Professor Alessandra Cassar

Alessandra Cassar


Program Director • Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-5351 Cowell Hall 423


Alessandra Cassar is a professor of economics at the University of San Francisco. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Economic Science Association and a former co-director of LEEPS Lab (Learning and Experimental Economics Projects of Santa Cruz) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her MA in Economics from Bocconi University, Milan, in 1996, and her PhD in International Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2001.

Cassar is passionate about investigating the origins of preferences and their role in development. Through laboratory and field experiments across the world, her studies focus on the contributions of genetic and cultural evolutionary processes to shaping human behavior. Her current research concentrates on the under-studied areas of female competitiveness; the consequences of conflict and disaster victimization for altruism, trust, religiosity, risk, and time preferences; and the role of social networks for economic outcomes.

She is also researching how to design programs to overcome individuals’ internal constraints to support economic empowerment.

Cassar has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of State, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Levis Strauss Foundation. Her work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Science, The Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, among others, and appears in the popular press.

PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz
Universita' di Parma (BA) and Universita' Bocconi, Milano (MA)
Economic consequences of networked markets