Benjamin J. Keys
Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
Co-Director, Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy, University of Chicago
Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research
Contact Information
The Harris School
University of Chicago
1155 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: (773) 834-2784
Fax: (773) 702-0926


Ben Keys studies issues related to household finance, labor economics, and urban economics. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, he worked as a staff economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the Division of Research and Statistics. His recent research has focused on subprime mortgages, credit cards, personal bankruptcy, student loans, the unbanked, and alternative financial services.

In 2014, Keys was named Co-Director of the Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy, which seeks to bring Chicago ideas to bear on housing-related legal and policy debates through scholarly research, external engagement, and educational programming. As part of this mission, the Initiative formed a Working Group of scholars from across University divisions and disciplines to share research, spur collaboration, and publicize Chicago research on housing. In 2015, Keys was named a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in 2016 was named a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

His recent publication, "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, awarded Best Paper at the Mitsui Conference on Credit Risk, Citigroup Best Paper Award at the Centre for Analytical Finance Summer Research Conference, and EuroBank Best Paper Award at the European Finance Association Conference. He was the recipient of the 2009 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association Dissertation Award, and received honorable mention for the 2009 Upjohn Institute Dissertation Award. In 2014, his paper "Failure to Refinance" received the CoreLogic Academic Research Council (CLARC) Excellence Award.

Keys holds a B.A. in economics and political science from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. Before graduate school, he worked at the Brookings Institution as a senior research assistant.