Jason Somerville

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics, Cornell University

About Me

I am PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at Cornell University. I will be on the job market in Fall 2019.

My research focuses on how seemingly irrelevant aspects of decision context can influence economic outcomes. My job market paper investigates whether the composition of the choice set alters how individuals trade off different attributes. I develop a theoretical framework that nests several models of attribute salience and use it to guide a novel experimental design. I document economically significant shifts in demand due to exogenous changes to the range of an attribute within a choice set, and provide the first structural estimates of range-based salience in consumer choice.

I am also interested in the the policy issues raised by behavioral economics. One project explores how the timing of the SNAP recertification process can have large welfare implications; another examines both individual and firm responds to tobacco regulations. A separate strand of my research studies how asymmetric information and non-standard preferences can shape market structures: for example, showing that fairness concerns can act as a constraint on exchange, or examining how selection into private health insurance markets is affected by the provision of universal public healthcare.

Prior to my work as a PhD student, I worked as a Research Analyst at Morgan Stanley in London. I was born and raised in Ireland, and received my M.Litt, M.Sc. and B.A. degrees from Trinity College Dublin.