- Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy
- Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management, The Wharton School
- Harvard College, BA, Economics
- Harvard School of Public Health, MS, Population and International Health
- Harvard University, PhD, Business Economics
Heather Schofield, Ph.D., is assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. Dr. Schofield is an economist studying development, health, and behavioral economics. Two primary ongoing areas of research include the role of health human capital (nutrition, pain management, adequate sleep) in economic productivity, cognitive function, and decision-making and the role of financial and social incentives in promoting healthy behaviors. Dr. Schofield completed her Ph.D. in Business Economics, MS in Global Health and Population, and BA in Economics at Harvard University.
Please see Dr. Schofield’s personal webpage for links to recent working papers and publications.
Sleepless in ... Seattle? Which city gets the least shuteye?
Among development economists, sleep isn’t a mainstream subject. Schofield wants to change that, and as a result, the lab run by Schofield and colleagues in Chennai is pioneering a study into the impact of improved sleep on poverty reduction. So far, the lab has found that participants sleep an average of five and a half hours a night. By distributing sleep mats and earplugs, it has managed to increase night-time sleep by an extra 30 minutes. Yet if less sleep is associated with lower wages, shouldn’t people in Tokyo, where average incomes are higher, be getting more sleep than those in Chennai?
Six Research Projects at Penn Bolstered Through Quartet Pilot Competition Funding
The recipients and their projects include: -Heather Schofield of the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School -- “The Impact of Pain Reduction on Productivity and Cognitive Function in a Low-income Population,” which measures pain’s impact on the lives of women in Chennai, India, specifically when it comes to economic productivity, decision-making and health outcomes.
Why Mental Bandwidth Could Explain the Psychology Behind Poverty
In her recent paper, “The Psychological Lives of the Poor,” Schofield, a professor in the department of medical ethics and health policy at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and a operations, information, and decisions professor at Wharton, and her co-authors — economists Frank Schilbach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University — reviewed research on bandwidth and how it may affect the psychology behind poverty. Specifically, Schofield says, they posit that poverty may reduce the available cognitive bandwidth to the point where one’s ability to make better choices could be severely reduced.
A Bad Night's Sleep Might Do More Harm Than You Think
Just a few steps from Anjalai's spot is the office of an unusual social science lab that is testing an intriguing theory: Could the sleep deprivation experienced by so many poor people without a proper home actually be keeping them trapped in poverty? Heather Schofield, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, helped found the lab in Chennai along with MIT economist Frank Schilbach five years ago as a kind of base camp for on-the-ground research on the root causes of poverty.