Daniel J. Benjamin

Associate Professor (with tenure), Cornell, 2013-present
Assistant Professor, Cornell University, 2007-2013
Research Associate, NBER, 2013-present

Faculty Research Fellow, NBER, 2009-2013
Research Fellow, Institute for Social Research, 2006-present


Cornell University
Economics Department
Uris Hall 480

Phone: (607) 255-2355
Email: db468@cornell.edu

Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University

M.Sc., Mathematical Economics, London School of Economics

A.M., Statistics, Harvard University

A.B., Economics, Harvard University

Dr. Benjamin's research is in behavioral economics (which incorporates ideas and methods from psychology into economic analysis) and genoeconomics (which incorporates genetic data into economics). Some current research topics include understanding errors people make in statistical reasoning; exploring how best to use survey measures of subjective well-being (such as happiness and life satisfaction) to track national well-being and evaluate policies; and identifying genetic variants associated with outcomes such as educational attainment and subjective well-being. Other ongoing work addresses how economic behavior relates to cognitive ability and social identity (ethnicity, race, gender, and religion).

Research Papers in Progress

Benjamin, Daniel J., James J. Choi, and Geoffrey Fisher (2013). “Religious identity and economic behavior.” Cornell University mimeo, August. Revise and resubmit, Review of Economics and Statistics.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Matthew Rabin, and Collin Raymond (2014). “A Model of Non-Belief in the Law of Large Numbers.” Cornell University mimeo, March.
Web Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Don Moore, and Matthew Rabin (2013). “Biased Beliefs About Random Samples: Evidence from an Integrated Experiment.” Cornell University mimeo, March.

Beauchamp, Jonathan P., Daniel J. Benjamin, Christopher F. Chabris, and David I. Laibson (2012). “How Malleable are Risk Preferences and Loss Aversion?” Harvard University mimeo, March.

Published Papers on Behavioral Economics

Benjamin, Daniel J., Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Alex Rees-Jones (forthcoming). “Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred From Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices.” American Economic Review.
Web Appendix here. Survey Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Nichole Szembrot (forthcoming). “Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference.” American Economic Review.
Web Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J. (forthcoming). “Distributional Preferences, Reciprocity-Like Behavior, and Efficiency in Bilateral Exchange.” American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.
Web Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Sebastian A. Brown, and Jesse M. Shapiro (2013). “Who is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive ability and anomalous preferences.” Journal of the European Economics Association, 11(6), 1231–1255.
Web Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Nichole Szembrot (2013). “Aggregating Local Preferences to Guide Marginal Policy Adjustments.” American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings), 103(3), 605–610.

Benjamin, Daniel J., Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Alex Rees-Jones (2012). “What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?” American Economic Review, 102(5), 2083–2110.
Web Appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., James J. Choi, and A. Joshua Strickland (2010). “Social identity and preferences.” American Economic Review, 100(4), 1913–1928.
Web appendix here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., and Jesse M. Shapiro (2009). “Thin-slice forecasts of gubernatorial elections.” Review of Economics and Statistics, 91(3), 523–536.

Benjamin, Daniel J. (2003). “Do 401(k)s Increase Saving? Evidence From Propensity Score Subclassification.” Journal of Public Economics 87(5-6), 1259–90.

Rind, Bruce, and Daniel J. Benjamin. (1994). “Effects of Public Image Concerns and Self-Image on Compliance.” Journal of Social Psychology 134(1), 19–25.

Published Papers on Genoeconomics

Rietveld, Cornelius A., Sarah E. Medland, Jaime Derringer, Jian Yang, Tõnu Esko, Nicolas W. Martin, Harm-Jan Westra, Konstantin Shakhbazov, …, Dalton Conley, George Davey-Smith, Lude Franke, Patrick J. F. Groenen, Albert Hofman, Magnus Johannesson, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Robert F. Krueger, David Laibson, Nicholas G. Martin, Michelle N. Meyer, Danielle Posthuma, A. Roy Thurik, Nicholas J. Timpson, André G. Uitterlinden, Cornelia M. van Duijn, Peter M. Visscher, Daniel J. Benjamin, David Cesarini, Philipp D. Koellinger (2013). “GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment.” Science, 340(6139), 1467–71. Published Online May 30. DOI: 10.1126/science.1235488
FAQ here.

Chabris, Christopher F., James J. Lee, Daniel J. Benjamin, Jonathan P. Beauchamp, Edward L. Glaeser, Gregoire Borst, Steven Pinker, and David I. Laibson (2013). “Why Is It Hard to Find Genes that are Associated with Social Science Traits? Theoretical and Empirical Considerations.” American Journal of Public Health, 103(S1), S152–S166.

Stephens, Sarah H., Sarah M. Hartz, Nicole R. Hoft, Nancy L. Saccone, Robin C. Corley, …, Victoria L. Stevens, Robert B.Weiss, Peter Kraft, Laura J. Bierut, and Marissa A. Ehringer (2013). “Distinct Loci in the CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 Gene Cluster Are Associated With Onset of Regular Smoking.” Genetic Epidemiology, 37(8), 846–859.

Rietveld, Cornelius A., David Cesarini, Daniel J. Benjamin, Philipp D. Koellinger, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Henning Tiemeier, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K.E. Magnusson, Nancy L. Pedersen, Robert F. Krueger, Meike Bartels (2013). “Molecular Genetics and Subjective Well-Being.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(24), 9692–9697. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222171110

van der Loos, Matthijs J.H.M., Cornelius A. Rietveld, Niina Eklund, Philipp D. Koellinger, David Cesarini, Fernando Rivadeneira, Gonçalo R. Abecasis, Georgina A. Ankra-Badu, Sebastian E. Baumeister, Daniel J. Benjamin, Reiner Biffar, Stefan Blankenberg, Dorret I. Boomsma, David Cesarini, …, A. Roy Thurik (2013). “The molecular genetic architecture of self-employment.” PLoS ONE, 8(4), e60542.

Chabris, Christopher F., Benjamin M. Hebert, Daniel J. Benjamin, Jonathan P. Beauchamp, David Cesarini, Matthijs J.H.M. van der Loos, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K.E. Magnusson, Paul Lichtenstein, Craig S. Atwood, Jeremy Freese, Taissa S. Hauser, Robert M. Hauser, Nicholas A. Christakis, and David Laibson (2012). “Most Published Genetic Associations with General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives.” Psychological Science, 23(11), 1314–1323. doi:10.1177/0956797611435528
Supporting Online Material here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., David Cesarini, Christopher F. Chabris, Edward L. Glaeser, David I. Laibson, Vilmundur Guðnason, Tamara B. Harris, Lenore J. Launer, Shaun Purcell, Albert Vernon Smith, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K.E. Magnusson, Jonathan P. Beauchamp, Nicholas A. Christakis, Craig S. Atwood, Benjamin Hebert, Jeremy Freese, Robert M. Hauser, Taissa S. Hauser, Alexander Grankvist, Christina M. Hultman, and Paul Lichtenstein (2012). “The Promises and Pitfalls of Genoeconomics.” Annual Review of Economics, 4, 627–662.

Benjamin, Daniel J., David Cesarini, Matthijs J.H.M. van der Loos, Christopher T. Dawes, Philipp D. Koellinger, Patrik K.E. Magnusson, Christopher F. Chabris, Dalton Conley, David I. Laibson, Magnus Johannesson, and Peter M. Visscher (2012). “The Genetic Architecture of Economic and Political Preferences.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(21), 8026–8031. doi:10.1073/pnas.1120666109

Benjamin, Daniel J., Christopher F. Chabris, Edward L. Glaeser, Vilmundur Gudnason, Tamara B. Harris, David I. Laibson, Lenore Launer, and Shaun Purcell (2007). “Genoeconomics.” In Weinstein, Maxine, James W. Vaupel, and Kenneth W. Wachter (eds.), Biosocial Surveys. Committee on Population, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Conference Papers

Benjamin, Daniel J. (2010). “White Paper for NSF Workshop on Genes, Cognition, and Social Behavior.” Presented 28 June 2010.
Final Report for NSF Workshop on Genes, Cognition, and Social Behavior available here.

Benjamin, Daniel J., and Laibson, David I. (2003). “Good Policies for Bad Governments: Behavioral Political Economy.” Presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Conference on How Humans Behave: Implications for Economics and Economic Policy, Cape Cod, 10 June 2003.

Chabris, C., Benjamin, D., and Simons, D. (1998). “How well do chess masters remember famous chess positions? Implications for theories of spatial expertise.” Presented at the Workshop on Object Perception and Memory, Dallas, 19 November 1998.

Book Reviews

Benjamin, Daniel J. (2009). “Review of Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics---And Why It Matters by Peter A. Ubel.” Journal of Economic Literature, 47(4), 1154–1156.

Older Working Paper

Benjamin, Daniel J. (2005). “A Theory of Fairness in Labor Markets.” Harvard University mimeo, November.




2009-2012 ISS Theme Project: Judgment, Decision Making, and Social Behavior


Social Science Genetic Association Consortium