7 Wharton Faculty & Doctoral Students Awarded Funding for Social Impact Research

Rigorous research provides the foundation for meaningful and sustainable social change.

The Wharton Social Impact Initiative Fund for Social Impact Research helps support faculty and doctoral social impact research across many areas and disciplines.

Awards typically range from $1,000 – $10,000, allowing recipients to advance their social impact research, develop social impact course materials, attend research conferences on social impact topics, and work on other related projects.

We’re pleased to announce the 2018-2019 WSII Fund for Social Impact Research awardees:

Witold Henisz, Professor of Management.

Henisz’s research will examine corporate propaganda in response to social activism (such as the mobilization of false counter-movements of fake social media accounts) and analyze the determinants of their success or failure.


Kartik Hosanagar, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Hosanagar’s research will help employers and regulators better understand how algorithmic screening in hiring can help mitigate implicit bias, as well as the ways in which it can worsen bias.


Shane Jensen, Associate Professor of Statistics.

Jensen’s research focuses on the association between crime and different aspects of the built environment of local neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and will investigate new data sources that could provide more direct data on pedestrian traffic and activity in public spaces.


Sarah Light, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics.

Light’s research goals are to contribute to an improved understanding of how investor pressure influences organizational behavior with regard to environmental disclosure, and to contribute to improving the practice of impact investing by measuring how environmental disclosure predicts environmental performance. Project collaborators include Steven Kimbrough Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions and PhD student Lauren Kaufmann.


Mary-Hunter McDonnell, Assistant Professor of Management.

McDonnell’s research investigates how characteristics like educational background, career history, and demographics of CSR committee members on public company boards influence firms’ social issue responsiveness and impact.


Serguei Netessine, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Netessine’s research will test various business models that bring rechargeable electric bulbs to consumers in Rwanda who do not have access to the electrical grid.



Ike Silver, Doctoral Student, Marketing.

Silver’s research aims to elucidate the incentives that firms face when deciding whether or not to engage in socially positive activities, and he plans to develop recommendations for firms wishing both to do good and to succeed in the marketplace.


Stay tuned to learn more about awardees and their upcoming research. Read more about Wharton Social Impact’s research and affiliated faculty.