Wendy De La Rosa

Wendy De La Rosa
  • Assistant Professor of Marketing

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    750 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340


Wendy De La Rosa is an Assistant Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She focuses on using behavioral science to improve consumers’ financial well-being. She is interested in how people think and allocate their resources, and how these thoughts and judgments influence their behavior. Her award-winning research has been published in the Journal for Consumer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, CNBC, Forbes, Scientific American, NPR, PBS Newshour, and TechCrunch, among others.

De La Rosa is also the co-creator and host of TED’s “Your Money and Your Mind” series, the co-founder of the Common Cents Lab, a Forbes 30 under 30 Finance honoree, and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. Her TED talks have been viewed over 7 million times. She serves on the board of Code for America and Propel. Prior to joining Wharton, Wendy received her Ph.D. from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and helped start Google’s first behavioral economics unit. She was also a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs. 

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  • Wendy De La Rosa, Abigail B. Sussman, Eric Giannella, Gwen Rino (2022), Communicating amounts in terms of commonly used budgeting periods increases intentions to claim government benefits, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    Abstract: Millions of eligible families did not claim their 2021 expanded child tax credit (CTC), collectively forgoing billions of dollars. To address this problem, many policymakers focused on increasing awareness of the CTC by highlighting that families could receive up to $3,600 a year per child. However, people rarely budget on a yearly basis. We propose that communicating the CTC benefit amount in terms of commonly used budgeting periods (e.g., $300 a month) instead of uncommonly used budgeting periods (e.g., $3,600 a year) could increase interest in claiming the CTC. Two large-scale field experiments (n=16,696) among low-income individuals support this account. Using common (vs. uncommon) budgeting periods to describe CTC benefit amounts increased CTC claiming intentions by 16 to 26%. A third large-scale field experiment (n=14,178) demonstrated that encouraging people to consider different budgeting periods moderated these effects. These results suggest that communicating amounts in terms of common budgeting periods is a simple, cost-effective way to stimulate interest in claiming government benefits.

  • Wendy De La Rosa and Stephanie M. Tully (2022), The Impact of Payment Frequency on Consumer Spending and Subjective Wealth Perceptions, Journal of Consumer Research.

    Abstract: Payment frequency is a fundamental yet underexplored feature of consumers’ finances. As higher payment frequencies are becoming more prevalent, consumers are receiving more frequent yet smaller paychecks. An analysis of income and expenditure data of over 30,000 consumers from a financial services provider demonstrates a naturally occurring relationship between higher payment frequencies and increased spending. A series of lab studies support this finding, providing causal evidence that higher (vs. lower) payment frequencies increase spending. The effect of payment frequency on spending is driven by changes in consumers’ subjective wealth perceptions. Specifically, higher payment frequencies reduce consumers’ uncertainty in predicting whether they will have enough resources throughout a period, increasing their subjective wealth perceptions. As such, situational factors that reduce prediction uncertainty for those paid less frequently (e.g., the timing of consumers’ expenses, income levels) moderate the impact of payment frequency. The effects of payment frequency on subjective wealth and spending can occur even when objective wealth favors those with lower payment frequencies. More broadly, the current work underscores a need to understand how timing variations in consumers’ income impact their perceptions, behaviors, and general well-being.

  • Wendy De La Rosa, Eesha Sharma, Stephanie M. Tully, Eric Giannella, Gwen Rino (2021), Psychological ownership interventions increase interest in claiming government benefits, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    Abstract: Each year, eligible individuals forgo billions of dollars in financial assistance in the form of government benefits. To address this participation gap, we identify psychological ownership of government benefits as a factor that significantly influences individuals’ interest in applying for government benefits. Psychological ownership refers to how much an individual feels that a target is their own. We propose that the more individuals feel that government benefits are their own, the less likely they are to perceive applying for them as an aversive ask for help, and thus, the more likely they are to pursue them. Three large-scale field experiments among low-income individuals demonstrate that higher psychological ownership framing of government benefits significantly increases participants’ pursuit of benefits and outperforms other common psychological interventions. An additional experiment shows that this effect occurs because greater psychological ownership reduces people’s general aversion to asking for assistance. Relative to control messages, these psychological ownership interventions increased interest in claiming government benefits by 20% to 128%. These results suggest that psychological ownership framing is an effective tool in the portfolio of potential behavioral science interventions and a simple way to stimulate interest in claiming benefits.


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  • MKTG2110 - Consumer Behavior

    This course is concerned with how and why people behave as consumers. Its goals are to: (1) provide conceptual understanding of consumer behavior, (2) provide experience in the application of buyer behavior concepts to marketing management decisions and social policy decision-making; and (3) to develop analytical capability in using behavioral research.

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Latest Research

Wendy De La Rosa, Abigail B. Sussman, Eric Giannella, Gwen Rino (2022), Communicating amounts in terms of commonly used budgeting periods increases intentions to claim government benefits, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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In the News

Personal Financial Data Rights Are Coming, but Not for All

Wharton’s Wendy De La Rosa says she is concerned about pending regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because tens of millions of low-income Americans won’t benefit from them.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 9/5/2023
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