People

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Sofie Cairo
Brian Baik

Sofie Cairo

She/Her

Discipline : EconomicsTopic : Innovation & DisruptionLab : Laboratory for Innovation Science at HarvardDiscipline : ManagementRole : Post-Doctoral Fellow
Sofie Cairo

What I do

My mission in life is to address inequality in science and innovation. Who becomes an inventor and who engages in innovation is important for what type of innovation and, in turn, products we have access to. Therefore finding ways to expand the pool of innovators by attracting individuals from underrepresented groups, e.g. low-income, women and immigrants, is likely to generate a greater diversity in the market supply of medicine and techology. Broadly speaking, this will increase our welfare.

What I care about

My passions are science, innovation and diversity. In on-going work, I estimate the productivity penalty of childbearing on mothers and fathers in science. In the first 5 years after birth mothers in STEM see their productivity drop by 20-30% relative to fathers. As productivity gaps are linked with promotions and access to funding, parenthood appears to be one important driver of inequality in science. Luckily, I had my three kids well ahead of this discovery!

How I connect to the D^3 Mission

My research in diversity at the firm level, particularly among managers, informs today's business leaders on how to design promotion processes at the firm to mitigate bias against minority employees and employees from low SES-backgrounds.

The DI is now part of the Digital, Data, and Design (D^3) Institute at Harvard. Read more about this change..