Faculty profile: Erin Krupka

Erin Krupka

Erin Krupka

Erin Krupka has been an assistant professor at the School of Information since 2009. Previously, she worked as a research associate in Bonn, Germany for the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), where she is still an affiliate.

Krupka has a BA in comparative literature from Wheaton College, a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and an MS and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in behavioral decision research. She was awarded UMSI’s “Outstanding Teacher Award” for 2010-11.

Research

Krupka is an experimental behavioral economist who explores the ways in which social and environmental factors influence behavior, using both laboratory and field experiments. Her work identifies conditions that lead to the emergence of norms, identifies factors that affect the transmission of norms, distinguishes conditions under which norms are related or distinct from social preferences and identifies the mechanisms that produce norm compliance. She has also developed a new tool — a Norms Elicitation Protocol — that social scientists across disciplines, as well as practitioners, can use to identify norms in a range of applications.

This work is of broad value to those who seek to understand and shape behavior in arenas such as consumer, civic, or corporate behavior. She partners with leading companies in the U.S. and abroad to investigate the transmission of norms and the consequences of failed internalization of company norms. Her research on social norms suggests why individuals might engage in behaviors that appear inconsistent with self-interest and identifies modifications that can be made to decision contexts that can change behavior significantly. This work is directly relevant to the incentive-centered design of information systems, an approach pioneered by faculty at the School of Information, and has appeared in journals such as Management Science and the Journal of the European Economic Association.

Teaching

Taught in 2012:
SI 320: “Theories of Social Influence”
SI 534: “Theories of Social Influence”
SI 617/717: “Choice Architecture”

In the classroom, Krupka aims to be dynamic, engaging, and challenging. Her style of teaching can best be described as a conversation with students. The most important principle Erin brings to her teaching is a belief in practice and application (no matter the material or subject). She believes that student-led seminar style presentations (and a critique of them) are an invaluable learning tool, where students have to field sometimes random, and sometimes difficult, questions. Thus, even if a student’s knowledge of the materials fades or his interest wanes, the process of acquiring knowledge, synthesizing it, and summarizing it for others in either a public speaking format or in written format remains a relevant experience for all walks of professional and public life.

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