Saurabh Bhargava-Social and Decision Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Saurabh Bhargava

Assistant Professor of Economics, Social and Decision Sciences

Office: BP 319F
Phone: (412) 268-1737


Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, Saurabh was an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Outside of research, Saurabh battles a mild caffeine addiction, has an unyielding appetite for film, and spends his time reading and wagering on politics, consuming all forms of pop culture and (Minnesota based) sports, and watching reality television -- for research, of course.


University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Adjunct Faculty
University of California, Berkeley, Economics, Ph.D.
Harvard University, Economics, A.B.


Saurabh studies topics at the intersection of Economics and Psychology (Behavioral Economics) with a particular focus on questions with relevance to public policy.  Recent projects have examined why eligible individuals fail to claim social benefits such as the EITC, factors that influence job search and wage expectations of the unemployed, the role of incentives, information and impulsivity in food choice, and perceptual biases in speed dating and judicial sentencing.   A recent paper on the link between cell phone use and car crashes has been covered by national media including the NY Times, Bloomberg, Marginal Revolution,, and NPR.

Completed Papers

  1. Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence (with Vikram Pathania), [Online Appendix]American Economic Journal:  Economic Policy, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 92-125, 2013.
  2. Contrast Effects in Sequential Decisions: Evidence from Speed Dating (with Ray Fisman), The Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming.
  3. Why Are Benefits Left on the Table?  Assessing the Role of Information, Complexity and Stigma on Take-up with an IRS Field Experiment (with Day Manoli), The American Economic Review, Revise and Resubmit
  4. A Reassessment of the 'Defense of Parenthood'  (w/ Karim S. Kassam and George Loewenstein), Psychological Science, Forthcoming.
  5. Does the Size of the Black-White Wage Gap Depend on Who’s Asking?  Evidence from the NLSY (with Dan Black and Jeffrey Grogger)
  6. Law and Order: Sequential Contrast Effects in Judicial Decisions

Selected Works in Progress

  1. Health Insurance and Sub-Optimal Choice (with George Loewenstein and Justin Sydnor)
  2. Suffer the Children?  New Evidence on the Hedonic Value of Children (with Karim Kassam, George Loewenstein, and Carey Morewedge)
  3. The Economic and Psychological Determinants—and Deterrents—of Tax Compliance:  An IRS Field Experiment with Paid Tax Preparers
  4. Media and Food Choice (with Vikram Pathania)
  5. Information, Incentives, and Impulsivity in Food Choice:  Evidence from a Field Experiment of Online Food Purchases (with Vikram Pathania)
  6. (Under-)Confidence and Goal Choice in the Labor Market (with George Loewenstein)
  7. Psychological Cues in Wage Expectation:  Evidence from Micro-Data and a Field Experiment on Job Search (with Tanya Menon)