Alex_Imas_10.jpg

William S. Dietrich II Assistant Professor in Behavioral Economics
Social and Decision Sciences and the Heinz College
Carnegie Mellon University

CESifo Research Network Affiliate

Research Interests
Behavioral Economics, Judgment and Decision Making

Contact Information
(224)-392-3669
aimas@andrew.cmu.edu

CV

Publications

  1. "The Language of Discrimination: Using Experimental versus Observational Data." (with A. Bohren and M. Rosenberg). American Economic Association: Papers & Proceedings, 2018.

  2. "Is Altruism Sensitive to Scope? The Role of Tangibility." (with G. Loewenstein). American Economic Association: Papers & Proceedings, 2018.

  3. "The Realization Effect: Risk-Taking after Realized versus Paper Losses." American Economic Review2016. Online Appendix, Metadata

  4. "Do People Anticipate Loss Aversion?" (with S. Sadoff and A. Samek). Management Science2016.

  5. "Conscience Accounting: Emotion Dynamics in Social Behavior." (with U. Gneezy and K. Madarasz). Management Science2014.

  6. "The Materazzi Effect and the Strategic Use of Anger." (with U. Gneezy). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014.

  7. "Working for the `Warm Glow': On the Benefits and Limits of Prosocial Incentives.Journal of Public Economics, 2013.

  8. "Experimental Methods: Eliciting Risk Preferences." (with G. Charness and U. Gneezy). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations, 2013.

  9. "Paying to be Nice: Costly Prosocial Behavior and Consistency." (with A. Gneezy, L.D. Nelson, M.I. Norton and A. Brown). Management Science, 2012.

Data, experimental instructions and supplementary materials for all published papers can be accessed on my Open Science Framework profile.

Book Chapters

  1. "Lab in the Field: Measuring Preferences in the Wild." (with U. Gneezy). in Handbook of Field Experiments, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, editors. Elsevier, 2017.

Working Papers

  1. "The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence." (with J. A. Bohren and M. Rosenberg). conditionally accepted, American Economic Review. (New Version!)

  2. "Mental Money Laundering." (with C. Morewedge and G. Loewenstein). revision requested, Journal of the European Economic Association.

  3. "Preference Reversals Between One-Shot and Repeated Decisions: The Case of Regret." (with D. Lame and A. Wilson). revision requested, Economic Journal.

  4. "Waiting to Choose." (with M.A. Kuhn and V. Mironova). 

  5. "Opting In to Prosocial Incentives." (with D. Schwartz, E. A. Keenan and A. Gneezy). Online Appendix. (New Version!)

  6. "Selling Fast and Buying Slow: Heuristics and Trade Performance of Institutional Investors." (with K. Aepanidtaworn, R. Di Mascio and L. Schmidt). (NEW PAPER)

  7. The Impact of Agency on Time and Risk Preferences.” (with A. Gneezy and A. Jaroszewicz). Data. (NEW PAPER)

Selected Work in Progress

1. "Less is More: Access to Leverage Can Hurt Trading Performance." (with R. Heimer)

According to standard theories of decision-making, access to leverage should make investors better off. The ability to borrow expands investors’ choice sets, allowing them to take advantage of trading opportunities without having to liquidate current holdings. This paper argues that leverage can interact with existing behavioral biases – specifically, the reluctance to realize losses – to impair decision-making and hurt performance. Two data sources provide support for this claim. First, we exploit regulation that restricts the amount of leverage available to U.S. retail traders of foreign exchange. Traders constrained by the regulation are more willing to realize losses, exhibiting a smaller disposition effect, and improve their market timing. We corroborate these findings in an experimental asset market. Access to leverage leads to significantly lower earnings. This decrease in performance is driven by levered participants holding on to losses for longer, deviating further from their optimal trading strategy than those without access to leverage. Together, our findings imply more choice may not always be better than less and suggest scope for policy to improve financial decision-making.

2. "Incorrect Statistical Discrimination." (with J. A. Bohren, K. Haggag and D. Pope).

Discrimination has been widely studied in economics and other disciplines. In addition to identifying evidence of discrimination, economists often categorize discrimination as either taste-based or statistical. Categorizing discrimination in this way is valuable for policy and welfare reasons. In this paper, we argue that for similar reasons, a further categorization is important and needed. Specifically, in many situations economic agents may have inaccurate beliefs about the productivity or expected performance of an individual’s social group. Thus, statistical discrimination can be separately categorized as accurate (based on correct beliefs) or inaccurate (based on inaccurate beliefs). We provide evidence from an online experiment that illustrates how to distinguish between accurate and inaccurate statistical discrimination and how ignoring this distinction – as is commonly done in the discrimination literature – can lead to erroneous interpretations of the motives and implications of discriminatory behavior.

3. "Mental Accounting and Preferences over the Timing of Outcomes." (with E. Evers and G. Loewenstein).

Understanding preferences over the timing of gains and losses is a critical question for the study of judgment and decision making. Applying the hedonic editing hypothesis directly leads to the prediction that people should prefer to group losses together and segregate gains over time. Support for these predictions has been mixed, particularly for losses. Drawing on the theory of mental accounting, we argue and show that preferences over the timing of outcomes depend on their categorization. Losses belonging to the same category are grouped together, while different losses are segregated over time. Category membership has the reverse effect for gains.

Other Research

  1. Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 Regulates Integrin αvβ3 Expression and Autocrine TGFβ Signaling." (with B. S. Pedjora, L. E. Kang, P. Carmeliet and A. M. Bernstein). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009.

  2. "EEG-based Method for Biometric Identity Confirmation." (with M. Milgramm). U.S. Patent No. 7,594,122.

  3. "EEG-based Method for Real Time Attitude Assessment." (with M. Milgramm). U.S. Patent No. 7,570,991.

  4. "EEG-based Method for Attention and Productivity Monitoring." (with M. Milgramm). U.S. Patent No. 7,574,254.