Papers on bankruptcy protection, autism diagnosis win second annual MIT Sloan doctoral research forum

Eight PhD candidates present research to faculty, peers, panel of judges

April 3, 2014

PhD candidates Phech Colatat and Felipe Severino talk at MIT Sloan’s 2014 doctoral research forum

PhD candidates Phech Colatat and Felipe Severino talk at MIT Sloan’s 2014 doctoral research forum

Felipe Severino won first prize at MIT Sloan’s 2014 doctoral research forum for his paper “Personal Bankruptcy Protection and Household Debt.” Severino, a PhD candidate in financial economics, showed that increased personal bankruptcy protection levels in the U.S. raised the volume of credit card debt, but did not increase credit card delinquency or correlate to increased riskiness in the pool of borrowers.

Second place went to Phech Colatat, a PhD candidate in economic sociology, for his paper “Imprinting Variation: The Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder at Two Specialty Clinics.” In the paper, Colatet examined autism diagnosis at clinics managed by Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He found “substantial variation” in diagnosis rates, but described ways work at the clinical level could stabilize those rates.

The forum, held March 21 on campus, featured 15-minute presentations by eight PhD candidates. Each presenter gave an overview of their research and fielded questions from a panel of three alumni judges: Wesley Chan, PhD ’02, a director at Acadian Asset Management; Sarah Kaplan, PhD ’04, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; and Marshall Van Alstyne, PhD ’98, an associate professor at Boston University School of Management.

Students’ research spanned a wide range of topics, including the internet video industry in China; the relationship between online reputation, social media endorsements and sales; the impact of “product attachment” on the price of artisan goods; the Beijing real estate market bubble; the effectiveness of uniform subsidies in markets such as vaccinations; and the impact of index funds and exchange-traded funds on asset management fees.