The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

The Voltage Effect with John List Reception and Lecture

How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale

February 28
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom in the Union RSVP
John List

Please join us for a reception at 5 pm, followed by a talk at 6 pm.

“Be it a medical breakthrough, a policy initiative, a product innovation, or a social movement, translating an idea into widespread impact depends on one thing only: whether it can be replicated at scale.”

This is the foundational idea behind John A. List’s newly released book, The Voltage Effect. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, and internationally best-selling co-author of The Why Axis.

The Voltage Effect examines the science of scaling and how, “by understanding the science of scaling, we can drive change in our schools, workplaces, communities, and society at large.” While “scale” has become a favored buzzword in the startup world, the concept extends beyond just accumulating more users or capturing more market share; rather than an art, scaling is a science. “Scalability is critical to everything from expanding a small business, to narrowing the national achievement gap, to delivering billions of doses of a vaccine, to making a new technology widely affordable—and much more.”

Co-sponsored with the Department of Economics

John A. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago.

His research focuses on combining field experiments with economic theory to deepen our understanding of the economic science. In the early 1990s, List pioneered field experiments as a methodology for testing behavioral theories and learning about behavioral principles that are shared across different domains. To obtain data for his field experiments, List has made use of several different markets, including charitable fundraising activities, the sports trading card industry, the ride-share industry, and the education sector, to highlight a few. This collective research has lead to collaborative work with several different schools and charities, as well as firms including: Lyft, Uber, United Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Humana, Sears, Kmart, Facebook, Google, General Motors, Tinder, Citadel, Walmart and several non-profits.

His research includes over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and several published textbooks. He co-authored the international best seller, The Why Axis, in 2013, and is author to a new book, The Voltage Effect, slated to come out in early 2022.

List was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2015. List received the 2010 Kenneth Galbraith Award, the 2008 Arrow Prize for Senior Economists for his research in behavioral economics in the field, and was the 2012 Yrjo Jahnsson Lecture Prize recipient. He is a current Editor of the Journal of Political Economy.

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