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Karen B. Clay

Associate Professor of Economics Program Chair, Master of Public Management

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Karen Clay is an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. Dr. Clay’s received a B.A. in Economics (Highest Honors) and Mathematics from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. Prior to coming to Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Clay was an Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Toronto. She has also been a visitor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, the California Institute of Technology, and Stanford Law School.

Dr. Clay’s research examines the growth of the American economy over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This research investigates how legal institutions, political institutions, and technological change have shaped economic activity.

Selected Publications

The Evolution of a Nation: How Geography and Law Shaped the American States (with Daniel Berkowitz). Forthcoming, 2012, Princeton University Press.

Tariff Choice with Consumer Learning and Switching Costs (with Ronald Goettler), Forthcoming, Journal of Marketing Research

Migrating to Riches? Evidence from the California Gold Rush (with Randall Jones). Journal of Economic History, v68 (December 2008): 997-1027.

The Effect of Judicial Independence on Courts: Evidence from the American States (with Daniel Berkowitz), Journal of Legal Studies, v35, n2 (June 2006): 399-440.

American Civil Law Origins: Implications for State Constitutions (with Dan Berkowitz), American Law and Economics Review, v7, n1 (Spring 2005): 62-84

Order Without Law? Property Rights During the California Gold Rush (with Gavin Wright) Explorations in Economic History, v42, n2 (April 2005): 155-183

Bigger may not be Better: An Empirical Analysis of Optimal Membership Rules in Peer to Peer Networks (with Atip Asvunund, Ramayya Krishnan, and Michael Smith) Information Systems Research, v.15, n2 (2004): 155-174.

Designing a Better Shopbot (with Alan Montgomery, Kartik Hosanager, and Ramayya Krishnan), Management Science, v50, n2 (February 2004): 189-206.


Ph.D., Economics, Stanford University

Representative Publications

Working Papers