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 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 whether consumers are able to make sensible health insurance choices, 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 insurance incentives and their complexity on safe driving, how perceptual biases influence speed dating and judicial sentencing, and the social and economic factors that determine happiness. This research has been covered by national media including the NY Times, NPR, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, CNBC, Marginal Revolution, and


  1. "Psychological Frictions and the Incomplete Take-Up of Social Benefits: Evidence from an IRS Field Experiment." (with Day Manoli), American Economic Review, Vol. 105, No. 11, pp. 3489-3529, 2015.
  2. "Choosing a Health Insurance Plan, Complexity and Consequences" (with George Loewenstein), Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 314, No. 23, pp. 2505-2506, 2015.
  3. "Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence" (with Vikram Pathania), [Online Appendix] American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 92-125, 2013.
  4. "Contrast Effects in Sequential Decisions: Evidence from Speed Dating" (with Ray Fisman), The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 96, No. 3, pp. 444-457, July 2014.
  5. "A Reassessment of the 'Defense of Parenthood'" (with Karim S. Kassam and George Loewenstein), Psychological Science, Vol. 25, Issue 1, January 2014.
  6. "Behavioral Economics and Public Policy 102: Beyond Nudging" (with George Loewenstein), American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings, Vol. 105, No. 5, pp. 396-401, 2015.

Working Papers

  1. "Do Individuals Make Sensible Health Insurance Decisions? Evidence from a Menu with Dominated Options" (with George Loewenstein and Justin Sydnor), Quarterly Journal of Economics, Revision Requested. NBER Working Paper No. 21160, 2015.
  2. "Gender Differences in Experienced Love" (with Karim S. Kassam, Carey Morewedge, and George Loewenstein), Psychological Science, Revision Requested.
  3. "Bored in the USA: Using Experience Sampling to Determine Boredom's Contextual and Demographic Correlates" (with Alycia Chin, Amanda Markey, Karim S. Kassam, and George Loewenstein) Emotion, Revision Requested.
  4. "The Costs of Poor Health Plan Choice and Prescriptions for Reform" (with George Loewenstein and Shlomo Benartzi)
  5. "New Evidence on the Hedonic and Time-Use Consequences of Parenthood" (with Karim S. Kassam, Carey Morewedge, and George Loewenstein)
  6. "The Impact of the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act on Attitudes and Behavior", (with Mark Patterson, and George Loewenstein)