Research Expertise and Interest

household finance, sustainable and impact investing, entrepreneurship and small business, pension asset management

Research Description

Adair Morse is a professor at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley. Beginning in February 2021, she is on leave from UC Berkeley to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Capital Access in the Office of Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Morse’s research spans multiple areas of finance: household finance, sustainable investing, discrimination and corruption, venture capital, and pension management, with the unifying theme that she tries to choose topics useful for leveling economic playing fields. Recent work includes papers on algorithmic discrimination, small business policy during the pandemic, impact and sustainable investment, pension governance, and communication from the Federal Reserve. Her publications appear in the top economics and finance journals, and she has won a number of top finance research prizes, including the Brattle Prize, the Jensen Prize, prizes at the EFA and WFA, the Moskowitz Impact prize, among others. Many of her various works have been directly implemented into policy, including actions by the U.S. Congress, the Greek Parliament, and many state banking regulators. She holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Michigan.

Morse is a fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law and Business, and Founding Faculty Director of the Sustainable and Impact Finance Initiative. She sits on the Governance and Allocation Committee of the California Rebuilding Fund, a public-private partnership of the State of California to provide affordable small business loans. She is also an Expert Panel Member of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, for oversight of the $1 trillion sovereign fund.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
January 17, 2019
Brenda Richardson
The digital mortgage marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, and while the new way of acquiring loans may make the process more user-friendly, it's not likely to solve problems of bias. As a new study from Berkeley's Haas School of Business found, algorithms used to analyze consumers' finances can carry over biases, resulting in statistical discrimination and pricing variability. "Our results tell us that lenders have pricing schemes that enable them to charge higher interest, and thus take higher profits from minorities, even if the pricing schemes are not intentionally aimed toward minorities," says business and finance professor Adair Morse, a study co-author. "These pricing schemes instead may target borrowers who are not able to shop around more or who choose not to shop around more. If a seller knows he or she can charge a higher price without the customer shopping around, it is good business practice to do so. But this inadvertently may cause discrimination." For more on this study, see our story at Berkeley News.
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