Research Interests

Saurabh Bhargava is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University.  He received his PhD in Economics from Berkeley, his AB from Harvard University, and has held prior positions at The University of Chicago, and Mckinsey & Company. Saurabh studies applied topics in Behavioral Economics with a particular focus on questions with relevance to public policy and public finance. Recent projects in the area of health and policy have examined why eligible individuals fail to claim social benefits using a large-scale field experiment in collaboration with the IRS, the causes underlying sub-optimal employee health insurance choice, the sensitivity of risk-taking to the presence and transparency of insurance incentives, the effects of cell phone use on driver crash risk, as well as the role of incentives, information and impulsivity in food choice. An additional line of research includes a series of papers which leverage large experience samples to investigate the determinants of well-being and emotion (e.g., the effects of children on parental well-being).

Selected Publications

1.  “Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence,” (with Vikram Pathania), 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, Vol. 96, No. 3, pp. 444-457, 2014.

3.  “Do Employees Make Sensible Health Plan Decisions?  Evidence from a Menu with Dominated Options,” (with George Loewenstein, and Justin Sydnor), CMU Working Paper.

4.  “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), American Economic Review. Second Revision Requested.