Homa Zarghamee

Academic Focus: 

Professor Zarghamee's recent research focuses on (i) the impact of mood on economic behavior, (ii) determinants of social preferences, (iii) gender and competition, and (iv) determinants of subjective well-being. Other areas of research include the economics of child labor, youth in developing countries, and transition from education to the labor force in Iran. Zarghamee has done consulting work for the World Bank, and her work has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Scandinavian Journal of EconomicsJournal of Happiness Studies, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, and in the World Bank's 2007 World Development Report. Professor Zarghamee received her Ph.D and M.A. in Economics and B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Cornell University.



  • “The Earned Income Tax Credit, Mental Health, and Happiness.” With Casey Boyd-Swan, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.  Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Forthcoming.

  • “Pricing Competition: A New Laboratory Measure of Gender Differences in the Willingness to Compete.” With John Ifcher.  Experimental Economics.  Forthcoming.

  • “Inequality of Happiness: Evidence of the Compression of the Subjective-Well-Being Distribution with Economic Growth” With John Ifcher.  Proceedings of IEA Roundtable on Shared Prosperity and Growth.  Forthcoming.
  • “Affect and Overconfidence: A Laboratory Investigation” With John Ifcher.  Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics.  7(3), September 2014.
  • “The Happiness of Single Mothers: Evidence from the General Social Survey” With John Ifcher. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(5), October 2014.
  • “Testing Social Preferences for an Economic “Bad”: An Artefactual Field Experiment.” With Deborah Kerley Keisner, Kent D. Messer, and William D. Schulze. Scandinavian Journal of Economics. 115(1), January 2013.
  • “Experimental Economics’ Ethics.” With John Ifcher. In Practicing Professional Ethics in Economics and Public Policy, ed. Elizabeth Searing and Donald R. Searing. Springer, forthcoming.
  • “Happiness and Time Preference: The Effect of Positive Affect in a Random-Assignment Experiment.” With John Ifcher. American Economic Review. 101(7), December 2011.
  • “Is Product Boycott a Good Idea for Controlling Child Labor? A Theoretical Investigation.” With Kaushik Basu. Journal of Development Economics. 88(2), March 2009.
  • “New Hope for the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism.” With Kent D. Messer, Harry M. Kaiser, and William D. Schulze. Journal of Public Economics. 91(9), September 2007.
  • “Determinants of Youth Behavior and Outcomes: A Review of Theory, Evidence and Policy Implications.” With Kaushik Basu and Hyejin Ku. Background paper prepared for World Bank’s 2007 World Development Report.


  • “Nudging Charitable Giving: Three Field Experiments.” With Jubo Yan, Kent D. Messer, William D. Schulze, Jacob Fooks, and Shang Wu.  Conditionally accepted, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.
  • "Do Gender-Variant Preferences of Competition Persist in the Absence of Performance?" With John Ifcher.  Under review, Management Science.   
  • “Dost Thou Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife, Servant, Animals, or Anything That Is There’s? Competing Channels in the Relationship between Well-Being and Others’ Income.” With Carol Graham, and John Ifcher.


  • “Kunstbetrieb” With Andrew Goldstein.  Spike Art Quarterly. 40, Summer 2014.
  • “Spend or Save? Study or Party? Smoke or Quit” With John Ifcher. In Shift and Reset: Strategies for Addressing Serious Issues in a Connected Society, ed. Brian Reich (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2011), 70-72.

In the News

Economics professor publishes study on why single mothers are happier today than decades ago.