Research : Behavioral Science/Economics

Working Papers (and Conference Workshop Presentations)

A Machine Learning Approach to Low-Value Health Care: Wasted Tests, Missed Heart Attacks and Mis-Predictions,” with Ziad Obermeyer, 2019, NBER working paper 26168, National Bureau of Economics Research, Inc.

Making Sense of Recommendations,” with Mike Yeomans, Anuj Shah and Jon Kleinberg, draft 2016.

The Market for Financial Advice: An Audit Study,” with Markus Noth & Antoinette Schoar June 2010, NBER Working Papers 17929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

The Shape of Temptation: Implications for the Economic Lives of the Poor,” with Abhijit Banerjee, 2010, NBER Working Papers 15973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Persuasion in Finance,” with Andrei Shleifer, 2005, NBER Working Papers 11838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Publications and Refereed Conference Presentations

The Inversion Problem: Why Algorithms Should Infer Mental State and Not Just Predict Behavior,” with Jon Kleinberg, Jens Ludwig, and Manish Raghavan. Perspectives on Psychological Science, December 2023.

Quantifying the Causal Effects of Conversational Tendencies,” with Justine Zhang and Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Proceedings of ACM CSCW, 2020.

Scarcity and Cognitive Function around Payday: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis,” with Anandi Mani, Eldar Shafir, and Jiaying Zhao, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 2020

An exercise in self-replication: Replicating Shah, Mullainathan, and Shafir (2012),” with Anuj Shah and Eldar Shafir, Journal of Economic Psychology (2018)

Debt Traps? Market Vendors and Moneylender Debt in India and the Philippines,” with Dean Karlan and Benjamin N. Roth (2018), forthcoming American Economic Review: Insights.  (Also National Bureau of Economic Research working paper 24272).

Money in the Mental Lives of the Poor,” with Anuj Shah, Jiaying Zhao and Eldar Shafir (2018). Social Cognition36(1), 4-19.

Human Decisions and Machine Predictions,” with Jon Kleinberg, Himabindu Lakkaraju, Jure Leskovec and Jens Ludwig, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 133.1 (2018): 237-293. (also: NBER Working Papers 23180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.)

Comparison-Based Choices,” with Jon Kleinberg and Johan Ugander (2017) Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (EC).

Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago”, with Heller, S. B., Shah, A. K., Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., and Pollack, H. A. (2015).  (Formerly National Bureau of Economic Research No. 21178) Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 2017, 132 (1): 1-54

Assessing Human Error Against a Benchmark of Perfection,” with Ashton Anderson and Jon Kleinberg, Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining 2016.

The Psychological Lives of the Poor,” with Frank Schilbach and Heather Schofield, American Economic Review. May 2016, 106 (5): 124-127. (Non-refereed)

Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving,” with Dean Karlan, Margaret McConnell, & Jonathan Zinman, Management Science. December 2016, 62 (12): 3393 – 3411

Self-Control at Work: Evidence from a Field Experiment,” with Supreet Kaur & Michael Kremer, Journal of Political Economy, 2016, 123 (6), 1227-1277

Behavioral Hazard in Health Insurance,” with Katherine Baicker & Joshua Schwartzstein, 2015, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2015, 130(4), 1623-1667

Scarcity Frames Value,” with Anuj Shah and Eldar Shafir, Psychological Science. April 2015, 26 (4): 402-412.

Learning through Noticing,” with Rema Hanna & Joshua Schwartzstein, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 129.3 (2014): 1311-1353.

Externalities, Internalities, and the Targeting of Energy Policy,” with Hunt Allcott  and Dmitry Taubinsky, Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 112 (April) 2014, pages 72-88.

Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy,” with Saugato Datta, Review of Income and Wealth 60.1 (2014): 7-35.

Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function,” with Anandi Mani, Eldar Shafir, and Jiaying Zhao, Science, August 30 2013, 341(6149): 976-980.

Notes on behavioral economics and labor market policy,” with Linda Babcock, William Congdon and Lawrence Katz, IZA Journal of Labor Policy 1, no. 1 (2012): 1-14.

Health Insurance Coverage and TakeUp: Lessons from Behavioral Economics,” with Baicker, Katherine and William J. Congdon. Milbank Quarterly 90.1 (2012): 107-134.

Some Consequences of Having too Little,” with Anuj K. Shah & Eldar Shafir, Science, November 2 2012, 338 (6107): 682-685.

A Reduced Form Approach to Behavioral Public Finance” with Joshua Schwartzstein & William J. Congdon, Annual Review of Economics, 2012.

Comparison Friction: Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans,” with Jeffrey Kling, Eldar Shafir, Lee Vermeulen, & Marian V. Wrobel. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127:1 (February 2012), 199-235.

Helping Consumers Know Themselves,” with Emir Kamenica & Richard Thaler, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 2011, 101(3), 417-22. (Non-refereed)

Rigidity in Microfinancing: Can One Size Fit All?” with Dean Karlan, QFinance (June 2010).

Self Control and the Development of Work Arrangements,” with Supreet Kaur & Michael Kremer, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, May 2010, 100, 624-628.  (Non-refereed)

Behavior and Energy Policy,” with Hunt Allcott, Science 5 March 2010: 1204-1205.

Affirmative Action in Education: Evidence from Engineering College Admissions in India,” with Marianne Bertrand & Rema Hanna, Journal of Public Economics, 94 (1-2), 2010: 16-29.

What’s Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment,” with Marianne Bertrand, Dean Karlan, Eldar Shafir, & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 125, No. 1: 263–305.

Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy,” with William J. Congdon & Jeffrey R. Kling, National Tax Journal, 62:3 (September 2009), 375-386.

Sticking With Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes,” with Ebonya Washington, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(1), 2009:86-111.

Labor Market Discrimination in Dehli: Evidence from a Field Experiment,” with Abhijit Banerjee, Marianne Bertrand, & Saugato Datta, Journal of Comparative Economics, 37( 1), 2009:14-27.

Limited Attention and Income Distribution,” with Abhijit V. Banerjee, American Economic Review, 98( 2), 2008:489-93.

Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under- Annuitization Puzzle,” with Jeffrey Robert Brown, Jeffrey R. Kling, & Marion V. Wrobel, American Economic Review, 98 (2), 2008: 304-09.

Coarse Thinking and Persuasion,” with Joshua Schwartztein & Andrei Shleifer, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123( 2) 2008: 577-619.

Obtaining a Driver’s License in India: An Experimental Approach to Studying Corruption,” with Marianne Bertrand, Simeon Djankov, & Rema Hanna, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 22(4), 2007: 1639-1676.

Development Economics Through the Lens of Psychology,” Proceedings of the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics, 2006. (Non-Refereed)

Behavioral Economics and Marketing in Aid of Decision-Making among the Poor,” with Marianne Bertrand, & Eldar Shafir, 2006, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 25, 1, 8-23.

Implicit Discrimination,” with Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh, American Economics Review, 95(2), 2005:94-98.

The Market for News,” with Andrei Shleifer, American Economic Review, 95(4), 2005: 1031-1053.

Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier?” with Jonathan Gruber, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 5(1), 2005.

Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy,” with On Amir, Dan Ariely, Alan Cooke, David  Dunning, Nicholas Epley, Botond Koszegi, Donald Lichtenstein, Nina Mazar, Drazen Prelec, Eldar Shafir, & Jose Silva, 2005, Marketing Letters, 16 (3-4), p. 443-454. (Non-refereed)

A Behavioral Economics View of Poverty,” with Marianne Bertrand, & Eldar Shafir, 2004, American Economic Review, 94, 2, 419-423.

Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” with Marianne Bertrand, American Economic Review, 94( 4), September 2004: 991-1013.

A Memory-Based Model of Bounded Rationality”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117(3), August 2002: 735-774.

Behavioral Economics,” with Richard Thaler, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, Pergamon Press, 1st edition, October 1, 2001: 1094-1100. (Non-refereed)

Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data,” with Marianne Bertrand. Shorter version: American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 91(2), May 2001: 67-72. (Non-refereed)


Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, with Eldar Shafir, 2013. New York, NY: Times Books

Policy and Choice: Public Finance through the Lens of Behavioral Economics, with William J Congdon and Jeffrey Kling, 2011. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press

Book Chapters

Social Policy: Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations,” with William Congdon, Jeffrey Kling and Jens Ludwig, Handbook of Economic Field Experiments, 2, 389-426.

Savings Policy and Decision Making in Low Income Households,” with Eldar Shafir in Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit and Banking Among Low-Income Households, eds. Michael Barr & Rebecca Blank, Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2009: pp. 121-145.

The Impact of Electoral Debate on Public Opinion: An Experimental Investigation of the 2005 New York City Mayoral Election” with Ebonya Washington & Julia R. Azari in Political Representation eds. Ian Shapiro, Susan C. Stokes, Elisabeth Jean Wood, & Alexander S. Kirshner, Cambridge University Press, 2009: 324-342.

The Case for Behaviorally Informed Regulation,” with Michael S. Barr & Eldar Shafir in New Perspectives on Regulation , eds. David Moss & John Cisternino, The Tobin Project, Cambridge, MA, 2009, 25-62.

Behaviorally Informed Home Mortgage Credit Regulation,’ with Michael S. Barr & Eldar Shafir, in Borrowing to Live Consumer and Mortgage Credit Revised, eds. Nicolas P. Retsinas & Eric S. Belsky, Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2008: 170-203.

Psychology and Development Economics,” in Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation 50th Anniversary Conference on Economic Institutions and Behavioral Economics, eds. Peter Diamond & Hannu Vartiainen, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2007.

Better Choices to Reduce Poverty,” in Understanding Poverty, eds. Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Roland Benabou & Dilip Mookherjee, Oxford University Press, 2006:379-389.

Other Articles (and More General Writings)

An Opt-Out Home Mortgage System,” with  Michael S. Barr, & Eldar Shafir, Hamilton Project Discussion Paper 2008-14, The Brookings Institution.

Behaviorally Informed Financial  Services Regulation,” with Michael S. Barr & Eldar Shafir, 2008, New America Foundation White Paper.

Is Microfinance Too Rigid?” with Dean Karlan, Financial Access Initiative framing note, December 2007.

Microentrepreneurs and Their Money: Three Anomalies,” with Bindu Ananth & Dean Karlan, Financial Access Initiative framing note, August 2007.

Market Efficiency Versus Behavioral Finance,” with Bruce Stangle, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 17(3), 2005: 124-136.