Jason Somerville

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

About Me

I am a 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-making contexts 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 systematic violations of the law of demand that are consistent with choice-set-dependent preferences, and I provide the first structural estimates of range-based salience in consumer choice.

I am also interested in 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 responses 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.