Levon Barseghyan

Robert Julius Thorne Professor of Economics


Welcome to my web page. I am a Professor of Economics and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Field of Economics at Cornell University. I joined Cornell in 2003, after completing my PhD at Northwestern University. I also hold a Diploma in Mathematics from Yerevan State University, Armenia, an MS in Industrial Engineering from the American University of Armenia and an MS in Policy Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Though I have done research on a variety of topics, most of my papers fall into two categories. First, I have been studying risk preferences. I am interested in understanding how people perceive and evaluate risk. Three major questions addressed in my work are whether risk preferences are stable across contexts/markets, what is the behavioral nature of risk preferences, and what are the potential impacts of limited consideration on choice under risk.

Second, I have been working on the effects of institutions and policies on economic outcomes, leading to research questions at the intersection of growth, public finance and political economy. My earlier work focused on how government policies affect macroeconomic outcomes. Subsequently I have been working on understanding how institutions, and political economy constraints in general, influence the joint evolution of policies and economic outcomes.

Research Focus

  • Insurance
  • Public Finance
  • Growth
  • Political Economy


Peer Preferences, School Competition, and the Effects of Public School Choice, with D. Clark and S. Coate, forthcoming in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. Download The Online Appendix.

Estimating Risk Preferences in the Field, with F. Molinari, T. O'Donoghue and Josh TeitelbaumJournal of Economic Literature, Volume 56, No. 2, Pages 501-564, June 2018.

Political Economy of Debt and Growth, with M. Battaglini, Journal of Monetary Economics, Volume 82, Pages 36–51, September 2016. The Online Appendix can be downloaded here.

Inference under Stability of Risk Preferences, with F. Molinari and J. TeitelbaumQuantitative Economics, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 367-409, August 2016.*

Property Taxation, Zoning and Efficiency in A Dynamic Tiebout Model, with S. Coate, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Volume 3, Number 2, pp. 1-38, August 2016.

Externalities, Endogenous Productivity, and Poverty Traps, with R. DiCecio, European Economic Review, Volume 85, pp. 112-126, June 2016.

Bureaucrats, Voters, and Public Investment, with S. Coate, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 119, Pages 34-48, November 2014. The Online Appendix can be downloaded <a data-cke-saved-href="https://barseghyan.economics.cornell.edu/docs/PUBEC_3484_On_Line_Appendix.pdf aria-label=" href="https://barseghyan.economics.cornell.edu/docs/PUBEC_3484_On_Line_Appendix.pdf aria-label=" journal="" of="" public="" economics"="">here.

Fiscal Policy Over the Real Business Cycle: A Positive Theory, with M. Battaglini and S. Coate, Journal of Economic Theory, Volume 148, Issue 6, Pages 2223-2265, November 2013.

The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices, with F. Molinari, T. O'Donoghue and J. TeitelbaumAmerican Economic Review, Volume 103, Number 6, Pages 2499-2529, October 2013.*

Distinguishing Probability Weighting from Risk Misperceptions in Field Data, with F. Molinari, T. O'Donoghue and J. TeitelbaumAmerican Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Volume 103, Number 3, Pages 580-585, May 2013.*

Cross Country Income Convergence Revisited, with R. DiCecioEconomics Letters, Volume 113, Issue 3, Pages 244-247, December 2011.

Entry Costs, Industry Structure, and Cross-Country Income and TFP Differences, with R. DiCecioJournal of Economic Theory, Volume 106, Issue 5, Pages 1828-1851, September 2011. The Preprint can be downloaded here.

Are Risk Preferences Stable Across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data, with J. Prince and J. TeitelbaumAmerican Economic Review, Volume 101, Issue 2, Pages 591-631, April 2011. The Online Appendix can be downloaded here.

Institutions and Growth in Limited Access Societies, with A. Guerdjikova, Journal of Economic Theory, Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 528-568, March 2011. The Preprint can be downloaded here.

Non Performing Loans, Prospective Bailouts, and Japan's SlowdownJournal of Monetary Economics, Volume 57, Issue 7, Pages 873-890, October 2010. The Online Appendix can be downloaded here.

Institutional Causes of Output Volatility, with R. DiCecio, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Volume 92, Issue 3, Pages 205-224, May/June 2010.

Entry Costs and Cross-Country Differences in Productivity and Output , Journal of Economic Growth, Volume 13, Number 2, Pages 145-167, June 2008.

Optimal Monetary Policy, Endogenous Sticky Prices and Multiplicity of Equilibria, with R. DiCecioThe B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics: 2007, Vol. 7: Issue 1 (Topics), Article 8.

Japan's Government Debt and Interest Rates, Japan and the World Economy, Volume 18, Issue 3, Pages 278-297, August 2006.


Financial support from the National Science Foundation through grant SES-1031136 for research marked by a "*" is gratefully acknowledged.

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