About Me

My name is Theodore L. Caputi, and I am a full-time research assistant for Professor Amanda Pallais at Harvard Economics and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 2017, and I graduated first in my class with a Master of Public Health (First Class Honours) from University College Cork as a Mitchell Scholar in 2018. I am affiliated with the University of Florida Drug Policy Institute; Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School’s Health Equity Research Lab; Penn’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics; and University of California, San Diego’s Center for Data-Driven Population Medicine.


I am interested in both behavioral public health and the economic analysis of health policy for substance use disorders and addiction. I research the factors that lead adolescents and young adults to indulge in risky behaviors and how we can effectively and efficiently provide high-quality health care for people with substance use disorders. I hope to further develop the intersection of behavioral public health policy and rigorous economics research.

Most of my published papers are available free-of-charge on this site. My work has been featured in journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA); JAMA Internal Medicine; American Journal of Preventive Medicine; American Journal of Public Health; and Tobacco Control.

Service and Community Work

I am dedicated to the translation of research into practice. I’ve served on the Drug Free America Foundation National Advisory Board, the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission Board of Directors, the Treatment Research Institute Institutional Review Board, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Prevention Alliance Board of Directors.

My work in substance use prevention has taught me the importance of community programs that engage young people. I am the founder and past-president of Penn Leadership Training Institute, a non-profit organization that connects over 100 undergraduate volunteers with students in 13 Philadelphia public schools for weekly leadership lessons. My research has shown that leadership education can help adolescents avoid risky behaviors such as substance abuse.


I am fortunate to have been mentored by internationally-recognized addiction and public health experts, including Dr. Tom McLellan (University of Pennsylvania & Treatment Research Institute), Dr. Keith Humphreys (Stanford University), Dr. John W. Ayers (University of California, San Diego), Dr. Mark Dredze (Johns Hopkins University), and Dr. Kevin Sabet (University of Florida).