Y. Karen Zheng


Y. Karen Zheng

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Yanchong (Karen) Zheng is the George M. Bunker Professor and an Associate Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Her research studies fundamental and emerging operations management (OM) problems with a behavior-centric, data-driven, field-based approach. This approach brings a strong focus on the behavioral process, and supply chain design aspects that are key to enabling empirically-grounded and practically implementable solutions. Her research addresses four general topics: (I) the design and impact of online platforms to enable efficient physical supply chains in resource constrained environments, (II) the role of information transparency in driving positive behaviors, especially for environmental and social responsibility, (III) the impact of a supply chain’s structural properties on the behaviors of various stakeholders, and (IV) the impact of consumer behaviors on retail operations. In addressing these questions, Zheng's research spans various application domains including food and agricultural supply chains, environmentally and socially responsible operations, supply chain information sharing, and pricing and revenue management.

Zheng collaborates with both public and private partners on the ground to ensure that her research leads to positive impacts to society and practice. For example, through a collaboration with the state government of Karnataka, India, her research team has designed and implemented a new two-stage auction on its state-wide online agricultural platform for a major market of lentils. The implementation has led to significant profit gains in the market for over 10,000 farmers during the treatment period. In another project, her team is working with an agri-tech company to design data-driven market intelligence tools to benefit over 26,000 fresh produce farmers in Bihar, India. Recently, she has started collaboration with Fair Trade USA to utilize information transparency to promote the adoption of fair-trade products on both the consumer and the producer sides.

Zheng holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Tsinghua University in China and a PhD from Stanford University.


Karen Zheng wins NSF award

Zheng and Levi win MSOM award

Karen Zheng honored for working paper


"The Chinese Communist Party and Regulatory Transparency in China’s Food Industry."

Gao, Qihua, Yasheng Huang, Yuze Sui, and Y. Karen Zheng. PNAS Nexus. Forthcoming.

"Improving Cash-constrained Smallholder Farmers’ Welfare: The Role of Government Loan Policies."

Pay, Wenhong, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng, Working Paper. October 2022.

"Improving Farmers’ Income on Online Agri-platforms: Evidence from the Field."

Levi, Retsef, Manoj Rajan, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng, MIT Sloan Working Paper 5863-19. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, September 2022.

"Consumer Trust in Social Responsibility Communications: The Role of Supply Chain Visibility."

Kraft, Tim, León Valdés, and Y. Karen Zheng. Production and Operations Management Vol. 31, No. 11 (2022): 4113-4130.

"Artificial Shortage in Agricultural Supply Chains."

Levi, Retsef, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Vol. 24, No. 2 (2022): 746-765. Supplemental Material.

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Solving Food and Agriculture Challenges

Professors Retsef Levi and Karen Zheng discussed their work in addressing food and agriculture issues across the globe at MIT Sloan Reunion 2023.

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Highlights from MIT Sloan Reunion 2023

Over 1,300 Sloanies and their guests returned to campus in early June to attend MIT Sloan Reunion 2023.

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