Job Market Paper

Choice-Set Dependence and Salience: An Experimental Test [Online Appendix]

This paper investigates whether the choice-set composition alters the relative importance of different attributes. I consider an environment in which people choose between vertically differentiated products, where the two natural attributes are quality and price. I derive and test predictions that emerge under models of choice-set-dependent preferences. In a laboratory experiment, I vary prices to flexibly estimate attribute weights. I document systematic violations of the law of demand in a manner consistent with the relative thinking model of Bushong, Rabin and Schwartzstein (2017). Structural estimates imply substantial heterogeneity in the magnitude but not the direction of choice-set distortions.

Working Papers

Program Recertification Costs: Evidence from SNAP (with Tatiana Homonoff) [Revise and Resubmit at the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy]

Surplus Identification with Non-Linear Returns [Supplementary Material] (with Pete Lunn)

Published Work

O'Donoghue, E. & Somerville J. (2018). Modeling Risk Aversion in Economics. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 32(2), 10-25.

Somerville J. & McGowan F. (2016). Can Chocolate Cure Blindness? Investigating the Effect of Preference Strength and Incentives on the Incidence of Choice Blindness. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 61, 1-11.

McLaughlin O. & Somerville J.(2013). Choice Blindness in Financial Decision Making. Judgement and Decision Making, 8(5), 561-572.

Work in Progress

Surplus Splitting, Fairness, and Exchange (with Pete Lunn & Mary Lunn)

Selecting Between Public and Private Healthcare (with Esteban Mendez Chacon & Matt Thirkettle)

Regulating Flavors, Pack Sizes, and Prices of Tobacco Products (with Donald Kenkel)

Cowboys and Indians: Quasi-Experimental Evidence on Cigarette Brand Loyalty (with Philip DeCicca, Donald Kenkel, and Feng Liu)