Neeru Paharia Associate professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

Talk Title: "The Ethics of Consumer Choice"
Wednesday, March 9 @ 5:00pm: Stackhouse Theater

"Consumption is one of the drivers behind significant world problems. The fashion industry alone contributes 10% of global carbon emissions. In this talk, we will consider the psychology of consumer behavior, and explore psychological strategies to enable more sustainable consumption."

A primary focus of Neeru Paharia's research is political consumption, or the conditions under which consumers are likely to wield their buying power to express their political views and enact social change. A secondary focus examines how people signal their social status with alternative status signals, such as using well-resourced (or "top dog") brands or communicating how busy they are. She utilizes experimental methods to collect real-world data with an aim to impact practice and have a positive influence on business and society.

Paharia's research papers have been published in such outlets as the Journal of Marketing and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Two papers were recognized as finalists for The Journal of Consumer Research Best Paper Award: "Conspicuous consumption of time: When busyness at work and lack of leisure time become a status symbol" (2020) and "The Underdog Effect: The marketing of disadvantage and determination through brand biography" (2014).

Paharia worked as an associate consultant at McKinsey and has cofounded several community-oriented social networking sites in education, research, and music, including Peer 2 Peer University (, and She was a member of the founding team and executive director of Creative Commons, which now has over one billion openly licensed works on the internet. Her work has been profiled in a number of prominent media outlets including the New York Times, NPR's Morning Edition, and the Washington Post. It was featured in a recent episode of NPR's Hidden Brain.

Paharia earned a M.S. in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in marketing from Harvard Business School. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Paharia served as the research director for the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.