MBA student receives second-place research award

Brinda Gupta, MBA ’20 nabbed a second-place award for her research on earned income tax credits at the university-wide Graduate Research Symposium. At the symposium on March 19, 2019, Gupta presented work she supports through Washington University’s Social Policy Institute.

The study, in partnership with Intuit Inc. and Duke University, posed the hypothetical probability that earned income tax credit recipients would postpone use of their tax refund for six months if offered modest savings bonuses. The EITC is a refundable tax credit and is an opportunity for recipients to increase savings in low- and moderate-households. However, refunds are often used for other purposes such as making large purchases and reducing unsecured debt.

Individuals are likely to save part of their tax refund if they are offered modest bonuses. This has significant policy implications because it suggests that people will save their refund at a much lower rate than what is proposed in a senate bill.”

This work has been done through the Social Policy Institute under the guidance of professors Michal Grinstein-Weiss and Mat Despard. This work is also timely given Olin’s focus on business and policy, such as coursework MBA students take in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the Brookings Institution.

“My role at the Social Policy Institute has magnified my classroom experiences in unique ways such as applying lessons about cross-sector collaboration, industry’s impact in policymaking, and behavioral economics,” Gupta said.

Washington University’s Social Policy Institute will be formally launched in September 2019. Dean Taylor, Kurt Dirks, and Bart Hamilton serve on its faculty steering committee.

Judges, students, faculty, and staff were excited by the study and research presented. Gupta was the only Olin student who presented at the symposium.

“Winning second place alongside PhD students from across campus was extremely humbling and inspired me to continue to take on more responsibilities with the institute team next year,” Gupta said.

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