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Kota Saito

Professor of Economics
Kota Saito headshot
Contact information for Kota Saito
Contact Method Value
Mail Code: MC 228-77
Office: 313 Baxter Hall (77)
Administrative Assistant:
M.A., University of Tokyo, 2007; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2011. Assistant Professor, Caltech, 2011-16; Professor, 2017-.

Research Interests

Decision Theory; Experimental Economics; Game Theory; Political Economics


Economic Theory


The goal of Kota Saito's research is to study individual decision making. His main focus is in decision theory, developing mathematical models of decision making that account for some of the behavioral regularities documented in experimental economics and psychology.

Saito follows a very specific methodological route, an axiomatic one: instead of suggesting the model directly, he posits potentially testable assumptions (i.e., axioms) about behavior and finds equivalent ways to represent them in mathematically convenient terms.

Saito's research has centered around five main topics: (i) decision making under uncertainty, (ii) other-regarding preferences, (iii) time preferences, (iv) the role of perception in stochastic choice, and (v) response time in various decision making. Depending on the purpose of each study, he uses three primary tools: (a) preference relation, (b) consumption-price data, and (c) stochastic choice function.

In addition to this theoretical work, Saito conducts experimental and empirical tests on existing and new theories, and he also works on applying some models to standard problems in economics. Saito is currently working on the application of decision theory to empirical studies, especially discrete choice analysis.

Saito received NSF Grants SES-1919263, NSF Grants SES-1558757, Pension Research Council/TIAA Institute Partnership Grant, the Robert Eisner Memorial Fellowship from Northwestern University.