Dawn Rivers '14

Dawn Rivers ’14 Wins Best Paper Award at National Conference

April 8, 2014

Hartwick student Dawn Rivers '14 presented her award-winning research paper during the Issues In Political Economy (IPE) Undergraduate Research Competition at the Eastern Economic Association (EEA) Conference in Boston, MA, on March 7-8, 2014. Her paper, titled "Behavioral Responses to Tax Incentives Among Small Business Taxpayers: An Analysis of the Sole Proprietor Capital Spending, 2000-2010," was selected post-event as the conference's best paper.

Rivers wrote her paper in the fall of 2013 under the guidance of Professor of Economics Dr. Carlena Ficano. 

"It was an important research project for me because I had been interested in the topic for a long time," explained Rivers. "The issue of whether and how small businesses were responding to the increase in the Section 179 expensing cap was, in a sense, the issue that inspired me to return to school after a 35-year absence."

At the EEA conference, Rivers presented her paper and also served as a discussant. She called the opportunity an "excellent learning experience."

"Dawn's work, which draws upon both economic and anthropological research methods to address a topic of contemporary policy significance, is an outstanding example of the increasing relevance of a liberal arts education in today's world," said Ficano. "Dawn represents the best of Hartwick's liberal arts in practice."

Issues in Political Economy is an undergraduate research journal edited entirely by students, under the guidance of faculty at the University of Mary Washington and Elon University. IPE was founded on the belief that the best way to learn about economics is to do economics. As stated on the IPE website, through the process of research, writing, and peer review, students actively engage the discipline in a way not possible by simply listening to lectures and reading textbooks.

Every year, the IPE holds a series of sessions via an undergraduate conference where students present their research papers, listen to other students, and participate as panel discussants.

Rivers' attendance at this conference was made possible through a generous gift from Hartwick alumna Carol Ann Hamilton Coughlin '86.

For additional information, contact Ficano at 607-431-4946 or at

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031