David A. Moss

John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration

David Moss is the John G. McLean Professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE) unit. He earned his B.A. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from Yale.  In 1992-1993, he served as a senior economist at Abt Associates. He joined the Harvard Business School faculty in July 1993.

Professor Moss’s research focuses on economic policy and especially the government’s role as a risk manager. He has published three books on these subjects: Socializing Security: Progressive-Era Economists and the Origins of American Social Policy (Harvard University Press,  1996), which traces the intellectual and institutional origins of the American welfare state; When All Else Fails: Government as the Ultimate Risk Manager (Harvard University Press, 2002), which explores the government’s pivotal role as a risk manager in policies ranging from limited liability law to federal disaster relief; and A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics: What Managers, Executives, and Students Need to Know (Harvard Business School Press, 2007), a primer on macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy.

In addition to these books, Moss has co-edited two volumes on economic regulation and has published numerous articles, book chapters, and case studies, mainly in the fields of institutional and policy history, financial history, political economy, and regulation.  One recent article, “An Ounce of Prevention: Financial Regulation, Moral Hazard, and the End of ‘Too Big to Fail’” (Harvard Magazine, Sept-Oct 2009), grew out of his research on financial regulation for the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel.

Professor Moss has created – and currently teaches – a financial history course in the second year of the MBA program entitled “Creating the Modern Financial System.” The course traces major developments in financial markets, institutions, and instruments from the early eighteenth century to today.

Professor Moss is the founder of the Tobin Project, a nonprofit research organization, and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Recent honors include the Robert F. Greenhill Award, the Editors’ Prize from the American Bankruptcy Law Journal, the Student Association Faculty Award for outstanding teaching at the Harvard Business School (five times), and the American Risk and Insurance Association’s Annual Kulp-Wright Book Award for the “most influential text published on the economics of risk management and insurance.”

May 2012

  1. HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award: Received the HBS Student Association Faculty Teaching Award in 2013. Also received this award in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010.

  2. The Charles M. Williams Award: Received the 2009 Charles M. Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  3. The Robert F. Greenhill Award: Received the 2005-2006 The Robert F. Greenhill Award.

  4. Kulp-Wright Book Award: Winner of the 2004 Kulp-Wright Book Award for When All Else Fails: Government as the Ultimate Risk Manager (Harvard University Press, 2002), presented by the American Risk and Insurance Association for the book considered to be the most influential text published on the economics of risk management and insurance.

  5. American Bankruptcy Law Journal Editors' Prize: Winner of the Editors' Prize for the Best Article of 1999 from American Bankruptcy Law Journal for "The Rise of Consumer Bankruptcy: Evolution, Revolution, or Both" (with Gibbs A. Johnson, spring 1999).