As a researcher, Gneezy's focus is on putting behavioral economics to work in the real world, where theory can meet application. He is looking for basic research as well as more applied approaches to such topics as incentives-based interventions to increase good habits and decrease bad ones, Pay-What-You-Want pricing, and the detrimental effects of small and large incentives. In addition to the traditional laboratory and field studies, Gneezy is currently working with several firms, conducting experiments in which he is using basic findings from behavioral economics to help companies achieve their traditional goals in non-traditional ways.
Before joining the Rady School, Gneezy was a faculty member at the University of Chicago, Technion and Haifa. Gneezy received his Ph.D. from the Center for Economic Research in Tilburg.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Small and Large Incentives
Strategy & Budgeting
National Science Foundation
Tilburg University: Ph.D., Economics
Tilburg University: M.A., Economics
Media Appearances (3)
How to get more woman CEOs
Chicago Booth Review
In several lab experiments, women have demonstrated a lower appetite for competition with men. University of California at San Diego’s Uri Gneezy, Stanford’s Muriel Niederle, and University of Minnesota’s Aldo Rustichini ran an influential experiment in 2003 in which they brought students into a lab in groups of six and asked them to complete mazes. They paid the participants in two ways: in some groups, participants were paid per maze completed, while in other groups, the participants essentially competed against each other to be the one person paid...
San Diego libraries aiming for friendlier image with plan to eliminate fines
San Diego Union-Tribune
Charging fines also introduces a potentially damaging economic element into the relationship between libraries and the people who use them, said Uri Gneezy, a behavioral economist at the University of California San Diego...
Can Economists Stop Kenya's Maasai From Mutilating Their Girls?
To visit the Maasai people, I spent a week accompanying a delegation of behavioral economists headed by Israeli-born Uri Gneezy, a professor at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. He is conducting a study on the use of economic incentives to help end female circumcision in the tribe. Norwegian economists, with whom he is collaborating on the project, were unable to make the trip but sent a master’s student, Ida Kjorholt, on their behalf...
Strong evidence for gender differences in risk takingJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Gary Charness, Uri Gneezy
2012 Are men more willing to take financial risks than women? The answer to this question has immediate relevance for many economic issues. We assemble the data from 15 sets of experiments with one simple underlying investment game. Most of these experiments were not designed to investigate gender differences and were conducted by different researchers in different countries, with different instructions, durations, payments, subject pools, etc. The fact that all data come from the same basic investment game allows us to test the robustness of the findings. We find a very consistent result that women invest less, and thus appear to be more financially risk averse than men.
When and why incentives (don't) work to modify behaviorJournal of Economic Perspectives
Uri Gneezy, Stephan Meier, Pedro Rey-Biel
2011 First we discuss how extrinsic incentives may come into conflict with other motivations. For example, monetary incentives from principals may change how tasks are perceived by agents, with negative effects on behavior. In other cases, incentives might have the desired effects in the short term, but they still weaken intrinsic motivations. To put it in concrete terms, an incentive for a child to learn to read might achieve that goal in the short term, but then be counterproductive as an incentive for students to enjoy reading and seek it out over their lifetimes. Next we examine the research literature on three important examples in which monetary incentives have been used in a nonemployment context to foster the desired behavior: education; increasing contributions to public goods; and helping people change their lifestyles, particularly with regard to smoking and exercise. The conclusion sums up some lessons on when extrinsic incentives are more or less likely to alter such behaviors in the desired directions.
Gender differences in preferencesJournal of Economic literature
Rachel Croson, Uri Gneezy
2009 This paper reviews the literature on gender differences in economic experiments. In the three main sections, we identify robust differences in risk preferences, social (other-regarding) preferences, and competitive preferences. We also speculate on the source of these differences, as well as on their implications. Our hope is that this article will serve as a resource for those seeking to understand gender differences and to use as a starting point to illuminate the debate on gender-specific outcomes in the labor and goods markets.
Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal societyEconometrica
Uri Gneezy, Kenneth L Leonard, John A List
2009 We use a controlled experiment to explore whether there are gender differences in selecting into competitive environments across two distinct societies: the Maasai in Tanzania and the Khasi in India. One unique aspect of these societies is that the Maasai represent a textbook example of a patriarchal society, whereas the Khasi are matrilineal. Similar to the extant evidence drawn from experiments executed in Western cultures, Maasai men opt to compete at roughly twice the rate as Maasai women. Interestingly, this result is reversed among the Khasi, where women choose the competitive environment more often than Khasi men, and even choose to compete weakly more often than Maasai men. These results provide insights into the underpinnings of the factors hypothesized to be determinants of the observed gender differences in selecting into competitive environments.
Large stakes and big mistakesThe Review of Economic Studies
Dan Ariely, Uri Gneezy, George Loewenstein, Nina Mazar
2009 Workers in a wide variety of jobs are paid based on performance, which is commonly seen as enhancing effort and productivity relative to non-contingent pay schemes. However, psychological research suggests that excessive rewards can, in some cases, result in a decline in performance. To test whether very high monetary rewards can decrease performance, we conducted a set of experiments in the U.S. and in India in which subjects worked on different tasks and received performance-contingent payments that varied in amount from small to very large relative to their typical levels of pay. With some important exceptions, very high reward levels had a detrimental effect on performance.