Benjamin Lockwood has won the NTA’s Outstanding Dissertation Prize for 2016. Benjamin is an Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. His primary field of research is public finance, with a focus on optimal taxation and behavioral economics. His research uses theory and computational simulations to understand the role of tax policy in improving efficiency and reducing inequality in the presence of frictions like behavioral biases and externalities. He received his Ph.D in business economics from Harvard University in May 2016.
Benjamin’s dissertation, entitled “Essays in Optimal Taxation,” addresses several important questions of tax policy. The first chapter studies the role of work subsidies like the Earned Income Tax Credit, and how they can be used to encourage labor supply when consumers are present biased. The second chapter, jointly written with Charles Nathanson and Glen Weyl, explores how income taxes can be used to encourage talented workers to pursue professions which have beneficial spillovers for society. The third chapter, jointly written with Dmitry Taubinsky, studies how to tax goods with harmful side effects, such as cigarettes or soda, when such taxes might be regressive.