Anastassia Fedyk received her B.A. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 2010. Prior to joining the Business Economics program at HBS, she spent two years doing research and portflio management in the Quantitative Investment Strategies group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where she worked on sector-specific signals, statistical arbitrage strategies, and regime-switching models. Anastassia's current research interests lie mostly in Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Finance. Her work focuses on optimal incentive structures for individuals with time-inconsistent preferences and overconfidence, and the ways in which financial markets react to news. Anastassia also enjoys teaching, and offers an undergraduate course in Behavioral Economics, for which she has been awarded a Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.
Overcoming Overconfidence: Teamwork and Self-Control
This paper analyzes strategic interactions in the workplace between multiple agents with self-control problems working on a joint task, and the effects of teamwork on workers' productivity. When employees are subject to self-control problems and are overconfident regarding their future self-control, it may be more efficient to assign work to teams of such employees rather than individually. This paper explores conditions under which such teamwork is optimal. In particular, if the employees are homogenous in their propensity to procrastinate, then teamwork is beneficial: while it does not mitigate inefficiency arising from self-control problems themselves, it does help combat the inefficiency due to overconfidence. In the case of heterogenous agents, however, the effects of team-based work assignments are twofold: teamwork mitigates the efficiency loss from overconfidence, but introduces inefficiency by disincentivising the more patient members of the team.
Aggregation Effect in Stale News
We test the market reaction to different types of stale news (news with little novel informational content). Using a unique comprehensive dataset of news articles passing through the Bloomberg terminal between January 2000 and December 2013, we differentiate stale news into two types: ”duplicate” sto- ries that directly restate single previous articles, and ”aggregate” stories that combine content from several previous articles. We document an ”aggregation effect” in reactions to such stale news: the market reacts to the combination of news printed within the same article, even if the individual pieces of news are already common information. Our results are consistent with behavioral theories of conservatism and representativeness heuristic, which suggest that investors might not adequately react to a series of single events, and subse- quently react more strongly when the series of events is juxtaposed in a single news story.
Ms. Fedyk's main research interests lie in understanding how psychological biases affect decision-making in organizations and financial markets. She has studied the optimal scheduling of work assignments when employees have self-control problems, and argued that team-based assignments can be effective when individual employees are overconfident regarding their future self-control. Anastassia is also interested in how cognitive biases impact market reactions to financial news. In joint work with James Hodson at Bloomberg L.P., she has observed that the U.S. equity market reacts to news that has no novel informational content, but aggregates previously available information from several sources.
Behavioral Economics and Applications in Markets (Econ970)
Second-year undergraduate course introducing students to academic research in the field of behavioral economics. The course covers key models of time-inconsistent preferences, overconfidence, social preferences, and projection bias. The students are introduced to theoretical models of these behavioral biases as well as empirical and experimental tests of such models, and applications to a variety of real-world market interactions. The course is intensely discussion-based.
Awards & Honors
Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching:
Awarded a 2013 Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.