Yuchtman is also exploring novel methods for measuring ideological beliefs that people may refuse to disclose. In Pakistan, Yuchtman and his colleagues used a back-door approach to gauge anti-American fervor in young Pakistani men. Instead of asking the men directly, the researchers asked participants to take an unrelated survey and offered a “bonus” of 100 rupees — roughly one-fifth of a day’s wages — if they anonymously checked a box that expressed “gratitude” to the U.S. government. About one-quarter of the men turned down the money.
In a very different attempt to gauge unspoken political views, Yuchtman co-authored a study of election-season pressures on criminal sentencing decisions by judges in Washington state. The study found that sentences became about 10 percent longer as election day drew near, and that judges at election time were 50 percent more likely to exceed the standard sentencing guidelines.
Noam Yuchtman earned a BA in economics at Williams College in 2005 and Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in 2010. He joined the Haas School of Business in 2010. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the 2013 Earl Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching.