Carnegie Mellon University
June 29, 2015

Linda Babcock To Head Department of Social and Decision Sciences

By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

Linda Babcock, whose research intersects economics and psychology, has been selected to head Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Social and Decision Sciences, effective July 1. Babcock succeeds Paul Fischbeck, who has been interim head for the past year.

Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics, focuses on negotiations and dispute resolution research with specific attention to gender differences in negotiation and how people react when women negotiate. She is the co-author of “Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide,” which was named one of Biz Journals’ 20 Most Important Business Books Ever Written. In it, she describes her research on initiating negotiations and explores the societal factors that hold women back from asking for what they want. She also holds an appointment in the H. John Heinz III College, where she served as acting dean from 2000-2001.

Linda Babcock
Linda Babcock

“Linda Babcock is a perfect person to lead the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at this time. Not only is she a world-famous scholar on negotiation, but she is also an excellent leader. Having worked in both Heinz and Dietrich, she has a broad perspective on CMU. She will strengthen an already excellent department, and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with her in the Dietrich College,” said Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Social and Decision Sciences (SDS) Department is a global leader in behavioral economics and decision sciences research and education. The behavioral decision field was in part founded in SDS thanks to the late Robyn Dawes, who built the department in the 1980s and 1990s to emphasize decision sciences and research that went beyond the social sciences by incorporating economics, political science and psychology.

This foundation combined with the department’s excellent faculty and educational programs are why Babcock believes it continues to impact policy and government in a variety of areas, including risk analysis and communication, consumer decision-making, conflicts of interest and risk perception in financial markets, poverty and inequality, climate change and health care.

"Linda Babcock is a perfect person to lead the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at this time. Not only is she a world-famous scholar on negotiation, but she is also an excellent leader." — Richard Scheines

“Our faculty are working on problems of great importance to society,” Babcock said. “They are also training undergraduate students to think and analyze across disciplines because problems do not come to you inside a discipline like economics or psychology. You need various perspectives to solve problems.”

She added that the department’s graduate students are “trained to have intellectual responsibility and bring new insights to problems.”

Babcock joined the CMU faculty in 1988. She is the founder and faculty director of the Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS), one of the founders of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research, and the founder of the Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women. She is a member of the Russell Sage Foundation Behavioral Economics Roundtable and has served on the economics review panel for the National Science Foundation. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, the Harvard Business School and the California Institute of Technology.

Her research on women and negotiations has been discussed in hundreds of newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and abroad and she has appeared on numerous television and radio stations discussing her work. She has received numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about Babcock