Professor Spyridon Lagaras Receives Knowledge Challenge Grant

Spyridon Lagaras, Assistant Professor of Finance, has been awarded the Knowledge Challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success.

The Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposals for research activities aimed at improving our basic understanding of entrepreneurs and the levers, tools, and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States.

“The grants under this Knowledge Challenge are focused on inclusion and the importance of answering questions about the relationship between entrepreneurship, economic opportunity, and mobility,” said Samee Desai, Director of Knowledge Creation and Research at the Kauffman Foundation. “We’re excited to learn from the research collaborations that are investigating this nexus, as well as to a more inclusive research pipeline that will continue to push us forward. As we all struggle with the very serious effects of COVID-19, we need research that informs our way forward, not to go back to how things were, but to achieve a more resilient and inclusive economic system that serves all of us in the future.”

The grant, which is for $220,000, is entitled "Securing the Gig: Entrepreneurship and the Rise of the Platform Economy," and is joint with Matthew Denes of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Margarita Tsoutsoura of Cornell University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

“The proposed project will investigate the effect of the gig economy on entrepreneurship using detailed administrative microdata from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),” said Lagaras. “We plan to study how the gig economy affects entry into entrepreneurship, nascent firm growth, and their sources of capital/funding.”

Together with funding from CMU's Block Center for Technology and Society and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, their research on the gig economy using administrative data on tax filings from the IRS has received nearly $400,000 in funding.

“My research team and I are quite excited about this research agenda and aim to provide insights that have only become more timely during the pandemic,” said Lagaras.

For more information about the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, please visit www.kauffman.org.