Carnegie Mellon University

George Loewenstein

George Loewenstein

Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology


I am the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. I am a co-director of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at CMU, and the Director of Behavioral Economics at the Center for Health Incentives at the Leonard Davis Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. I received my PhD from Yale University in 1985 and since then have held academic positions at The University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University, and fellowships at Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, The Russell Sage Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin and the London School of Economics. I am past president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. My research focuses on applications of psychology to economics, and specific interests include decision making over time, bargaining and negotiations, psychology and health, law and economics, the psychology of adaptation, the role of emotion in decision making, the psychology of curiosity, conflict of interest, various aspects of sex, unethical behavior, and issues involving research ethics. Links that will enable you to download my papers dealing with all of these topics are in my CV, which is organized by topic area.

I helped to found the field of behavioral economics, the field of neuroeconomics, and was one of the early proponents of a new approach to public policy called, variously, ‘asymmetric’ or ‘libertarian’ paternalism. I have published over 200 journal articles in journals in economics, psychology, law, medicine and other fields, numerous book chapters, have written or edited 6 books on topics ranging from intertemporal choice to behavioral economics and emotions, and have served on the editorial boards of numerous journals in different fields. I have served on multiple National Academy of Science and Institute of Medicine Panels, and have advised numerous corporations and governmental organizations, including the NIH, USDA, U.K. Behavioural Insights Team, CVS Caremark, Ascension Health, McKinsey, NPD, Aramark and many others. I have served on and chaired numerous doctoral committees and taught intensive courses in behavioral economics at universities around the world. I have received numerous grants and awards, from government agencies such as the NIH, NSF, USDA, and from foundations, such as the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and many others.


Ph.D.: Yale University


My very recent and current research (as of 2015) focuses on various aspects of information and beliefs. Most of these papers are not yet published or accepted for publication. I’d be enormously grateful for any comments you might have for improving any of them, including papers I should cite that I may have inadvertently passed over.


Chater, N. & Loewenstein, G., The Under-Appreciated Drive for Sense-Making (April 20, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Evers, E. R.K., Inbar, Y., Loewenstein, G., & Zeelenberg, M., Order Preference (July 16, 2014). Available at SSRN:


With Russell Golman (under review) “Curiosity, Information Gaps, and the Utility of Knowledge”

Golman, R., Loewenstein, G. & Gurney, N., Information Gaps for Risk and Ambiguity (May 24, 2015). Available at SSRN:

Information avoidance

Golman, R., Hagmann, D. & Loewenstein, G., Information Avoidance (July 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Sicherman, N., Loewenstein, G., Seppi, Duane J., & Utkus, Stephen P., Financial Attention (July 29, 2015). Available at SSRN:


John, L., Acquisti, A., & Loewenstein, G. (2011). Strangers on a Plane: Context-Dependent Willingness to Divulge Sensitive Information. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(5), 858-873.

Acquisti, A., John, L., & Loewenstein, G. (2012). "The Impact of Relative Standards on the Propensity to Disclose," Journal of Marketing Research 49(2): 160-174.

Brandimarte, L., Acquisti, A. & Loewenstein, G. (2013). Misplaced confidences: Privacy and the control paradox. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(3): 340-347.

Acquisti, A., John, L., & Loewenstein, G. (2013). What is Privacy Worth? Journal of Legal Studies, 42(2): 249-274.

Acquisti, A., Brandimarte, L. & Loewenstein, G. (2015). Privacy and human behavior in the age of information. Science, 347(6221):509-514.

Why people care about others’ beliefs

With Russell Golman, Karl Ove Moene & Luca Zarri (under review). “The Preference for Belief Consonance.”

Information disclosure (and conflicts of interest)

Loewenstein, G., Sunstein, C. and Golman, R. (2014). Disclosure: Psychology Changes Everything. Annual Review of Economics, 6, 391-419.

Sah, S., Loewenstein, G. & Cain, D. (2012). The burden of disclosure: Increased compliance with distrusted advice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, 104(2), 289-304.

Sah, S., & Loewenstein, G. (2014). Nothing to declare: Mandatory and voluntary disclosure leads advisors to avoid conflicts of interest. Psychological Science, 25(2) 575-584.

Sah, S. & Loewenstein G. (forthcoming). Conflicted Advice and Second Opinions: Benefits, but Unintended Consequences. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


Scopelliti, I., Loewenstein, G. & Volgerau, J. (forthcoming). You call it ‘Self-Exuberance,’ I call it ‘Bragging.’ Miscalibrated Predictions of Emotional Responses to Self-Promotion. Psychological Science.


Markey, A., Chin, A. Vanepps, E .M. and Loewenstein, G. (2014). Identifying a reliable boredom induction. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 119(1): 237-253.


Behavioral Economics, Classical Economics, Public Policy, Politics and Health

The Economist as Therapist

Wanting and liking for sex

"The price is wrong"
(opening talk at USDA meeting on behavioral economics and obesity)

Two links to somewhat similar talks on emotion:
Columbia University Medical Center Grand Rounds
Yates Lecture at Tulane University

“What’s life like on the other side of the behavioural fence?” 
George Loewenstein interviews ad-man Rory Sutherland, and vice-versa

Administrative Assistant

Rosa Stipanovic