Shlomo Benartzi

Professor and Co-Chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group

Phone: (310) 206-9939


Shlomo Benartzi is a behavioral economist, interested in combining the insights of psychology and economics to solve big societal problems.  His goal is to help people make better decisions on a very large scale.  He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, and is currently a Professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Professor Benartzi’s previous work has demonstrated the potential for far-reaching improvement.  Along with Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, he pioneered the Save More Tomorrow™ program (SMarT), a behavioral prescription designed to help employees increase their savings rates gradually over time.  At one organization, SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5% to 13.6%.  The SMarT program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the U.S. and a growing number of plans in Australia and the U.K.  The program has also been incorporated in the Pension Protection Act of 2006, helping millions of Americans boost their retirement savings.

Professor Benartzi’s current focus is online behavior, studying the ways in which people think differently on screens.  The end goal is to use this knowledge to design more effective information and choice architectures, thus improving decision-making for millions of people at a time.  Professor Benartzi is currently at work on a book, The Digital Mind: How We Think and Behave Differently on Screens, to be published by Penguin Portfolio in 2015.

Professor Benartzi has supplemented his academic research with policy work and practical experience.  He has advised government agencies in the U.S. and abroad and has helped craft numerous legislative efforts.  He has also worked with many financial institutions, served on multiple advisory boards and currently serve as an academic advisor and chief behavioral economist for the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance.

Selected Publications

Benartzi, Shlomo and Richard H. Thaler, “Behavioral Economics and the Retirement Savings Crisis,” Science, March 8, 2013, Vol. 339, pp. 1152–1153.

Benartzi, Shlomo, Alessandro Previtero, and Richard H. Thaler, “Annuity Puzzles,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2011, Vol. 25.4, pp. 143–64. [ Link ]

Shlomo Benartzi, and Richard H. Thaler. (Summer 2007). Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior. Journal of Economic Perspectives. [ Link ]

Shlomo Benartzi, and Richard H. Thaler. (February 2004). Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112.1, Part 2, pp. S164-S187. [ Link ]

Shlomo Benartzi, and Richard H. Thaler. (March 2001). Naive Diversification Strategies in Retirement Saving Plans. American Economic Review, Vol. 91.1, pp. 79-98. [ Link ]

Shlomo Benartzi, and Richard H. Thaler. (February 1995). Myopic Loss-Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 110.1, pp. 73-92. [ Link ]

Shlomo Benartzi's Vita and Publications

Course Materials for Psychology and Personal Finance