CV - Job Market Paper  

Pirla, Sergio

Contact Information

Tel. +34 93 542 1191

[email protected]


Personal Webpage


Available for interviews at

European Job Market for Economists (EEA)

Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA)




Research interests

Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Affective Science, Judgement and Decision-Making.

Placement Officer

Libertad González
[email protected]


Daniel Martínez Navarro (Advisor)
[email protected]

Jordi Quoidbach (Advisor)
[email protected]

Robin Hogarth
[email protected]



"Happiness without a Financial Safety Net" (with Jordi Quoidbach). (Job Market Paper)
Decades of research suggest that money buys very little happiness. However, previous studies have relied on static measures assessing people’s well-being once or on average. We examine the “reel” of people’s emotional lives through over 1 million reports from 23,000 individuals whose happiness was tracked in real-time using a smartphone app. Results show that lower income is associated with increased happiness volatility — a relationship that replicates across multiple operationalizations of volatility, statistical models, and a sample of individuals from six developing countries (N > 25,000). An unsupervised anomaly detection algorithm further revealed that the greatest gap is between how frequent and intense the rich and the poor experience emotional downs, not ups. The happiness gap between the highest and lowest earners during episodes of intense unhappiness was 1.5 to 3 times the size of the gap in average happiness between these two groups. Finally, exploiting the exogeneity of monthly payments, we find that low-income people experience more moments and periods of anomalous happiness the last few days of the month, suggesting a causal relationship between income and happiness volatility.

"Measuring Affect Dynamics: An Empirical Framework" (with M. Taquet and J. Quoidbach)
Heterogeneity in experience sampling approaches poses a threat to reproducibility and scientific progress in the field of affect dynamics. Leveraging a large dataset of 7016 individuals, each providing over 50 affect reports, we introduce an empirically-derived framework to help researchers design well-powered and efficient experience sampling studies. As the ideal sampling approach varies for each affect dynamics measure, we provide a companion R-package, an online calculator, and a series of benchmark effect sizes to help researchers address three fundamental how’s of experience-sampling: How many participants to recruit? How often to solicit them? And for how long?

"Does Boredom Affect Risk Preferences?" (with D.Navarro-Martinez).
In four experiments (including more than 1,300 participants), we systematically studied the effects of boredom on economic risk preferences. Across different risk elicitation tasks, boredom inductions, incentive schemes, subject pools, and using both reduced form and structural analyses, we consistently failed to find an effect of boredom on risky decisions. Using Bayesian techniques, we find substantial evidence in each of our four experiments in support of a zero effect of boredom on economic risk taking. Our results question an important established belief and have substantial implications for economic experiments.


Research Papers in Progress

“Buying Your Way Out of Monotony: Boredom and Income" (with D. Navarro Martinez)
Recent research shows that people not only want a happy and meaningful life, but an interesting one. Therefore, to understand how income shapes well-being, we need to also understand how income shapes boredom. Leveraging a large dataset of over 40,000 individuals across 20 European countries, we show that income is associated with a lower frequency of experienced boredom. Taking a network approach, we show that the experience of boredom is significantly more related to anxiety and depressed mood for low-income individuals.

"More Than a Feeling: Emodiversity Improves Decision-Making" (with Jordi Quoidbach and Daniel Navarro-Martinez)
Decades of research demonstrate that the intensity of our emotions (e.g., feeling more or less angry) profoundly shapes our choices. We suggest that the complexity of our emotions (e.g., feeling angry with or without a hint of anxiety) might play another crucial role. Across one correlational study and two preregistered experiments, we show that high emodiversity – experiencing a wide variety of emotions in relatively equal proportion– improves decision outcomes, reduces known decision-making biases, and leads to higher choice satisfaction. A large experience-sampling study further suggests that the daily experience of rich and balanced emotions can compound into more satisfying lives.