Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Finance and the Entrepreneurial Management Units. He graduated from Yale College with a Special Divisional Major which combined physics with the history of technology. He worked for several years on issues concerning technological innovation and public policy, at the Brookings Institution, for a public-private task force in Chicago, and on Capitol Hill. He then earned a Ph.D. from Harvard's Economics Department.
Much of his research focuses on the structure and role of venture capital and private equity organizations. (This research is collected in The Venture Capital Cycle, MIT Press, 1999 and 2004, and The Money of Invention, Harvard Business School Press, 2001.) His new book, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed—and What to Do About It, is being published in the Fall of 2009 by Princeton University Press. He also examines the impact of intellectual property protection, particularly patents, on the competitive strategies of firms in high-technology industries. (His book with Princeton University Press, Innovation and Its Discontents, addresses these issues.) He founded, raised funding for, and organizes two groups at the National Bureau of Economic Research—the Entrepreneurship Working Group and the Innovation Policy and the Economy Group—and is a Research Associate in the Corporate Finance and Productivity Programs and serves as a co-editor of their publication Innovation Policy and the Economy.
In the 1993-94 academic year, he introduced an elective course for second-year MBAs on private equity finance. In recent years, “Venture Capital and Private Equity” has consistently been one of the largest elective courses at Harvard Business School. (The course materials are collected in Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, John Wiley, now in its fourth edition.) He also teaches a doctoral course on entrepreneurship and in the Owners-Presidents-Managers Program, and organizes an annual executive course on private equity in Boston and Beijing. He recently led an international team of scholars in a study of the economic impact of private equity for the World Economic Forum.