8 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 research across many areas and disciplines.

We’re pleased to announce the 2019-2020 WSII Fund for Social Impact Research winners:


Hamsa Bastani, Assistant Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Bastani’s research focuses on analyzing dark web data related to sex trafficking. Her findings will provide new insights into online sex-trafficking recruiting practices and, more broadly, illicit supply chains on online platforms.



Witold Henisz, Professor of Management.

Henisz’s research will examine the unique capabilities of companies operating in conflict-affected countries, as well as their interactions with other local and foreign firms, non-governmental organizations, and government actors. The project is a collaboration with Management Department doctoral students Rachel Pacheco and James McGlinch.


Kartik Hosanagar, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Hosanagar’s research will explore how AI algorithms can be more fair and interpretable, as there are many examples of gender and race-based biases in algorithms used in job recruiting, loan approvals, and healthcare.




Aymeric Bellon, Doctoral Student, Finance.

Bellon aims to understand how impact investing and portfolio decarbonization can affect firms’ investment in projects and technologies that reduce greenhouse emissions.



headshot of joshua lewis in a dark blazer and light blue collared shirtJoshua Lewis, Doctoral Student, Operations, Information & Decisions.

In collaboration with Wharton Marketing Professor Deborah Small, Lewis will examine how charitable donors respond to information about the cost-effectiveness of their donations, and how nonprofit organizations should frame cost-effectiveness information to encourage donors to give more when the cost of making an impact is lower.


Pia Ramchandani, Doctoral Student, Operations, Information & Decisions.

Ramchandani’s research will analyze the coffee market to verify or disprove commonly cited barriers associated with growth of certification programs (like Fair Trade.) By analyzing the design of certification programs in the coffee market, Ramchandani hopes to develop insights into potential design improvements for other markets like produce, retail, and more.


headshot of ike silver in light red collared shirtIke Silver, Doctoral Student, Marketing.

Silver’s research examines the psychological mechanisms surrounding consumers’ decisions to share about their “good behavior” (such as donations, volunteering, and ethical purchasing).



headshot of begum ipek yavuz in a brown collared shirtBegum Ipek Yavuz, Doctoral Student, Finance.

Yavuz’s research investigates how investor activism can affect the social impact performance of public companies, with the goal of understanding how shareholder activists change the corporate social responsibility practices within a firm by taking an active role in management.



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