Rachel Kranton studies how institutions and the social setting affect economic outcomes. She develops theories of networks and has introduced identity into economic thinking.
Rachel Kranton earned her Ph.D. in Economics at the University California, Berkeley in 1993. She has taught at the University of Maryland and she joined Duke's faculty in 2007. She has been awarded fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in the Social Interactions, Identity, and Well-Being program. In 2010 Rachel Kranton was awarded a Chaire Blaise Pascal, and she was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2012.
Rachel Kranton's research contributes to many fields including microeconomics, economic development, and industrial organization.
In Identity Economics, Rachel Kranton and collaborator George Akerlof, introduce a general framework to study social norms and identity in economics. Building on fifteen years of research, the book studies not only race and gender, but also identity in schools and the workplace.
In the economics of networks, Rachel Kranton develops formal models of strategic interaction in different economic settings. Her work draws on empirical findings and integrates new mathematical tools to uncover how network structures influence economic outcomes. Along with collaborators Yann Bramoullé and Deborah Minehart, she has studied buyer-seller networks, risk-sharing networks, and network public goods.
Rachel Kranton has a long-standing interest in development economics and institutions. She focuses on the costs and benefits of networks and informal exchange, which is economic activity mediated by social relationships rather than markets. Along with Anand Swamy, she has studied the historical impact of legal and other reforms on economic activity.