Matthew C. Harding

Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics
Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center
Faculty Fellow in The Energy Initiative
Director of the Duke-UNC USDA Center for Behavioral Economics
Co-Director of the Duke Energy Data Analytics Lab
Associate Director of the Duke Information Initiative
Matthew Harding is an Economist and Data Scientist who uses Big Data to answer crucial policy questions in Energy/Environment and Health/Nutrition. He is an Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and a Faculty Fellow in the Duke Energy Initiative. He also directs the Duke-UNC USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research, which was launched in the fall of 2014.

He aims to understand how individuals make consumption choices in a data rich environment, and quantify the individual and social welfare impact of their choices. Building on a rigorous foundation in econometric methods, he explores the potential of Big Data to estimate better models and predict the choices made by individuals, while taking into account both traditional economic models and recent developments in behavioral economics. He is interested in the potential for Big Data to solve “wicked problems”, complex interdisciplinary problems in public policy by the use of three fundamental levers: prices, behavioral nudges and technology. In particular he is interested in identifying “triple-win” solutions. These are solutions to the most challenging problems of our time that benefit individual consumers, are profitable for firms, and have a large positive impact on society at large. Examples include policies that promote energy efficiency and healthy food choices.


  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007)
  • M.Phil., University of Oxford (UK) (2002)
  • B.A., University College of London (2000)

Mailing Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
Box 90467
Durham, NC 27708

Street / Delivery Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
140 Science Drive
Gross Hall, Suite 101
Durham, NC 27708