Jack Liebersohn and Isil Erel

Jack Liebersohn, assistant professor of economics at UCI, and Isil Erel, David A. Rismiller Chair in Finance and academic director of the Risk Institute at the Fisher College of Business of The Ohio State University, are co-recipients of the 2023 Bradford-Osborne Research Award. The honor annually recognizes groundbreaking research on entrepreneurship and business ownership by underrepresented individuals, families, and communities in the U.S.

In their award-winning paper, “Can FinTech reduce disparities in access to finance? Evidence from the Paycheck Protection Program,” Liebersohn and Erel shared their findings on what was a major part of the government's relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Funds were distributed through the financial system, including through banks and through online lenders known as FinTech,” says Liebersohn. “We found that, compared to banks, FinTechs provided more loans to people locked out of the traditional banking system. They also provided more loans to low-income neighborhoods and to neighborhoods with a larger minority share of the population.”

Liebersohn joined the UCI faculty in fall 2020 following two years as an assistant professor of finance at The Ohio State University. He earned his bachelor’s in economics and mathematics at Amherst College and then spent three years working as a research assistant between the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. and Innovations for Poverty Action in New Delhi, India before heading to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a Ph.D. in financial economics from the Sloan School of Management.

Erel also earned her Ph.D. in financial economics at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Her bachelor's is in economics and business administration from Koc University, Turkey. In addition to her faculty post at Ohio State, she's a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)’s Corporate Finance program and a research member at the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI). She also serves on the boards of the European Finance Association (EFA), Foundation for the Advancement of Research in Financial Economics (FARFE), the Financial Intermediation Research Society (FIRS), and the Risk Institute.

The researchers will be presenting their work at an award ceremony to be held at the University of Washington on June 5th.

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