About the Book | About the Authors | Q&A with the Authors | Selected Reviews | Related Articles | Related Articles Written by the Authors | Media

About the Book

Visit the book’s official website at

Key Terms Glossary/Index: This PDF document contains key terms from the book, along with their definitions and the page numbers on which they are referenced.


About the Authors

To learn more about the authors, visit

Follow Author Sendil Mullainathan on Twitter @m_sendhil

To learn about the authors' nonprofit organization, ideas42, click here.


Q&A with the Authors

“Being Poor Changes Your Thinking About Everything” (Harold Pollack, The Washington Post, Sep. 13, 2013) This is an edited transcript of an interview with one author (Mullainathan) that focuses on the intentions and implications of the book.

Q&A with Author Eldar Shafir:

Q&A with Author Sendil Mullainathan:

“Q&A: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” (B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Oct. 22, 2013)


Selected Reviews

To read reviews on the publisher’s website, visit

“Book Review: ‘Scarcity’ by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan” (Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe, Oct. 9, 2013)

“It Captures Your Mind” (Cass R. Sunstein, The New York Review of Books, Sep. 26, 2013)

“Prepare to Update Your Theory of Change” (Timothy Ogden, Stanford Social Innovation Review)

“The Psychology of Scarcity: Days Late, Dollars Short” (The Economist, Aug. 31, 2013) This article offers a short background of how the book came about and includes brief author biographies. It also provides an overview of the mindset that scarcity creates, as discussed in the book.

“Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir” (Victoria Bateman, Times Higher Education, Sep. 12, 2013)

“Unpacking the scarcity mind-set: Why having too little means so much” (Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2013)


Related Articles

"The Cognitive Burden of Poverty" (Evan Nesterak, The Psych Report, Sep. 2, 2013)

“Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?” (John Tierney, The New York Times,2011) An in-depth article exploring the topic of decision fatigue.

"End Artificial Scarcities to Increase Productivity" (Matt Might) This article provides solutions to commonly felt scarcity problems in the home or office.

"How Scarcity Leads to Spending" (Maia Szalavitz, TIME, Jan. 21, 2013) Szalavitz discusses the relation scarcity has to short-term and long-term decision making, as connected to economics and the cycle of poverty.

“How to Boost Desire Using the Psychology of Scarcity” (Nir Eyal, Nir and Far) Eyal applies the scarcity mindset to business and explains how it can cause problems or contribute to successes for consumers and business owners.

"How to Create an Abundance Mentality" (WikiHow) This wiki page includes nine steps (with photos) to overcoming the scarcity mindset and creating more opportunities for change in your life.

“Is It Nuts to Give to the Poor Without Strings Attached?” (Jacob Goldstein, The New York Times, 2013) Jacob Goldstein discusses the charity GiveDirectly, which gives money to the poor without any preconditions. 

“Opportunity Cost” (David R. Henderson, Library of Economics and Liberty, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, 2008) A definition of opportunity cost.

“Poverty and Economics” (Daniel Little, Understanding Society, 2013) Daniel Little explains the subject of poverty from an economics standpoint.

“Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brian As Constantly Pulling All Nighters” (Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress, 2013) Bryce Covert discusses the negative impacts poverty has on cognition.

“The Psychology of Scarcity: Days Late, Dollars Short” (The Economist, Aug. 31, 2013)

“'Scarcity': Brother, can you spare ... anything? Scarcity makes us dumber and more impulsive and makes us look differently at problems, study says” (Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 11, 2014)

"The Scarcity Mindset...Beneficial or Poisonous?" (Adam Baker, Man Vs. Debt, Jan. 10, 2012) Baker weighs the pros and cons of having a “scarcity mindset.”

“Scarcity principle” (Changing Minds, 2013) An explanation of the scarcity principle.

“Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” (Shane Parrish, Farnam Street, Dec. 12, 2013)

“Understanding Trade-offs and Consequences” (Stew Liff, Strategic Thinking, 2014) A brief explanation of trade-off thinking and the consequences that can result.

"What is Behavioral Economics?" (Jodi Beggs, This article provides a brief overview of behavioral economics and the pressures that affect decision making. 

“Why Can’t More Poor People Escape Poverty?” (Jamie Holmes, New Republic, 2011) Understanding poverty and the scarcity trap.


Related Articles Written by the Authors

Kling, J. R., Mullainathan, S., Shafir, E., Vermeulen, L. C., & Wrobel, M. V. (2012). Comparison Friction: Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans.The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127(1), 199-235.

Mani, A., Mullainathan, S., Shafir, E., & Zhao, J. (2013). Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function. Science, 341(6149), 976-980.

“The Mistake Busy People Make: We think we need to manage time, but we also need to manage bandwidth” (Sendhil Mullainathan, TIME, Sep. 9, 2013)

Shah, A., Mullainathan, S., & Shafir, E. 2012. Some consequences of having too little. Science, Vol. 338, no. 6107, pp. 682-685.




Listen to interviews with the authors on the publisher’s website at

“How Scarcity Impacts Society, Gideon Vs. Wainwright, Banned Books Week, Teaching Emotional Intelligence” (Wisconsin Public Radio, Sep. 23, 2013, 43:26 mins.) This is a conversation with Eldar Shafir in which the author discusses the main ideas covered in the book.

“How Scarcity Trap Affects our Thinking, Behavior” (Shankar Vedantam, NPR, Jan. 2, 2014, 5:41 mins.) This radio review of Scarcity focuses on the premise of the book and includes audio from the authors.


“Abundance is our future.” (Peter Diamandis, TED, Feb. 2012, 16:14 mins.) In this talk, we are asked to consider how scarcity can be transformed into abundance if we readjust our expectations and adopt a more optimistic worldview.

“Decisions Under Scarcity” (Columbia Business, May 3, 2010, 55:09 mins.)

“Eldar Shafir on the Psychology of Scarcity” (The Aspen Institute, Jun. 27, 2013, 2:23 mins.) Shafir lectures on planning and scarcity, drawing heavily from the suitcase metaphor in Scarcity.

“Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much (Full Session)” (The Aspen Institute, Aug. 1, 2013, 55:51 mins.)

“Sendhil Mullainathan: Changing How We Think About Poverty” (The Aspen Institute, Jun. 27, 2013, 4:39 mins.)

"TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 - Eldar Shafir - Living Under Scarcity" (Eldar Shafir, TEDx Talks, Dec. 2, 2011, 13:37) In this video, Scarcity Author Eldar Shafir talks about decision making and scarcity.