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James Choi

James Choi

Professor of Finance

Professor Choi’s research spans behavioral finance, behavioral economics, household finance, capital markets, health economics, and sociology. His work on automatic enrollment has led to changes in pension plan design around the world. In other papers, he has investigated topics such as the influence of social identity on economic preferences and outcomes, investor ignorance of mutual fund fees, the effect of deadlines and peer information on savings choices, how retail investor sentiment in China affects stock returns, and the use of subtle planning prompts to increase preventive health behaviors.

Professor Choi is a two-time recipient of the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for outstanding scholarly writing on lifelong financial security. He is a Co-Director of the Retirement and Disability Research Center at the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Associate Editor at the Journal of Finance, a member of the American Finance Association’s Governance Committee and Ethics Committee, and a TIAA Institute Fellow. He has served on the FINRA Investor Issues Committee and a Technical Expert Panel for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


  • PhD, Harvard University, 2005
  • AB, Harvard University, 1998


Working Paper

Optimal Illiquidity

J. Beshears, J. J. Choi, C. Clayton, C. Harris, D. Laibson, and B. C. Madrian
2021 Working Paper


  • TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award, 2018 (with J. Beshears, D. Laibson, and B.C. Madrian), 2011 (with D. Laibson and B.C. Madrian)
  • 40 Under 40 Most Outstanding MBA Professors, Poets & Quants, 2016
  • NBER Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Aging and Health Economics, 2003-2005
  • Harvey Fellow, Mustard Seed Foundation, 2003-2005
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2000-2003
  • Hoopes Prize for excellence in Harvard undergraduate research, 1998
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard University, 1998