William R. Kerr

Associate Professor and Marvin Bower Fellow

Harvard Business School

Harvard University

Soldiers Field
Boston, Massachusetts 02163

(617) 496-7021


Website: Harvard faculty profile

Issues: Innovation and Economic Growth

About William R. Kerr

William Kerr is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches the Entrepreneurial Manager course in the first year of the MBA program.  He also teaches in the HBS doctoral program, Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship, and Executive Education offering.  In 2011, he is co-chair of the TEM and Launching New Ventures courses.  He has received Harvard's Distinction in Teaching award and was designated the HBS MBA Class of 1961 Fellow.

Bill’s research focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation.  One research strand examines the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in US technology development and commercialization, as well as the subsequent diffusion of new innovations to the immigrants’ home countries.  A second research strand considers agglomeration and entrepreneurship, with special interest in how government policies aid or hinder the entry of new firms and cluster formation.  A final interest area is entrepreneurial finance and angel investments.

Bill was awarded a Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research in 2009.  He is a Faculty Research Fellow of the NBER (Productivity, Entrepreneurship), the Innovation Policy and the Economy forum, and the Center for Economic Studies.  He serves on the Entrepreneurial Finance roundtable of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and the NSF's Expert Panel for Science and Engineering Human Resources.  Bill received his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT and his B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Bill has worked with firms worldwide.  Past projects include business plan development for start-up ventures in Hong Kong, establishing a corporate entrepreneurship and CVC unit within a Korean chaebol, and evaluating the acquisition of early-stage communications companies for a US multinational entering the Asian market.  He also advised the governments of South Africa and Singapore on the economic benefits from telecom market deregulation.


Professor Kerr provided TAP with insights into his current work. Read the interview:
Unlocking the Path to Prosperity with Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A Conversation with Professor William Kerr


B.S., Systems Engineering, University of Virginia
Ph.D., Economics, MIT