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) and at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and a member of the International Growth Centre (IGC) 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) and at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and a member of the International Growth Centre (IGC) 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. Current research

    by Dina D. Pomeranz

    Professor Pomeranz has conducted large-scale, randomized field experiments in Chile and Ecuador to answer questions about tax evasion and savings by small firms and microentrepreneurs. In current research, she studies the impacts of tax subsidies and of the public procurement system on investment and growth of small and medium size firms in emerging markets.
  2. Tax evasion

    by Dina D. Pomeranz

    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. Professor Pomeranz has analyzed the role of information for tax enforcement in the case of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Chile. She finds that the paper trail generated by the VAT leads to important spillovers in tax enforcement along the production chain. These findings confirm the claim that the VAT has self-enforcing properties, a claim that has contributed to widespread VAT adoption worldwide. They also point to the important role that firms play as aggregators of information, thereby facilitating tax enforcement.
  3. Savings among microentrepreneurs

    by Dina D. Pomeranz

    Poverty is often characterized not only by low average income, but also by highly variable income and expenditures, and by a lack of access to insurance services that can help smooth consumption. While commitment devices such as defaults and direct deposits from wages have been found to be highly effective in increasing savings, they are not available to the millions of people worldwide who work in the informal sector or as independent entrepreneurs, and who therefore do not have a formal wage bill.

    Professor Pomeranz has investigated low-income Chilean microentrepreneurs and found that self-help peer groups can be a highly effective alternative commitment device to encourage savings. Participation in a peer group program increased the number of deposits in formal savings accounts 3.5-fold and almost doubled the average savings balance. A subsequent experiment shows that more than 80 percent of the peer-group effect can be achieved through follow-up by simple text messages. These findings are particularly relevant in light of another study, in which Professor Pomeranz documents that low-income entrepreneurs can effectively use savings accounts for self-insurance and protection against economic shocks.