Homa Zarghamee

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.



  • “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.


  • “The Earned Income Tax Credit, Mental Health, and Happiness.” With Casey Boyd-Swan, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.  Under review, Journal of Health Economics.
  • “Nudging Charitable Giving: Three Field Experiments.” With Jubo Yan, Kent D. Messer, William D. Schulze, Jacob Fooks, and Shang Wu.  Under review, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.
  • “Subjective Well-Being Inequality and Per Capita Income: Evidence from the World Values Survey.” With John Ifcher. Under review, Journal of Economic Inequality.
  • “Exploring Gender Differences in Preferences for Competition Using Switch Points and Relative Payoffs.” With John Ifcher. Under review, Experimental Economics.
  • "Competing on Chance: Gender and Competition in Games without Agency." With John Ifcher.
  • “Marriage, Income, and Happiness: Buying the Benefits of Marriage.” With Casey Boyd-Swan, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.
  • “How Have Single Mothers Fared During the Great Recession: Evidence from the Gallup Daily Poll.” With Carol Graham, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.
  • “Subjective Well-Being, Unemployment, and Inflation: Evidence from the Gallup Daily Poll.” With Carol Graham, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.
  • “Subjective Well-Being and Relative Income: Evidence from the Gallup Daily Poll.” With Carol Graham, Chris Herbst, and John Ifcher.
  • “Happiness and Childrearing: The Negative Relationship between Subjective Well-being and Parental Leave Inequality.” With Simon Larsson 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.