Brigitte Madrian

Brigitte Madrian photo

Brigitte Madrian

Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Brigitte Madrian is the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, she was on the faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Harvard University Economics Department.

Madrian’s research focuses on behavioral economics and household finance, with an emphasis on household saving and investment behavior. Her work in this area has impacted the design of employer-sponsored savings plans in the U.S. and has influenced pension reform legislation both in the U.S. and abroad. She earned her B.A. in economics from Brigham Young University and Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Professional Achievements

  • Two-time recipient of the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award (2002 and 2011).
  • Recipient of the Retirement Income Industry Association Achievement in Applied Retirement Research Award.
  • Research associate and co-director of the Household Finance working group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


July 2018
Automatic enrollment helps boost retirement plan contributions, but its ultimate impact on plan balances is unclear.
September 2005
Employer-sponsored savings plan are only a useful tool for helping employees save for retirement to the extent that employees actually participate.
January 2013
Annuities are not popular despite providing valuable insurance against outliving one’s savings.