Professor Kaysen received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (1940) and his Ph.D. from Harvard University (Economics, 1954). Before joining the MIT faculty in 1976, he was on the faculty of the Economics Department at Harvard; from 1964 to 1966, he was Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Kennedy; and he served as Director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1966 to 1976. He has been a Junior Fellow at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Fellow, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He was Vice Chairman and Director of Research for the Sloan Commission on Higher Education from 1978 to 1980.
His scholarly work has ranged widely in the areas where economics, sociology, politics and law overlap. His current research centers on arms control and international politics. He is a co-author (with George Rathjens) of Peace Operations by the United Nations: The Case for a Volunteer Military Force (1996) and co-editor (with Michael Schaif and Sarah Sewall) of The United States and the Fundamental Criminal Court: National Security and Fundamental Law (2000). He is also editor of and contributor to a volume of essays, The American Corporation Today (1996).