Jiayi Bao

Jiayi Bao
  • Applied Economics Doctoral Student

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3000 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: behavioral economics, entrepreneurship, human resource management, organizational economics


Jiayi Bao is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are applied microeconomics and behavioral economics, with particular focuses on organizational decision-making in entrepreneurial environments and high skilled labor market. She graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with a joint degree in Economics and Mathematics (General Honors and Departmental Honors) and received the DeGolier Prize for the student with the highest academic average. Her senior thesis, “Heterogeneous Effects of Informational Nudges on Pro-social Behavior,” won the Agnes Reynolds Jackson Prize and was published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. She was also a Plenary Speaker at National Collegiate Research Conference. Prior to Wharton, she worked in multiple organizations including PIMCO, Merrill Lynch, and Mizuho.

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  • Jiayi Bao and Andy Wu (Working), Equality and Equity in Compensation.

    Abstract: Equity compensation is widely used for incentivizing skilled employees, particularly in new technology businesses. Traditional theories explaining why firms offer equity suggest that workers with higher rank should receive compensation packages more heavily weighted in equity. However, we observe the puzzle that many firms adopt an equality-in-equity strategy: they offer different cash salaries across all jobs but the same equity compensation. We propose a behavioral theory of domain-contingent inequality aversion to explain this finding: we argue that workers view salary and equity as two domains and are more inequality averse in the equity domain. Inequality in equity has a negative asymmetric effect on effort whereas the effect of inequality in salary can be positive. Our experimental findings are consistent with the existence of domain-contingent inequality aversion; we also find that inequality aversion in equity is more severe than in salary because of the perceived scarcity of equity.

  • Jiayi Bao and Benjamin Ho (2015), Heterogeneous Effects of Informational Nudges on Pro-social Behavior, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 15 (4), pp. 1619-1655.

    Abstract: Numerous experimental studies of informational nudges both in the lab and the field have demonstrated not just that informational nudges are effective policy tools for influencing behavior, but also that nudges have heterogeneous impacts that differ depending on the characteristics of the person involved and the situation. We adapt Andreoni’s theory of warm-glow impure altruism to account for how altruism motives respond differently depending on the disposition of the person and the situation. The model explains both positive spillovers (moral cleansing) and negative spillovers (moral licensing) for behavioral interventions, showing that targeting of informational campaigns depends on the complementarity between people’s traits and the intervention’s content. More importantly, the design of economic incentives (like Pigouvian taxes) to shift economic behavior should depend on both the distribution of social preferences in the population and the use of behavioral interventions.


Past Courses


    This course will introduce you to "managerial economics" which is the application of microeconomic theory to managerial decision-making. Microeconomic theory is a remarkably useful body of ideas for understanding and analyzing the behavior of individuals and firms in a variety of economic settings. The goal of the course is for you to understand this body of theory well enough so that you can effectively analyze managerial (and other) problems in an economic framework. While this is a "tools" course, we will cover many real-world applications, particularly business applications, so that you can witness the usefulness of these tools and acquire the skills to use them yourself. We will depart from the usual microeconomic theory course by giving more emphasis to prescription: What should a manager do in order to achieve some objective? That course deliverable is to compared with description: Why do firms and consumers act the way they do? The latter will still be quite prominent in this course because only by understanding how other firms and customers behave can a manager determin what is best for him or her to do. Strategic interaction is explored both in product markets and auctions. Finally, the challenges created by asymmetric information - both in the market and within the firm - are investigated.

Awards and Honors

  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship, 2017
  • Emilie Louise Wells Fellowship, 2017
  • Wharton People Analytics Research Paper Competition Finalist, 2017
  • Wharton George James Travel Award, 2017
  • Emilie Louise Wells Fellowship, 2016
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship, 2016
  • Wharton Risk Center Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award, 2016
  • I.S.E.O. Summer School Scholarship, 2014
  • The Agnes Reynolds Jackson Prize, 2014
  • The Virginia Swinburne Brownell Prize in Political Economy, 2014
  • Plenary Speaker at National Collegiate Research Conference, 2014
  • The DeGolier Prize for Academic Excellence, 2013
  • Lui & Wan Foundation Scholarship, 2010-2014