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Welcome to my website!

For a complete list of my academic writings along with links to specific papers, please click the Publications tab. There you can search for papers by topic area, as well as by title, coauthor, and publication type (journal article, working paper, etc.). Some of my recent papers also appear below as Featured Research. In some cases, listings of papers include links to videos. These are "mini seminars," generally 20 to 30 minutes, that concisely summarize the central messages of particular papers. I have also collected these video links in one spot, which you can access by clicking the Mini Seminars tab. The Selected Research Agendas tab provides links to pages that describe collections of related papers falling within some of the areas in which I am currently most active. For my current teaching assignments, click the Courses tab. I've included links to video lectures on some specific topics, which you can find by clicking the Lectures tab. Finally, for lists of current PhD students on the job market, other current PhD students, and PhD students I have advised over the course of my career, along with links to their webpages, please click the PhD Students and Alumni tab.


Featured Research

Coauthors: Sandro Ambuehl, Annamaria Lusardi

Working Paper, March 2021

We introduce a method for experimentally evaluating interventions designed to improve the quality of choices in settings where people imperfectly comprehend consequences. Among other virtues, our method yields an intuitive sufficient statistic for welfare that admits formal interpretations even when consumers suffer from biases outside the scope of analysis. We use it to study a financial education intervention, which we find improves the quality of decisions only when it incorporates practice and feedback, contrary to the implications of analyses based on conventional efficacy metrics.

Coauthors: Sandro Ambuehl

Working Paper, September 2021

We investigate how individuals think groups should aggregate members’ ordinal preferences – that is, how they interpret “the will of the people.” In an experiment, we elicit revealed attitudes toward ordinal preference aggregation and classify subjects according to the rules they apparently deploy. Majoritarianism is rare. Instead, people employ rules that place greater weight on compromise options. The classification’s fit is excellent, and clustering analysis reveals that it does not omit important rules.

Coauthors: Sandro Ambuehl, Axel Ockenfels

American Economic Review 111(3), 2021, 787-830

We study experimentally when, why, and how people intervene in others' choices. Choice Architects (CAs) construct opportunity sets containing bundles of time-indexed payments for Choosers. CAs frequently prevent impatient choices despite opportunities to provide advice, believing Choosers benefit. They violate common behavioral welfare criteria by removing impatient options even when all payoffs are delayed.

Coauthors: Luca Braghieri, Alejandro Martinez-Marquina, David Zuckerman

American Economic Review 111(2), 2021, 720-754

We propose and develop a dynamic theory of endogenous preference formation in which people adopt worldviews that shape their judgments about their experiences. The framework highlights the role of mindset flexibility, a trait that determines the relative weights the decision-maker places on her current and anticipated worldviews when evaluating future outcomes. The theory generates rich behavioral dynamics, thereby illuminating a wide range of applications and providing potential explanations for a variety of observed phenomena.

Coauthors: Jonas Mueller-Gastell

Working Paper, December 2020

We examine the desirability of opt-out minimization, a well-known and simple rule of thumb for setting default options such as passively selected contribution rates in employee-directed pension plans. Existing results suggest that this strategy is welfare-optimal only under highly restrictive assumptions. In this paper, we dispense with those assumptions and demonstrate far more generally that opt-out minimization is approximately optimal. Our main results require only a small number of weak regularity conditions.

Coauthors: Charles Sprenger

Econometrica 88(4), 2020, 1363-1409

Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT), the leading behavioral account of decisionmaking under uncertainty, avoids the dominance violations implicit in Prospect Theory (PT) by assuming that the probability weight applied to a given outcome depends on its ranking. We devise a simple and direct nonparametric method for measuring the change in relative probability weights resulting from a change in payoff ranks. We find no evidence that these weights are even modestly sensitive to ranks.

Coauthors: James Andreoni, Deniz Aydin, Blake Barton, Jeffrey Naecker

Journal of Political Economy 128(5), 2020, 1673-1711

In settings with uncertainty, tension exists between ex ante and ex post notions of fairness. Subjects in an experiment most commonly select the ex ante fair alternative ex ante and switch to the ex post fair alternative ex post. One potential explanation embraces consequentialism and construes reversals as time inconsistent. Another abandons consequentialism in favor of deontological (rule-based) ethics and thereby avoids the implication that revisions imply inconsistency. We test these explanations by examining contingent planning and the demand for commitment.