Joshua Lev Krieger - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Joshua Lev Krieger

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Entrepreneurial Management

Josh Krieger is an assistant professor of business administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, teaching The Entrepreneurial Manager to first-year MBA students.

Josh’s research focuses on R&D strategy and the economics of innovation. His work examines project selection decisions, R&D competition, and how firms can benefit by learning from their competitors’ failures. His current work explores how firms and research organizations adjust their R&D efforts in response to new information and resources.

Josh has a BA in economics and government from Cornell University.  He received his PhD at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was a recipient of the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research, and a National Bureau of Economic Research Predoctoral Fellow in the International Network on the Value of Medical Research. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked in economic and litigation consulting at Cornerstone Research in Boston.


Journal Articles
  1. The Impact of Personal Genomics on Risk Perceptions and Medical Decision-Making

    Joshua Lev Krieger, Fiona Murray, J. Scott Roberts and Robert C. Green

    Keywords: economics; policy; medicine; psychology; Economics; Policy;


    Krieger, Joshua Lev, Fiona Murray, J. Scott Roberts, and Robert C. Green. "The Impact of Personal Genomics on Risk Perceptions and Medical Decision-Making." Nature Biotechnology 34, no. 9 (September 2016): 912–918.  View Details
  2. The Career Effects of Scandal: Evidence from Scientific Retractions

    Pierre Azoulay, Alessandro Bonatti and Joshua Lev Krieger

    We investigate how the scientific community's perception of a scientist's prior work changes when one of his articles is retracted. Relative to non-retracted control authors, faculty members who experience a retraction see the citation rate to their earlier, non-retracted articles drop by 10% on average, consistent with the Bayesian intuition that the market inferred their work was mediocre all along. We then investigate whether the eminence of the retracted author and the cause of the retraction (fraud vs. mistake) shape the magnitude of the penalty. We find that eminent scientists are more harshly penalized than their less distinguished peers in the wake of a retraction, but only in cases involving fraud or misconduct. When the retraction event had its source in “honest mistakes,” we find no evidence of differential stigma between high- and low-status faculty members.

    Keywords: Reputation; Perception; Status and Position; Outcome or Result;


    Azoulay, Pierre, Alessandro Bonatti, and Joshua Lev Krieger. "The Career Effects of Scandal: Evidence from Scientific Retractions." Research Policy 46, no. 9 (November 2017).  View Details
Working Papers
  1. Developing Novel Drugs

    Joshua Krieger, Danielle Li and Dimitris Papanikolaou

    We analyze firms' decisions to invest in incremental and radical innovation, focusing specifically on pharmaceutical research. We develop a new measure of drug novelty that is based on the chemical similarity between new drug candidates and existing drugs. We show that drug candidates that we identify as ex-ante novel are riskier investments, in the sense that they are subsequently less likely to be approved by the FDA. However, conditional on approval, novel candidates are, on average, more valuable―they are more clinically effective; have higher patent citations; lead to more revenue and to higher stock market value. Using variation in the expansion of Medicare prescription drug coverage, we show that firms respond to a plausibly exogenous cash flow shock by developing more molecularly novel drug compounds, as opposed to more so-called "me-too" drugs. This pattern suggests that, on the margin, firms perceive novel drugs to be more valuable ex-ante investments, but that financial frictions may hinder their willingness to invest in these riskier candidates.

    Keywords: Research and Development; Investment; Decision Choices and Conditions; Pharmaceutical Industry;


    Krieger, Joshua, Danielle Li, and Dimitris Papanikolaou. "Developing Novel Drugs." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-056, January 2018.  View Details
  2. Trials and Terminations: Learning from Competitors' R&D Failures

    Joshua Lev Krieger

    I analyze project continuation decisions where firms may resolve uncertainty through news about competitors' failures as well as through their own results. I examine the trade-offs and interactions between product-market competition and technological learning from parallel R&D projects in the setting of drug development. Leveraging the biopharmaceutical industry's unique characteristics to overcome barriers to measuring the project-level response to competitor news, I employ a difference-in-differences strategy to evaluate how competitor exit news alters a firm's own project discontinuation decisions. The findings reveal that technological learning dominates competition effects. Firms are most sensitive to competitor failure news coming from within the same market and technology area—more than doubling their propensity to terminate projects in the wake of this type of information. I also find evidence that firms overreact to failure news from closely related competitor projects. Finally, I investigate project- and firm-level characteristics that drive persistent differences in decision-making performance.

    Keywords: Research and Development; Projects; Failure; Decision Making; Learning;


    Krieger, Joshua Lev. "Trials and Terminations: Learning from Competitors' R&D Failures." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-043, November 2017.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. The 'Wonder Drug' That Killed Babies

    Joshua Lev Krieger, Tom Nicholas and Matthew Preble

    In the early 1960s, a popular drug taken by patients worldwide for a range of maladies was found to cause severe birth defects and other health problems in babies born to mothers who had taken it during a certain stage of fetal development. As many as 10,000 children may have been affected. Just a handful of these children were born in the U.S., where safety concerns were raised by Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, the medical officer handling the thalidomide application at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, the company hoping to distribute the product in the U.S. had already given away thousands of pills for doctors to run clinical trials. Once the full extent of the global thalidomide crisis became generally known, the U.S. Congress significantly reformed the country’s drug approval process to ensure that all new products were both safe and effective. It subsequently became much more arduous for pharmaceutical firms to bring new drugs to market. Some critics therefore argued that the new regulations were actually detrimental, as they prevented or delayed good drugs from coming to market. What was the right balance between consumer protection and access to potentially life-saving drugs?

    Keywords: regulation; Business and Government Relations; Business and Community Relations; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Product Marketing; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Business History; Health; Government Legislation; Corporate Accountability; Ethics; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Pharmaceutical Industry; Public Administration Industry; United States; United Kingdom; Australia; Germany; Europe;


    Krieger, Joshua Lev, Tom Nicholas, and Matthew Preble. "The 'Wonder Drug' That Killed Babies." Harvard Business School Case 818-044, November 2017.  View Details