Students, Researchers and Faculty Lead at National Tax Association Conference

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, along with the Fiscal Research Center and (FRC) the Center for State and Local Finance (CSLF), were among the country’s preeminent scholars in tax policy who attended the recent National Tax Association Conference in Maryland.

In particular, the school’s graduate research assistants, excelled at the conference, showcasing their work and next generation research in public finance and economics. We highlight three below.

Oronde Small

Oronde Small

Oronde Small, a Ph.D. student in economics and a FRC graduate research assistant, presented “Effects of Monitoring Intensity and Taxpayer Service Delivery on Filing and Payment of the CIT and GST for Large Taxpayers in Jamaica.”

About Oronde: Oronde has been a graduate research assistant with the Fiscal Research Center since 2012. A native of Jamaica, he previously served within the country’s Ministry of Finance as director of international trade relations and as an economist in the Taxation Policy Division. His main research interests include macroeconomic policy, trade policy, public policy, tax compliance and health economics. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

“I came to AYSPS because it is renowned for its public finance program, and I thought it would not only provide training, but also exposure to a great research environment. My primary research interest is public finance. Having been at AYSPS I have also developed an interest in health, education and applied econometrics. I am particularly interested in working on important policy issues in the above areas in developing countries. My career objective is to undertake research to inform economic and social policies that will significantly contribute the development of these countries.”


Rahul Pathak

Rahul Pathak

Rahul Pathak, a Ph.D. student in economics and a CSLF and FRC graduate research assistant, worked with Carolyn Bourdeaux (CSLF director and associate professor) and Sally Wallace (FRC director and associate dean) on research into tax reform efforts. Consequently, the paper appeared in State Tax Notes, and Wallace presented “State Tax Measures and Revenue Growth Through and Post Crisis,” to showcase their findings.


About Rahul: Rahul is a graduate research assistant with the Center for State and Local Finance and the Fiscal Research Center and a doctoral candidate in public policy at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. He has a master’s degree in development studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Prior to joining the Andrew Young School, Pathak worked as research associate at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. His key research interests include issues related to state and local finance, employment and poverty.

“One of the reasons that I chose AYSPS for my doctoral study was a strong public finance program. This is my third year working for the Fiscal Research Center and Center for State and Local Finance. I have co-authored multiple reports and one academic paper for CSLF/FRC, and I have enjoyed this experience.”


Mels de Zeeuw, who obtained a master’s degree in economics while serving as a CSLF graduate research assistant, worked with Laura Wheeler (CSLF/FRC senior research associate) to examine tax credits/incentives for electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Wheeler presented preliminary findings of some of their research at the NTA conference entitled, “The Effect of State Tax Incentives on the Purchase of Alternative Fuel Vehicles.”

About Mels:Mels is currently working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as a research analyst. Before immigrating to the United States, he received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in American history at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His research interests include federal and state fiscal policy and energy policy.

“At the Center for State and Local Finance, and the Fiscal Research Center, I had the opportunity to delve into state and local tax policy, mostly in Georgia, but in other states as well. Working with the amazing team at both centers not only taught me valuable research skills, it also made me appreciate the role of state legislatures and state-level policymaking, as well as the importance of the high-quality, data-driven, nonpartisan evaluation thereof. Perhaps most importantly, I learned a lot about incentives, and the sometimes unintended consequences of (often well-meaning) tax policy. The skills and insights I learned at the CSLF and FRC have served me well in my current job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where I analyze data on policies and trends that affect low- and moderate-income households across the Southeast of the US.”

Other NTA Conference Notes:


  • Biplab Datta (Ph.D. student in economics) presented “Is There a School Finance Channel? Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on K-12 Education in the USA.”
  • Sohani Fatehin (Ph.D. student in economics) and David Sjoquist (professor of economics, and CSLF/FRC affiliated faculty) presented “High Wage Job Growth and Tax.”
  • Antonios Koumpias (Ph.D. student in economics) presented “The Effects of Compliance Reminders on Tax Payments in Greece: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach.”


  • Robert Buschman (FRC senior research associate) served as a discussant.
  • Carlianne Patrick (assistant professor of economics, affiliated faculty with CSLF and FRC) organized and chaired the NTA Next Generation panel and the Graduate Student Research Forum. She also served as the chair of the Student Initiatives for the conference.
  • Louis Perrault (assistant professor of economics) presented “Optimal Taxation with Work Experience as a Risky Investment.”
  • Sally Wallace presented “Culture, Compliance, and Confidentiality: A Study of Taxpayer Behavior in the US and Italy,” joint work with Susan Laury, Dan Lee (alumnus), Jim Alm, and Michele Bernasconi.
  • Laura Wheeler (CSLF and FRC senior research associate) served as a Program Committee Member for the 2016 Annual Meetings.


  • Denvil Duncan (associate professor at Indiana University and an Andrew Young School alumnus) presented “The Italian Blitz: Audit Probability and Tax Compliance Evidence from a Natural Experiment.”

To view presentations and papers presented at the NTA conference, click here.