Carnegie Mellon University

Saurabh Bhargava

Saurabh Bhargava

Associate Professor
Ph.D. in Economics


Saurabh Bhargava is an Associate Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University, an academic affiliate of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, and the Founder and Co-Director of the BEDR Policy Lab. Saurabh's research area of Behavioral Economics broadly explores decision-making, and optimal policy design, in the contexts of health insurance, retirement savings, program take-up, unemployment, medical adherence, and employee reward programs. A secondary line of research involves data-driven investigations into the determinants of happiness and well-being. 

Saurabh’s work has been published in journals such as JAMA, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, The American Economic Review, Psychological Science, and NEJM Catalyst and has received coverage from media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vox, CNBC, Bloomberg, Barron's, BBC News, New York Magazine, NPR, and Politico. He has also published in the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal. Prior to starting his academic career, he worked at Mckinsey & Co.


University of California, Berkeley, Economics, Ph.D.
Harvard University, Economics, A.B.

New Research

  1. Bhargava, S., and Hyde, T. “Risk Aversion in the Field: Evidence on Prevalence and Motives from an Employee Rewards Program,” 2023.
  2. Bhargava, S.* and Kassam, K.S. “Love and Gender: An Empirical Account,” 2022. [under review, Psychological Science]
  3. Bhargava, S., and Conell-Price, L. “Serenity Now, Save Tomorrow? Evidence on Retirement Savings Puzzles from a 401(k) Field Experiment,” 2022. [under review, American Economic Review]
  4. Bhargava, S.* , Conell-Price, L., Mason, R., and Benartzi, S. “Save(d) by Design?” 2021.
  5. Bhargava, S. “New Evidence on the Hedonic and Time-Use Consequences of Children,” 2020.
  6. Bhargava, S., and Hyde, T. “Behavioral Erosion of Private Risk Information,” 2022.

Select Publications

  1. Bhargava, S., Loewenstein, G., and Sydnor, J. “Choose to Lose: Health Plan Choices from a Menu with Dominated Options,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 132, Issue 3, pp. 1319-1372, 2017.

  2. Bhargava, S., and Manoli, D. “Psychological Frictions and the Incomplete Take-Up of Social Benefits: Evidence from an IRS Field Experiment,” American Economic Review, Vol. 105, No. 11, pp. 3489-3529, 2015.

  3. Bhargava, S., and Loewenstein, G. “Choosing a Health Insurance Plan, Complexity and Consequences,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 314., No. 23, pp. 2505-2506, 2015.
  4. Bhargava, S., Fisman, R. “Contrast Effects in Sequential Decisions: Evidence from Speed Dating,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 96, No. 3, pp. 444-457, 2014.

  5. Bhargava, S., Kassam, K.S., and Loewenstein, G. “A Reassessment of the ‘Defense of Parenthood’,” Psychological Science, Vol. 25, Issue 1, 2014.

  6. Bhargava, S., and Pathania, V. “Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 92-125, 2013.