Reflections from the Summer of Coronavirus by Atrey Bhargava (A’21)

by PriyankaK
Dec 07

While it is coronavirus that has dominated my summer 2020 experience, through the Institute of Global Leadership and various other programs, I have been able to develop my skills set and work in two similar, yet very different styles of, internships. The first is with a finance and ethics think tank that is called the Seven Pillars Institute (SPI). The other is as a Research Assistant (RA) position with my development economics professor from my study abroad experience at the University of Oxford.

For my first internship, I was tasked with writing two papers that will (hopefully!) be published, either on SPI’s website or in the Journal of Finance and Ethics. The first paper I worked on was a reflection and comment on the Business Roundtable meeting from last year that called for a need to change the purpose of corporations to include more stakeholders than just shareholders. The paper was divided into four sections. The first section analyzed the historical implications of having shareholder primacy as the principal purpose of corporations. The second section elaborated on the already mentioned recommendations from the business roundtable - and added new purposes corporations ought to follow considering the recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. The third section mentions the steps that have been or can easily be taken by corporations to act on the purposes they have announced last year. The last section gives an ethical summary, through a utilitarian and a moral lens – of the rationale behind why the change in the purposes of corporations is necessary.

My second paper is trying to understand if colleges should use their endowments instead of furloughing staff, stopping construction activity or using other cost-cutting measures to bridge the income gap because of the coronavirus. A more detailed analysis of the paper will be written in my final blog for the IGL.

My second internship, while still in the realm of economics, has been focused on data analytics. For the first part of my internship, I transcribed data on the lynchings of Mexicans in the United States between 1849-1926. This data included, but was not limited to, the name of the victim, the place of death, the manner of death, and the reason for death. Most of this data is from the book Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States by William Carrigan and Clive Webb. All this data is now being used to understand the dynamics of the lynching of Mexicans. One of the outcomes, for example, is understanding the spatial distribution of lynchings over decades and with respect to different states. At the moment, I am using STATA and QGIS – a data analytics and spatial mapping software – to reach my desired goal. Along with this, I will be writing a literature review of the dataset and trying to understand how lynching patterns affected Mexican migration to the United States in the same time-period. The IGL has provided both mentorship and financial help in making these possible. Consequently, I really appreciate the support from the IGL and other communities that have helped me pursue these two internships and make this summer possible.