Danielle Li


Danielle Li


Danielle Li is the Class of 1922 Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Her research interests are in the economics of innovation, productivity, and organizational economics.

Her work focuses on 1) understanding how organizations weigh expert advice and quantitative data when making investment decisions and 2) assessing the value of such investments on innovation in the life sciences in particular. For example, a recent project studies how machine learning algorithms impact firm HR practices and worker productivity; another examines whether/how public investments in biomedical research shape private sector pharmaceutical development. 

Danielle is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to coming to MIT, she was an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.

She holds an AB in mathematics from Harvard College and PhD in economics from MIT.  



"Discretion in Hiring."

Hoffman, Mitch, Lisa Kahn, and Danielle Li. Quarterly Journal of Economics. Forthcoming.

"​Promotions and the 'Peter Principle'."

Benson, Alan, Danielle Li, and Kelly Shue. Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol. 134, No. 4 (2019): 2085–2134.

"Public R&D Investments and Private Sector Patenting: Evidence from NIH Funding Rules."

Azoulay, Pierre, Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Danielle Li, and Bhaven N. Sampat. Review of Economic Studies Vol. 86, No. 1 (2019): 117-152. Also NBER Working Paper #20889.

"​The Applied Value of Public Investments in Biomedical Research."

Li, Danielle, Pierre Azoulay, and Bhaven N. Sampat. Science Vol. 356, No. 6333 (2017): 78-81.

"Expertise versus Bias in Evaluation: Evidence from the NIH."

Li, Danielle. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Vol. 9, No. 2 (2017): 60-92.

"Big Names or Big Ideas: Do Peer Review Panels Select the Best Science Proposals?"

Li, Danielle, and Leila Agha. Science Vol. 348, No. 6233 (2015): 434-438.

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