Heidi Williams

  • The Toulouse Network for Information Technology

Professor of Economics

Department of Economics

Stanford University

579 Serra Mall
Office 323
Stanford, CA 94305

(650) 723-9303


Website: Stanford faculty profile

Issues: Innovation and Economic Growth, Patents and Intellectual Property

About Heidi Williams

Heidi Williams is Professor of Economics at Stanford University, and Professor (by courtesy) at Stanford Law School. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and is a co-editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Her research agenda focuses on investigating the causes and consequences of technological change, with a particular focus on health care markets. She studies how intellectual property rules, such as patents, encourage or discourage innovation in health care, from the development of new cancer treatments to the study of specific genes.


Professor Williams is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2015) for her work that looks at the effects of patent policies and technology on medical research and health care. The high-profile annual fellowships, unofficially known as “genius grants,” include an unrestricted award of $625,000. Additionally, she received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2015). In 2016, Professor Williams received the Kauffman/iHEA (International Health Economics Association) Arrow Award for Best Paper in Health Economics. In 2018, The Economist named Professor Williams among "the decade's eight best young economists." She is lauded for her pursuit of a "more rigorous understanding of technological progress in medicine and health care."


Professor Williams has written many articles around her work with the Human Genome Project, and whether or not intellectual property rights influence the pace of biomedical research. These articles have appeared in such publications as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of Political Economy.


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2010
M.Sc., University of Oxford, 2004
A.B., Dartmouth College, 2003

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Recent posts by Heidi Williams