Research Centers and Initiatives

Wharton’s 20 research centers and initiatives reflect the diversity and depth of research interests and activity at the School.

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These interdisciplinary centers serve as an intellectual hub for Wharton and Penn faculty, students, and members of the business community, who come together to study and debate key business challenges. Their work generates courses, academic programs, community outreach, published research, and partnerships among academics, government, and industry.

Customer Analytics

Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI)

Eric T. Bradlow and Peter S. Fader, Co-Directors

The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative is the authoritative thought-leading academic research center focused on the data-driven study of individual-level customer behavior. Designed to capitalize on the Wharton School’s longstanding strength in conducting data-driven research, WCAI influences decision making across a plethora of industries from online technology to financial services, e-commerce to non-profits, interactive media to telecommunications, pharmaceuticals to mobile device platforms. More »

Entrepreneurship

Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center

Ian C. MacMillan, Director

The Center focuses on increasing understanding of social wealth creation through new business creation and development, both within existing organizations and via independent start-ups. Touching locations worldwide such as China, South Africa, and the U.S., the Center’s current research topics include large-scale job creation, productivity, and international competitiveness. The Center is also co-home to The Journal of Business Venturing, the most influential publication in the field. More »

Wharton Small Business Development Center

M. Therese Flaherty, Director
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Environmental Management

Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL)

Eric Orts, Director; Joanne Spigonardo, Associate Director

IGEL provides a forum for business leaders with high-level environmental responsibilities to consult together with input from Wharton/Penn faculty and selected experts on best practices, emerging environmental issues, national and international regulation, and the latest research findings on relevant topics. More »

Ethics

Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research

William S. Laufer, Director

Ethical issues in financial services and global business transactions, as well as the relationship between markets and morality, are emphasized in the research sponsored, conducted, and disseminated by the Zicklin Center. This vital resource serves as a focal point for the interaction of business, professional, and academic leaders concerned with responsibility in business. More »

Family Business

Wharton Global Family Alliance

Raphael (Raffi) Amit and Ian C. MacMillan, Co-Directors

The Wharton Global Family Alliance develops in-depth research about family businesses, primarily in the areas of governance, philanthropy, and wealth management. It combines rigorous scholarly research with the practical experience of successful global families to highlight the social impact of families worldwide. It has become the knowledge leader in family business research, offering a robust research agenda and a wide variety of outreach programs to a global audience. More »

Finance

Financial Institutions Center

Franklin Allen, Francis X. Diebold, Richard J. Herring, Co-Directors

Technology, regulatory changes, and globalization are revolutionizing the financial services industry; and the Financial Institutions Center is dedicated to addressing the many important issues that result. Through coursework and communications designed for academics, financial practitioners, and policy makers, the Center helps industry members and students of financial services keep pace with the changes that affect their lives and their work. More »

Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research

Christopher Geczy,  Academic Director

The Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research is dedicated to the advancement of quantitative finance through the creation and dissemination of innovative knowledge. The Jacobs Levy Center aims to enhance understanding of financial markets through the study and promotion of quantitative techniques and methods as applied to such fields as the analysis of domestic and international stocks and bonds, and the management of investment portfolios. More »

Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research

Donald Keim, Director

Through a wide range of financial research, a working paper series, a reprint series, and a highly respected annual seminar, the White Center has established itself as an important source of information to the financial community. Members have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking financial research, and the center provides a number of research grants to Wharton faculty members each year. More »

Global Initiatives

Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership

Eric Orts, Director; Joanne Spigonardo, Associate Director

IGEL provides a forum for business leaders with high-level environmental responsibilities to consult together with input from Wharton/Penn faculty and selected experts on best practices, emerging environmental issues, national and international regulation, and the latest research findings on relevant topics. More »

Penn Wharton China Center

 Z. John Zhang, Director
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Wharton Global Family Alliance

Raphael (Raffi) Amit and Ian C. MacMillan, Co-Directors

The Wharton Global Family Alliance develops in-depth research about family businesses, primarily in the areas of governance, philanthropy, and wealth management. It combines rigorous scholarly research with the practical experience of successful global families to highlight the social impact of families worldwide. It has become the knowledge leader in family business research, offering a robust research agenda and a wide variety of outreach programs to a global audience. More »

Wharton-INSEAD Center for Global Research & Education

Thomas Robertson, Noah Gans, Mauro Guillen

Combining the resources of two world leaders in management education, the Wharton-INSEAD Center for Global Research & Education expands the boundaries of global research through collaborative efforts across the two schools. The Center supports joint publications, faculty and doctoral student exchanges, development of new curricula and global teaching innovations. More »

Health Economics

Center for Health Management and Economics

Lawton R. Burns, Director

By focusing on research and communication, the Center for Health Management and Economics explores how managerial insight and economic incentive can improve the current state of health care provision. The Center fosters interaction between academic and business leaders through hosting annual conferences, publishing a quarterly digest, and supporting a variety of research projects. Works in progress include international price comparison for pharmaceuticals, hospital ownership conversions, and alignment of physician groups and health systems.

Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Daniel Polsky, Executive Director

A formal cooperative venture among the University of Pennsylvania’s schools of medicine, business, nursing, and dental medicine, LDI works to improve public health through multidisciplinary studies on medicine, economics, and social and ethical issues that influence health care. The Institute emphasizes research on the efficient allocation and appropriate use of health care resources and the development of innovative health care delivery systems. More »

Human Resources

Center for Human Resources

Peter Cappelli, Director

Since 1921, the Center for Human Resources (formerly the Industrial Research Unit) has been bringing academics and practitioners together, fostering interaction through multidisciplinary research, regular meetings, and frequent information bulletins. Today, the Center continues to explore the strategic role of human resource management in areas like labor relations, increased productivity, public policy, work and family issues, and workforce education. Wharton’s Council on Employee Relations is the Center’s program for management/employee issues. More »

Council on Employee Relations (formerly Labor Relations Council)

Peter Cappelli, Chairman

Innovation Management

William and Phyllis Mack Institute for Innovation Management

Harbir Singh, Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch Co-Directors; Saikat Chaudhuri, Executive Director

The Mack Institute for Innovation Management is an exclusive network that connects business leaders, researchers, world-class Wharton faculty, and students. At the Institute, thought leaders from across academic disciplines and industries come together to explore how companies survive, compete, and thrive through innovation management. The Institute’s multidisciplinary faculty and researchers develop practical approaches to managing innovation and share this knowledge through thought-provoking conferences, workshops, and publications. The Institute is also home to the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation, an international research consortium focused on the evolving global automotive industry. More »

Insurance and Pensions

Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research

Olivia S. Mitchell, Director

The Boettner Center supports scholarly research, teaching, and outreach on global aging, successful retirement, and public and private pensions. The center also disseminates research findings to international audiences of academics and policymakers as well as supports data development efforts at the University of Pennsylvania. More »

Pension Research Council

Olivia S. Mitchell, Executive Director

The Pension Research Council sponsors interdisciplinary research on the entire range of private pension and social security programs, as well as related benefit plans in the United States and around the world. Council projects are motivated by a need to address the long-term issues that underlie contemporary concerns and seek to broaden public understanding of these complex arrangements through research into their social, economic, legal, actuarial, and financial foundations of privately and publicly-provided benefits. Members of the Council’s Board, appointed by the Dean of the Wharton School, are leaders in the employee benefits field. More »

Wharton Penn/Risk and Insurance Program

Scott Harrington, Director

The Program on Risk and Insurance seeks to promote and disseminate cutting-edge research on risk and insurance at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing on the work of our world-class faculty, students, and partners, we promote interdisciplinary research on empirical, theoretical, domestic, and global topics in the risk/insurance field. Our topics of interest include corporate, government, and household risk management; property/casualty risk and insurance; health and longevity risk management; pensions and health insurance; the management and financing of extreme events, and legal/regulatory aspects of risk and insurance.

Our activities include a working paper series, conferences and workshops, research projects, and white papers on topics of mutual interest. We offer a hub where academics and practitioners can discuss how modern decision-makers think about making and implementing decisions in an uncertain world. The Program was established in 2012 by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Law School, Medical School, and School of Arts and Sciences to promote excellence in risk and insurance research. More »

Management and Leadership

Center for Leadership and Change Management

Michael Useem, Director

Increasingly, organizations worldwide are confronting turbulent markets, demanding shareholders, and discerning customers; and many firms are restructuring to meet these challenges. Their success depends largely on the quality of leadership that exists at all levels of management. Dedicated to building a basic and practical understanding of leadership and change, the Center explores and communicates effective strategies for restructuring. More »

SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management

Jerry Wind, Director

The SEI Center seeks to identify and understand trends in management practice and their impact and to design and implement research programs to meet the future needs of management. The results will provide both educational material for faculty and guidelines for corporate action. The Center conducts a series of workshops, conferences, and lectures for the exchange of knowledge and information to gain a better understanding of how successful enterprises will be organized and managed in the 21st century and what these corporations should do today to prepare themselves. More »

Operations Management

Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management

Morris A. Cohen and Marshall L. Fisher, Co-Directors

Through research and teaching, the Fishman-Davidson Center strives to understand the role of the service sector, the largest component of the economy in all developed countries. The Center’s varied programs include a partnership with industry for sponsored research, a faculty-management forum and information exchange, and a variety of workshops that address an emerging paradigm: It is the services that physical goods provide, and not the goods themselves, that add value to the consumer. More »

Public Policy

Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative

Kent Smetters, Interim Faculty Director; Andrew Coopersmith, Managing Director

The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, with offices both at Penn and in Washington, DC, channels faculty research into independent, timely, data-driven, and nonpartisan policy briefs aimed at advancing policy-makers’ understanding of key economic and social issues. More »

Real Estate

Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center

Joseph E. Gyourko, Director

The Zell/Lurie Center actively promotes and funds cutting-edge, scholarly research of interest to academics, policy makers, and real estate professionals. Results are reported through the acclaimed Zell/Lurie Working Paper Series, the Wharton Real Estate Review, and other scholarly publications. The Center’s education component focuses primarily on the Wharton student body, encouraging student interest through a lecture series, a research competition, the Real Estate Club, and academic fellowships and scholarships. More »

Retailing

Jay H. Baker Retailing Center

Barbara E. Kahn, Director

The Jay H. Baker Retailing Center links retail theory with practice by forming a partnership among world-class researchers, educators, students, and the global leaders of today’s retail industry. More »

Risk Management

Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer, Co-Directors

Low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences, such as natural and technological hazards and industrial risk, are the chief concern of this Center. Through a program of descriptive research (exploring how people interact and make decisions regarding risk) and prescriptive analysis (proposing ways that people and groups can make better risk-related decisions), the Center investigates the effectiveness of incentive systems, insurance, regulation, the communication of risk information, and other strategies. More »

Sports and Business

Wharton Sports Business Initiative

Kenneth L. Shropshire, Director

The goal of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI) is to forge a partnership among top level sports business leaders, Wharton faculty and students to generate and disseminate knowledge about the sports industry through educational programs, strategic corporate partnerships, high-level student consulting assignments, forums, and research. From internships and research to executive education, this Initiative will serve as the center for all sports business related activities associated with the Wharton School. More »