxation and optimal economic policy more generally. His most recent projects, associated with the idea of Positive Optimal Tax Theory, focus on identifying and formalizing the goals for tax policy that hold sway among the public, political and economic leaders, and leading tax thinkers, and then characterizing the implications of using those objectives in the analysis of optimal taxation. In other work, he has explored the potential value of age-dependent taxation, the dynamic feedback effects of tax changes, the use of fiscal policy to counteract recessions, the proper price-indexing of Social Security, and the impact of differences in beliefs and tastes across individuals on optimal tax design.  His research has been published in Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Public Economics, American Economic Journals: Economic Policy, Journal of Monetary Economics, Economic Journal, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, National Tax Journal, and Journal of Economic Perspectives, and has been discussed in the Economist, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.  In 2008, he was selected to participate in the Review of Economic Studies tour.

Professor Weinzierl serves as Course Head for the required first-year course Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE). He is also the creator of an elective course at HBS entitled "The Role of Government in Market Economies," or RoGME. For that course, he has written case studies on public education, national health insurance, welfare reform, immigration, and a variety of topics in taxation. Professor Weinzierl also serves as the Chair of MBA Community Standards and the Conduct Review Board at HBS, overseeing the Community Values that inform and support daily life at the School.

Recently, Professor Weinzierl launched a set of research projects focused on the commercialization of the space sector and its economic implications. He has authored case studies for the classroom on Blue Origin, Planetary Resources, Astroscale, and other companies and topics within the commercial space sector, and has published an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives introducing academic economists to key economic aspects of the commercialization of human activities in space. 

Professor Weinzierl is married to Coventry Edwards-Pitt, an author of books on how affluent families can use their resources to pursue meaningful and healthy relationships and lives. Their family lives in the western suburbs of Boston and spends its free time enjoying music, the outdoors, and ice cream.

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