Andras Molnar

andras molnar

PhD student, Carnegie Mellon University



Most of the things that affect our welfare happen in our minds: we dwell on successes and failures, the past and the future, relationships, fears, regrets, disappointments and triumps, whether we have fulfilled our goals, and whether other people like and respect us.


beyond academe

when not thinking about his next project, andras is a passionate urban explorer,      a history enthusiast, a vociferous commentator of politics, an avid chef, and an aspirant guitar player



Broadly defined, the ultimate mission of an economist, is to understand what determines human welfare, and to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday lives. While standard economics equates welfare with consumption, little of what brings us pleasure or pain, especially in today's society, arises from sheer material concepts. Simply put, utility is based on beliefs.

I came to this realization gradually, during my undergraduate training, and decided to dedicate my career to studying decisions and human behavior beyond the abstraction of economics, incorporating concepts and methods from social psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

My research focuses on various aspects of belief-based utility, especially those related to information disclosure and (self-)image. I study the psychological background and the economic consequences of these factors, their effects on well-being, and their implications for business and policy. For example, why do people have a strong desire to explain their choices to others and to be understood by their peers? Under what conditions do people seek information for its own sake? Can and do people impress others by cherry-picking what information to tell them? To what extent are acts of altruism driven by considerations for one's image?

Find out more about my projects here