Heidi Williams Crowned 'Genius' For Work On Invisible Incentives For Medical Cures

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Heidi Williams, in her classroom at M.I.T.
Heidi Williams, in her classroom at M.I.T.

Heidi Williams is an economist at MIT. And now, she's a certified genius. In her work, she looks at how invisible incentives built into the economy affect the kind of cures produced by the medical industry. She's also tries to figure out how those hidden incentives often counter social values. She has looked at how intellectual property laws affect genome research, and how the structure of clinical studies affects the development of cancer drugs.


Heidi Williams, assistant professor of economics at MIT and winner of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.


Bloomberg Business: What Cures Are We Missing Out On?

  • "Companies' incentives don't always align with what's best for the broader public. Williams used real-world data to understand these kinds of distortions in the economy and measure something that’s typically very hard to detect: what we’re missing out on."

The Boston Globe: Area Researchers Win MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants

  • "Heidi Williams was just about to leave her office to pick up her infant son at day care — she is still technically on parental leave — when her phone rang. 'Are you sitting down?' the caller asked."

This segment aired on October 12, 2015.


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