The Wharton School

In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania — a radical idea that revolutionized both business practice and higher education.

Since then, the Wharton School has continued innovating to meet mounting global demand for new ideas, deeper insights, and  transformative leadership. We blaze trails, from the nation’s first collegiate center for entrepreneurship in 1973 to our latest research centers in alternative investments and neuroscience.

Wharton's faculty members generate the intellectual innovations that fuel business growth around the world. Actively engaged with the leading global companies, governments, and non-profit organizations, they represent the world's most comprehensive source of business knowledge.

For more information, see the Research, Directory & Publications site.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 4065
  • Publication
    Do Additional Dollars Buy Engagement? Effects of Monetary Incentives on Attending Financial Aid Counseling for At-Risk Students
    (2024-04-01) Cox, James C.
    During the COVID pandemic, many financially vulnerable students at Georgia State University (GSU) received money from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). With this money depleted, GSU administrators were concerned that GSU HEERF recipients would be at risk of dropping out. They wanted these students to receive financial counseling advising students about their options to successfully fund their education. However, uptake for similar counseling had historically been low. In this context, GSU planned to email HEERF fund recipients inviting them to attend financial counseling.
  • Publication
    New Insights into Improving Financial Well-being
    (2024-04-01) Coats, Jennifer
    Financial well-being (FWB) is often measured using the CFPB’s Financial Well-Being Scale, but there are many alternative ways to assess this concept, including individual perceptions of FWB (e.g., financial satisfaction or stress), objective outcomes that are indicative of FWB (e.g., net wealth and retirement adequacy), and behaviors that influence FWB (e.g., planning, saving, and budgeting). Improving FWB requires a nuanced understanding of factors contributing to these measures. We present results of an analysis designed to investigate the drivers through which individuals attain FWB across its different dimensions. Individual discount rates, risk preferences, and financial self-confidence consistently contribute to different indicators of FWB. In particular, we find significant evidence that both the discount rate and self-confidence in financial decision-making have strong impacts on the dimensions of FWB. Financial literacy has an important moderating role in relation to these two drivers and to income. Personality traits, such as conscientiousness and neuroticism are influential in alternative ways across models.
  • Publication
    Financial Literacy, Portfolio Choice, and Wealth Inequality: A General Equilibrium Approach
    (2024-04-12) Kim, Min
    I develop a general equilibrium model in which households allocate their wealth to safe and risky assets (“bonds” and “stocks”) and accumulate financial literacy to raise their risk-adjusted stock returns. Calibrated to match financial literacy and stock market participation rate of U.S. households, the model demonstrates that a policy subsidizing financial literacy acquisition increases short-run stock investments. In equilibrium, however, the resulting aggregate capital growth lowers the average equity premium, thereby moderating the subsidy’s impact. The policy mitigates wealth inequality by inducing heterogeneous portfolio adjustments across the wealth distribution. With the subsidy, the middle wealth quartiles acquire more financial literacy and shift their portfolios toward stocks. The top quartile attains its maximum literacy level prior to the subsidy and shifts toward bonds to compensate for lower stock returns. The ratio of total wealth held by the top quartile versus the rest of the population decreases.
  • Publication
    Defining and Designing an Ethical Approach to Generative Artificial Intelligence in Text-to-Image Modeling
    (2024) Goodman, Drake
    This paper addresses the ethical concerns that generative artificial intelligence (AI) in text-to-image modeling poses, specifically in protecting social equality and against discrimination. It first defines AI and explains the focus on generative AI. It then discusses the emergence of generative AI modeling, as well as prominent players in the generative AI text-to-image space. After explaining different ethical questions that have arisen in response to the rapid deployment of the technology, this paper establishes an ethical claim for why AI developers need to design these models to protect social equality and reduce stereotypes. This occurs in two ways. The first is explaining how the biases and stereotypes present in generative AI differ from the world before this technology existed. The second is establishing why amplifying stereotypes and biases is wrong, as well as why generative AI developers specifically have a moral obligation to protect social equality.
  • Publication
    Unveiling financial inclusion: transaction size and cashless payment use in Mexico
    (2023) Bernstein, Heather
    In Mexico, only about 47% of the population has a bank account and almost all transactions are conducted in cash— trends notably lower than in countries with similar levels of GDP per capita. To examine this phenomenon, this study analyzes the use of cashless payments by transaction size in Mexico between 2002 and 2022. The results reveal that in 2022, cashless payments accounted for 4.4% of transactions and 13.4% of transaction value (MXD). Subsequently, cashless payment use is more frequent for higher value transactions than for lower value ones. Analysis of payment use for different segments of the population reveals significant urban-rural and socioeconomic gaps. Analysis of payment usage across distinct transaction types indicates that the location of purchase influences payment preferences more than the spending category. Lastly, debit cards and electronic funds transfers have experienced the most growth in payment usage between 2016 and 2022 in Mexico, particularly for medium and high value transactions. However, informal credit such as tabs remain popular for very low and very high transaction values. Given that cashless payment use is of principal importance in promoting equal access to financial services, results from this study suggest that public policy should tailor financial products and services to rural and low-income households, reduce the informal economy, and address payment infrastructure disparities.
  • Publication
    Private Equity and Lender Dynamics in Corporate Financial Distress
    (2024) Tong, Andrew
    This paper presents an analysis of the role of private equity (PE) and lender dynamics in financial distress. Employing a dataset of leveraged loans from 2011 to 2019, this study explores relationships between PE sponsors and creditors in corporate restructurings and updates prior literature from previous periods. Preliminary findings suggest that PE sponsors not only increase the propensity of default but also manage to decelerate the default process. In doing so, they preserve equity value. Comparably, institutional loans, which are predominantly covenant-lite, intensify default risk yet delay default timing. Enhanced sponsor reputation and greater lender concentration are both associated with slower default times, possibly the product of more favorable financing and decreased coordination costs. These dynamics promote more efficient restructuring outcomes, driven by a higher tendency for out-of-court solutions over Chapter 11 bankruptcies. This paper thus indicates that the interplay of sponsor and creditor characteristics leads to heterogeneous default outcomes.
  • Publication
    Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevalence and Survey Non-Response Rates in Asian Americans
    (2023) Lin, Isabelle
    Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are one of the most prevalent diseases in America with an estimated annual incidence of 20 million cases.1 Over 50% of U.S. adults will have one STD in their lifetime.2 From 2017 to 2021, total reported STDs increased by 7%.3 Studies have shown that people of color often suffer disproportionately from these diseases. Thus, racial and ethnic disparities in STDs are national priorities. Asian people do not appear to show higher STD rates than White people. However, through analyzing publicly available datasets from the CDC, it is revealed that Asian people have the highest non-response rates for questions regarding sexual health. Using an additional study conducted on a survey platform, it was found that Asian people also showed significantly lower levels of willingness to discuss sexual health with family and answer questions about sexual health on surveys compared to other topics like general health care. This indicates that while on the surface, Asians appear not to suffer from sexual health disparities, in actuality, STD rates may be higher than Whites but are masked due to non-response. Research into Asian sexual health remains greatly understudied. These findings demonstrate that further inquiry is warranted to understand trends of non-response and produce a more accurate estimate of prevalence.
  • Publication
    The Neurodegenerative Effects of Occupational Blasts on Military and Law Enforcement Personnel
    (2024) Roberto Lemus
    This paper gives a thorough analysis of current and past research on the neurodegenerative effects of blast overpressure on military and law enforcement personnel. Chronic neurodegenerative disease has historically been studied among sports such as football and boxing, leading to both pathological and symptomatological findings that have been used as diagnosis tools. The start of war in the Middle East led to a discovery in the same pathological and symptomatological discoveries in military settings. Blast overpressure waves are suspected to be the catalyst attributing to these findings, produced through occupational factors such as weapons. The research analyzed in this paper is used to give a concluding set of general guidelines for prevention practices that can be applied to military and law enforcement training settings. The use of brain proteins as a diagnostic tool for chronic neurodegenerative diseases like CTE is discussed.
  • Publication
    Proptech and Housing: A Solution to the Affordability Crisis?
    (2024) Steinberg, Hailey
    Rental home affordability is a growing concern across the United States, perpetuating secondary issues of homelessness and food insecurity. Despite many policy interventions aimed at promoting affordable housing, rising costs far outpace the current solutions. Previous research has explored the relationship between modular construction methods and cheaper construction cost. I hypothesize that, given cheaper costs, modular housing should reduce rent prices at the hyperlocal level. To test my hypothesis, I investigated the rent price per square foot for 200 homes (100 modular homes and 100 traditionally-built) across five major U.S. cities. I found that modular construction has no statistically significant impact on rent price per square foot. While modular construction may offer potential long-term benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, the full realization of these advantages may not have happened yet. Future studies should consider a more extensive sample of homes before recommendations regarding modular construction subsidies can be made.
  • Publication
    Impact of Insurance Coverage on Access to Eating Disorder Treatment
    (2024-05-01) Sadioglu, Yael
    The rising incidence and severity of eating disorders, along with demonstrated gaps in access, requires a better understanding of eating disorder treatment, particularly the insurance coverage landscape. In order to address this gap, I conduct a two-part analysis by identifying the insurance-related barriers to access and designing informed policies targeting those barriers. Using a framework developed by Eisenberg and Power (2000), I develop a conceptual model of voltage drops, defined as challenges that patients encounter that reduce the likelihood of receiving high-quality care for their eating disorders. I then conduct semi-structured interviews with 11 field experts from treatment centers, advocacy organizations, and legal backgrounds to gather their insight on barriers to accessing eating disorder treatment and suggestions to remove those barriers. I use rapid qualitative methods to identify key themes across interviews. Key barriers include public insurers’ inadequate coverage of ED services, private insurers’ narrow networks, restrictive eligibility criteria such as BMI cutoffs, and frequent utilization reviews with length of stay limitations. The main suggestions include expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage, increasing standardization and transparency for private plans, and ensuring parity between eating disorders and other mental and physical health conditions. Finally, I translate the qualitative findings into actionable and comprehensive policy initiatives that target individual voltage drops. These include 1) policies targeting data collection via national organizations, such as CDC and NIH, 2) policies enhancing coverage for both public and private insurers through congressional agencies and state-level mandates, and lastly, 3) policies introducing accountability through network adequacy standards with secret shopper studies, and grassroots efforts, such as report cards and insurer rating platforms. Overall, this paper underscores the need to transform public and private insurance coverage for eating disorders and provides profound and targeted policy initiatives to do so.