HKS Affiliated Authors

Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy, Decision Science, and Management


The Financial Cost of Sadness. Jennifer Lerner, November 13, 2012, Paper. “This paper hypothesizes a phenomenon—myopic misery—in which sadness creates a myopic focus on obtaining money now versus later, increasing intertemporal discount rates and thereby producing substantial financial costs. Experiments 1-3 randomly assigned participants to a sad- or neutral-mood condition, and then offered intertemporal choices. Disgust served as a comparison condition in Experiments 1-2. Results revealed that sadness significantly increased impatience: Relative to median neutral-mood participants, median sad-mood participants accepted...” Link