Dina D. Pomeranz

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Dina Pomeranz is an assistant professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, where she teaches the Entrepreneurial Manager course in the MBA required curriculum. 

She is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an affiliate professor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a member of the International Growth Centre (IGC) based at LSE/Oxford, and of the HBS Social Entreprise Initiative. Besides her academic interests, she serves on the board or advisory board of a number of social enterprise ventures committed to translating research into practice.

Dina Pomeranz is an assistant professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, where she teaches the Entrepreneurial Manager course in the MBA required curriculum. 

She is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an affiliate professor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a member of the International Growth Centre (IGC) based at LSE/Oxford, and of the HBS Social Entreprise Initiative. Besides her academic interests, she serves on the board or advisory board of a number of social enterprise ventures committed to translating research into practice.

Professor Pomeranz’s research focuses on public policies towards firms and entrepreneurs in emerging markets. In particular, she has conducted large-scale randomized field experiments about tax evasion by firms and about determinants and impacts of formal savings for low-income microentrepreneurs. In current work, she is analyzing the impact of tax subsidies and public procurement regulations on investment and growth of SMEs in emerging markets. Prior to joining HBS, she served as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, with a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and BA and MA degrees in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Beyond her research, Dina Pomeranz has been active in a variety of organizations, including as a consultant to Ernst & Young, the World Bank, the Chilean and Ecuadorian Tax Authorities, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. She serves on the board of Evidence Action and TAMTAM-Together Against Malaria and on the advisory board of Instiglio and IDinsight. 

  1. Under-Savers Anonymous

    We test the effectiveness of self-help peer groups as a commitment device for precautionary savings, through two randomized field experiments among 2,687 microentrepreneurs in Chile. The first experiment finds that self-help peer groups are a powerful tool to increase savings (number of deposits grows 3.5-fold and average savings balance almost doubles). Conversely, a substantially higher interest rate has no effect on most participants. A second experiment tests an alternative delivery mechanism and shows that effects of a similar size can be achieved by holding people accountable through feedback text messages, without any meetings or peer pressure.

  2. No Taxation without Information

    Tax evasion generates billions of dollars of losses in government revenue and creates large distortions, especially in developing countries. A growing, mostly theoretical literature argues that information flows are central to understanding effective taxation. This paper analyzes the role of information for tax enforcement in the case of the Value Added Tax (VAT) through two randomized field experiments with over 400,000 Chilean firms. Claims that the VAT facilitates tax enforcement by generating a paper trail on transactions between firms have led to widespread VAT adoption worldwide, but there is surprisingly little evidence. I find that the paper trail acts as a substitute to a firm's own audit risk. A message announcing increased tax enforcement has a much smaller effect on reporting of transactions that are already covered by a paper trail. A second experiment shows that the paper trail leads to spillovers that create important multiplier effects in tax enforcement. The impact of a random audit announcement is transmitted up the VAT chain, increasing compliance by firms' suppliers. These findings confirm that when evasion is taken into account, significant differences emerge between taxes that are equivalent in standard models but generate different information on taxable transactions.

  3. Start-Up Chile: April 2012

    Start-Up Chile is a unique program to encourage entrepreneurs to bring their new ventures to Chile. Policymakers must evaluate its effectiveness in achieving economic and social goals. http://startupchile.org/

  4. The Promise of Micro Finance and Women's Empowerment

    The microfinance revolution has transformed access to financial services for low-income populations worldwide. As a result, it has become one of the most talked about innovations in global development in recent decades. However, its expansion has not been without controversy. While many hailed it as a way to end world poverty and promote female empowerment, others condemned it as a disaster for the poor. Female empowerment has often been seen as of one the key promises of the industry. In part, this is based on the fact that more than 80% of its poorest clients, i.e., those who live on less than US $1.25/day, are women. This paper discusses what we have learned so far about the potential and limits of microfinance and how insights form research and practice can help reform the industry’s current products, policies and future development.