Dr. Laurence O'Hara, MPP (Harvard)

Senior Research Fellow

Research Fields

Public Law and Public Administration, Political Theory, Jurisprudence

I work on the intersection of (mostly German) public law with the behavioral sciences. I am especially interested in the behaviorally informed design of public institutions. That includes behavioral perspectives on the law of politics and leadership in public administration, behavioral analysis (Verhaltenswissenschaftliche Analyse) of public law, as well as empirical research on legal/normative judgment and decision making. I am further interested in different theories and traditions of policymaking in administrative law and public administration in general, especially in the German-continental approach of normative-juridical rationality as opposed to utilitarian consequentialism.

Research and Teaching History

  • Since 2018 Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods (Prof. Christoph Engel), Bonn
  • 2016-2019 Lecturer in Public Law (Hazard Prevention, Administrative Procedure and Judicial Review of Executive Action, Civil Service Law), Hamburg State Police Academy, University of Applied Sciences Branch
  • 2014-2015 Course Assistant in Economics ("Markets and Market Failure", Prof. George Borjas) and Political Science ("Comparative Politics", Prof. Quinton Mayne), Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge (Massachusetts)
  • 2010-2013 Research and Teaching Assistant, Bucerius Law School, Chair of Public Law, Science of Public Administration and Comparative Law (Prof. Hermann Pünder), Hamburg


  • Law Studies at Bucerius Law School and Yeshiva University (Cardozo School of Law, New York City); Scholarships from the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD); Bachelor of Laws 2009, First State Examination in Law 2010
  • Graduate Studies in Social Sciences at Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School); Full Scholarship from the German Federal Government and Harvard University (McCloy Fellow); Master in Public Policy 2015
  • Doctoral Studies at Bucerius Law School; Scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes); Doctor of Law 2017
  • Legal Traineeship at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht), Hamburg; Second State Examination in Law 2018

Recently Published

Grundrechtsschutz vor psychisch vermittelter Steuerung. Beschränkte Autonomie und verhaltenswissenschaftliche Annahmen in der Grundrechtsdogmatik, AöR, Bd. 145 (2020), S. 133-187. 

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