Ori Heffetz

Ori Heffetz

Associate Professor of Economics

324 Sage Hall
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-6201
Phone: 607-255-4668

Professor Heffetz's interests lie in the social and cultural aspects of economic behavior. His work examines how our predictions concerning the behavior of economic agents change once we incorporate into our models the observation that agents never operate in social isolation, and that economic decisions are always made in a cultural context. Heffetz has studied the empirical relationships between spending patterns of U.S. households and the extent to which spending on different consumer products and services is visible or displayable to other members of society. He has explored phenomena such as conspicuous consumption, whereby consumers purchase visible goods in their attempts to advertise their wealth and gain social status. He is similarly interested in the use of consumption as a language to convey meaning—what kinds of people buy or own what kinds of things, and why?—and in its relationship to fashion and advertisements. Most recently, he has been studying survey-based subjective well-being (SWB) data, such as people's self-reports on their own happiness and life satisfaction. In particular, he and his collaborators have been exploring what can and cannot be learned from such data; what the relationship is between these well-being data and the choices that people make; and if and how governments can use such data for tracking national well-being and for guiding policy. Heffetz holds a BA in physics and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a PhD in economics from Princeton University. He has traveled extensively in developing countries, studying problems that lie at the crossroads of economics, society, and culture.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Click here to view the curriculum vitae (PDF document).

Accepted Papers

  • Benjamin, Daniel J.; Heffetz, Ori; Kimball, Miles S.; Rees-Jones, Alex.  "Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred From Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices"  American Economic Review  (Accepted)

Published Papers

Working Papers

  • Benjamin, Daniel J.; Carroll, Gabriel; Heffetz, Ori; Kimball, Miles S..  "Aggregating Local Preferences To Guide Policy (2014)"

  • Heffetz, Ori; O'Donoghue, Ted; Schneider, Henry Seth.  "Task Completion: Experimental Evidence on New York City Parking Ticket Payment Compliance"


  • Frank, Robert H.; Bernanke, Ben S.; Antonovics, Kate; Heffetz, Ori, (accepted), Principles of Economics.

Book Chapters

  • Heffetz, Ori; Frank, Robert H., 2011, Preferences for Status: Evidence and Economic Implications, in Handbook of Social Economics, eds Jess Benhabib, Alberto Bisin, and Matthew Jackson, Elsevier.