Assistant Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley
Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research
I conduct research at the intersection of behavioral and public economics (for the most part). See here and here for overviews that I've written on this area of research. See here for four lectures of class material.
Using a combination of theory, field experiments, surveys, and quasi-experiments, I study topics such as: inattention to and misunderstanding of complex tax incentives; "sin taxes" on goods such as sugary drinks; energy policy for inattentive or misinformed consumers; welfare effects of non-standard policy levers (e.g., social recognition); and financial decision-making by low income populations (e.g., payday loan borrowers).
I am an assistant professor of economics at UC Berkeley and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Is Attention Produced Rationally? Evidence from Two Experiments (with Erin Bronchetti, Judd Kessler, Ellen Magenheim, and Eric Zwick)
Dynamic Preference "Reversals" and Time Inconsistency (with Philipp Strack)
The Optimal Design of State-Run Lotteries (with Hunt Allcott, Benjamin B. Lockwood, and Afras Sial)
Publications and forthcoming
Measuring the Welfare Effects of Shame and Pride (with Luigi Butera, Robert Metcalfe, and William Morrison) Accepted, subject to data editor approval, at the American Economic Review
Who Chooses Commitment? Evidence and Welfare Implications (with Mariana Carrera, Heather Royer, Mark Stehr, and Justin Sydnor) Accepted at the Review of Economic Studies
Rules of Thumb and Attention Elasticities: Evidence from Under- and Overreaction to Taxes (with William Morrison) Accepted at the Review of Economics and Statistics
Are High-Interest Loans Predatory? Theory and Evidence from Payday Lending (with Hunt Allcott, Josh Kim, and Jonathan Zinman) Forthcoming at the Review of Economic Studies
Measuring "Schmeduling" (with Alex Rees-Jones) Review of Economic Studies, Vol 87, Issue 5 (2020): 2399-2438.
Regressive Sin Taxes, With an Application to the Optimal Soda Tax (with Hunt Allcott and Benjamin B. Lockwood), Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol 134, No 3 (2019): 1557-1626.
Evaluating Behaviorally-Motivated Policy: Experimental Evidence from the Lightbulb Market (with Hunt Allcott) American Economic Review, Vol 105, No. 8 (August 2015), pages 2501-2538.
Designing Better Sugary Drinks Taxes (with Hunt Allcott, Anna H. Grummon, and Benjamin B. Lockwood). Science, Vol 365, No 6457 (2019): 989-990.
Should We Tax Sugar Sweetened Beverages? An Overview of Theory and Evidence (with Hunt Allcott and Benjamin B. Lockwood) Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol 33, No 3 (2019): 202-227.
The Limits of Simple Implementation Intentions: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Making Plans to Exercise (with Mariana Carrera, Heather Royer, Mark Stehr, and Justin Sydnor) Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 62 (2018): 95-104.
Behavioral Public Economics (with B. Douglas Bernheim). In B. Douglas Bernheim, Stefano DellaVigna, and David Laibson (eds.), Handbook of Behavioral Economics, Volume 1, New York: Elsevier, (2018): 381-516.
Ramsey Strikes Back: Optimal Commodity Taxes and Redistribution in the Presence of Salience Effects. (with Hunt Allcott and Benjamin B. Lockwood) American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, 108 (2018): 88-92.
What Makes a Price Fair? An Experimental Study of Transaction Experience and Endogenous Fairness Views. (with Holger Herz), Journal of the European Economic Association, Vol 16 , No. 2 (April 2018): 316-352.
Taxing Humans: Pitfalls of the Mechanism Design Approach and Potential Resolutions (with Alex Rees-Jones) Tax Policy and The Economy, Vol 31, No. 1 (2018): 107-133.
Tagging and Targeting of Energy Efficiency Subsidies (with Hunt Allcott and Christopher Knittel) American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (2015)
Energy Policy with Externalities and Internalities (with Hunt Allcott and Sendhil Mullainathan) Journal of Public Economics 112 (2014): 72-88.
Network Architecture and the Left-Right Spectrum Art. 1. B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, Contributions 11 (2011).
The Allocation of Time in Decision-Making (with Chris Chabris, David Laibson, Carrie Morris, Jonathon Schuldt) Journal of the European Economic Association 7, nos. 2-3 (April 2009): 628-637.
Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior (with Chris Chabris, David Laibson, Carrie Morris, Jonathon Schuldt) Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 37, no. 2 (2008): 237-269
From Intentions to Actions: A Model and Experimental Evidence of Inattentive Choice (Retired 2014 draft)
Selected work in progress
Do Behavioral Biases Explain the Annuity Puzzle? Experimental Evidence (with Erzo F.P. Luttmer and Priscila de Oliveira)
Sufficient Statistics for Nonlinear Tax Systems with Preference Heterogeneity (with Antoine Ferey and Benjamin B. Lockwood) draft coming soon!
Are Information Policies Well-Targeted? Evidence and Welfare Implications (with Hunt Allcott, William Morrison, and Victoria Pu)
Biased Memory and Perceptions of Self Control (with Afras Sial and Justin Sydnor)
Tax Psychology and the Timing of Charitable-Giving Deadlines (with Alex Rees-Jones)
A Cigarette Tax Has Saved Millions of Lives. A Soda Tax Could Too (with Hunt Allcott and Benjamin B. Lockwood)
Teaching and overview talks
Behavioral Public Economics Mini-Course (with Hunt Allcott)
Behavioral Economics and Evidence-Based Policy Design (low-tech overview for general audiences)