Portrait image for Shlomo Benartzi

Shlomo Benartzi

Professor Emeritus, Behavioral Decision Making
“The Save More Tomorrow™ program, which Richard Thaler and I developed, helped millions of workers save more for retirement. Now I am trying to address a broader set of societal challenges by using the tools of digital nudging.”
(310) 206-9939
Areas of Expertise:
  • Behavioral Decision Making


Shlomo Benartzi is a behavioral economist interested in combining the insights of psychology and economics to solve big societal problems. He works on creating digital nudges that leverage technology to achieve massive scale and help millions make better financial decisions. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management and is currently a professor emeritus and co-founder of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, working on Applied Behavioral Economics and Financial Decision-Making.

Benartzi's work has demonstrated the potential for far-reaching improvement. Along with Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, he pioneered the Save More TomorrowTM (SMarT) program, a behavioral prescription designed to nudge employees to increase their savings rates gradually over time. In their original research, Benartzi and Thaler found that SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent. 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 into the Pension Protection Act of 2006, enabling approximately 15 million Americans to boost their retirement savings.

To help bridge the gap between academic research and the real world, Benartzi has worked with many financial institutions and served on multiple advisory boards. He is currently a senior academic advisor for the VOYA Behavioral Finance Institute for Innovation, a board member of Acorns, and a senior advisor for Blast, Personal Capital and Wisdom Tree.



Ph.D., 1994, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University

B.A. Economics, cum laude, 1989, Tel-Aviv University



Benartzi, Shlomo, with Jonah Lehrer, “The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior,” Penguin, 2015.

Benartzi, Shlomo, with Roger Lewin, “Thinking Smarter: Seven Steps to Your Fulfilling Retirement ... and Life,” Penguin, 2015.

Benartzi, Shlomo, with Roger Lewin, “Save More Tomorrow: Practical Behavioral Finance Solutions to Improve 401(k) Plans,” Penguin, 2012.


Selected Articles

Benartzi, Shlomo, John Beshears, Katherine L. Milkman, Cass Sunstein, Richard H. Thaler, Maya Shankar, Will Tucker, William J. Congdon and Steven Galing, “Should Governments Invest More in Nudges?” Psych Science, forthcoming .

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

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 ]


Wall Street Journal Columns

The Mistakes We Make When Giving to Charity [ Link ] 

Before Retiring, Take This Simple Test [ Link ] 

How to Get More Pleasure Out of Retirement Spending [ Link ]

The Financial Price of Forgetting Bad Times [ Link ] 

How People Underestimate Spending in Retirement [ Link ]

Why Fund Ratings Could Be Misleading [ Link ] 

How Social Media Can Feed Investors’ Panic [ Link ] 

Keep Stock-Market Apps Off Your Phone [ Link ] 



TED Talk: “Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow”


Psychology and Personal Finance

Class 1 - Prospect Theory

Class 2 - Heuristics and Biases

Class 3 - Suboptimal Spending

Class 4 - Investment Mistakes

Classes 5 & 6 - Retirement Savings and Planning

Class 7 - Money and Happiness

Sample Final Projects