Peter Tufano 
          Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management 
          Harvard Business School


Harvard Business School
Baker Library 359
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, Massachusetts 02163
Phone (617) 495-6855

Background Information

Official HBS Directory Listing
Official HBS biography

Harvard Innovation Lab

Research and Teaching

Consumer Finance

Mutual Funds

Financial Engineering, Financial Innovation and Risk Management

MBA Teaching Materials


Harvard Information

Charities to Consider


On December 7, 2010, Prof. Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, announced that Tufano would become the Peter Moores Dean of the Sa´d Business School as of July 1, 2011.


Tufano is the Founding Co-Chair of the Harvard Innovation Lab, a new facility in Allston that will serve as the nexus for entrepreneurial activity for students across Harvard University and will support small business development in Boston.


Consumer finance is an important field that studies the markets, institutions, products and services that deliver financial services to households.  Tufano's work involves a combination of empirical research, field-based research, and course development. Working with a nonprofit he cofounded, he also is engaged in the development and testing of financial products and services to better serve low and moderate income consumers. 

Consumer Finance - Harvard MBA/JD Elective:  In January 2009, Howell Jackson of Harvard Law School (HLS) and Tufano launched a new course on Consumer Finance.  This course is jointly listed at HBS and HLS.  For a course description, click here. The course also is discussed in the September 2009 Alumni Bulletin as well as in a November 2009 Forbes article entitled "Harvard Business School's New Curriculum: Everyday Finance."

Consumer Financial Services - HBS Executive Education:   HBS will be offering an executive education program entitled "Consumer Financial Services: New Models for Success" again in 2011.  Check back for dates and details.

NBER Household Finance Working Group:  Nick Souleles (Wharton), Brigitte Madrian and Tufano co-organize a working group at the NBER to study issues of household finance.

Boston Area Consumer Finance Workshop:  Researchers from the Boston Federal Reserve Bank and Harvard University have created a periodic seminar series in the Boston area for researchers interested in consumer finance.  If you are interested in attending, click here.

SSRN Household Finance e-journal:  In 2010, Nick Souleles and Tufano launched a new SSRN e-journal on Household Finance.

Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D Fund): D2D Fund is a nonprofit whose mission is to use financial innovation to help low-income families build assets and successfully engage the financial service sector in these projects.  Tufano co-founded D2D Fund and serves as its Chairman.   Some of the links below are to research done by Tufano's colleagues at D2D.  

Research and Course Development

Regulation of Consumer Finance Businesses

  • Survey of Americans' Attitudes Toward Regulation of Consumer Finance Businesses.   In October 2010, in conjunction with the global market research firm TNS, Tufano conducted a nationwide survey of Americans regarding their judgment of how well financial regulations protected their interests and which business practices might deserve more scrutiny by regulators or improvement by businesses.  The results will be forthcoming in late fall 2010.

  • “The Regulation of Consumer Financial Products: An Introductory Essay with Four Case Studies” with John Campbell, Howell Jackson and Brigitte Madrian (February 2010).   A condensed version of this piece, entitled “The Regulation of Consumer Financial Products: An Introductory Essay with a Case Study on Payday Lending. ” is  forthcoming in Joint Center on Housing Studies/Brookings Volume 2011.

General Savings and Consumer Finance

Savings Bonds  

In our work on savings programs, we have been investigating how the US Savings Bond program could be reinvigorated to support savings by low-income families.  The papers below represent some of these findings.  We were delighted when President Obama announced on Labor Day weekend 2009 that the Administration will permit all refund recipients to elect to receive some of their refunds in the form of savings bonds.

Prize-Linked Savings 

Prize-linked savings programs give depositors the opportunity to win prizes in lieu of earning interest. These programs have been used since 1694 and are used around the world, but have only recently been introduced in the US. 

  • Freakonomics Radio Story on Prize Linked Savings (November 2010) in two parts.  Part 1

  • “Making Savers Winners: An Overview of Prize-Linked Savings Products” with Melissa S. Kearney, Jonathan Guryan, and Erik Hurst.  Forthcoming in Pension Research Council book, 2010.

  • "Saving Whilst Gambling: An Empirical Analysis of U.K. Premium Bonds," American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 98,2  (May 2008.)321-326.  (pre-press version).  
  • "Consumer Demand for Prize-linked Savings: A Preliminary Analysis,"  with Nick Maynard and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve.  This paper details the results of market research done in conjunction with Centra Credit Union in Indiana to explore the likely American demand for prize linked savings.
  • "First National Bank's Golden Opportunity," with Shawn Cole, Daryl Collins and Daniel Schneider.  This HBS case study details the decision facing FNB bank as it was deciding whether to launch a prize-linked savings program in South Africa.
  • D2D Fund, in conjunction with a coalition of partners, has helped to launch Save-to-Win, a prize-linked savings program offered by eight credit unions in Michigan in 2009. (For a preliminary report on the program to date, click here.) This is expanding to many more Michigan credit unions in 2010, and a number of states have adopted the Michigan laws that permit credit unions to adopt this product.  

Splitting Tax Refunds

For low-income American families, tax refunds (often made possible by the Earned Income Tax Credit) can be an important source of saving.  The work Tufano and his partners have done has demonstrated that the savings potential of refunds can be enhanced with changes in IRS practices.  We are pleased that this work informed the policy debate and the IRS's subsequent adoption of Form 8888, which allows for the splitting of refunds to multiple destinations.

Household Risk and Financial Fragility

Working with Annamaria Lusardi, Daniel Schneider and the market research firm TNS, we have conducted a multi-country study in the summer/fall of 2009 measuring the extent to which households perceive themselves to be exposed to small financial shocks, their ability to cope with these shocks, and the coping mechanisms used. 

  • TNS Press Release on Financial Fragility
  • Households @ Risk:  A Cross-Country Study of Household Financial Risk” with Annamaria Lusardi and Daniel Schneider (January 2010)

  • "The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Usage" with Annamaria Lusardi and Daniel Schneider (October 2009)

Financial Attitudes and Skills of Consumers

  • "Leveraging Admissions Tests to Increase Financial Savvy"  Chronicle of Higher Education, October 31, 2010.  This piece proposes a simple way to make financial education much more salient to high schoolers, their parents and their schools:  Make financial problems the context for the math and analytical reasoning sections of college admissions tests. 
  • "Debt Literacy, Financial Experiences, and Indebtedness" with Annamaria Lusardi.  A new study, done in conjunction with the market research firm TNS, that looks at the relationship between peoples' understanding of debt, how they transact, and their self-assessed ability to handle their current levels of debt.  (Rev. May 2008)
  • "Teach Workers about the Perils of Debt." with Annamaria Lusardi, Harvard Business Review 87, no. 11 (November 2009). This short article discusses the state of household debt literacy and actions that can be taken to enhance consumers' financial skills.
  • D2D ZMET Report on Savings.  ZMET (the Zalman Metaphor Elicitation Technique) is an innovative market research technique designed to uncover consumers' thoughts and feelings using visual images.  This report, prepared in conjunction with the Filene Research Institute, examines how low to moderate income families think and feel about savings.
  • D2D has been working to advance the concept of "Financial Entertainment," which embeds financial skill development into commercial-quality media.  The first experiment is Celebrity Calamity, a videogame in which the player takes on the role of the financial manager for a financially-challenged celebrity.  For information on this project and preliminary results on its efficacy, click here.  Other D2D titles, such as Groove Nation, the first dance budgeting game, can be found at



Selected Consumer Finance Research Organizations


An important stream of work in the consumer finance field has been directed at understanding one of the most popular tools for household savings and investing: mutual funds.


Another stream of Tufano's work deals with corporate applications of financial engineering in the form of security design, risk management and real options.  


  • Finance2:  Beginning in 2000, HBS launched a new year-long required finance course for all of its MBA students.  This new course was an area-wide effort coordinated by Rick Ruback and Peter Tufano, and it created a large number of new case materials. Many of the case materials designed for the inaugural launch of the course are available in Case Problems in Finance (McGraw Hill, 2004).



There are many wonderful nonprofits and charities that deserve your support.  If you are interested in advancing D2D Fund's agenda, click here. 

In each of the summers of 2007 through 2010, Tufano rode the Pan-Mass Challenge, a 163 mile bike ride to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer research.  100% of all donations go to the Jimmy Fund.  If you would like to support the Jimmy Fund through the PMC, click here.





Updated 12/8/2010