Mossavar-Rahmani Center announces 2023 Dunlop Undergraduate Thesis Prize winner

Ishan Bhatt.

Courtesy of Ishan Bhatt

2 min read

The Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government (M-RCBG) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government is pleased to announce the 2023 winner of the John T. Dunlop Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Business and Government.

Ishan Bhatt has won for his thesis, “Yes, Literally, In My Backyard: The Effect of ‘Gently’ Upzoning Single-Family Neighborhoods.” He is graduating from Harvard College this week with an A.B. in applied mathematics.

The John T. Dunlop Thesis Prize in Business and Government is awarded to graduating seniors who write the best thesis on a challenging public policy issue at the interface of business and government. The prize carries a $1,000 award.

This year’s winning thesis by Bhatt examines the effect of several attempts to deregulate housing infill in California on housing supply, rents, and nearby property values. He finds that supply constraints strongly predict accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction, suggesting ADUs are filling gaps in rental supply. However, a linear panel model shows that ADU construction is insufficient to decrease rent.

In explaining why the center chose to award the John Dunlop Prize to Bhatt this year, John A. Haigh, co-Ddirector of M-RCBG, said that “Ishan’s thesis was impressive in its execution. It represents the type of excellent analysis at the intersection of business and government that we value so highly here at the center.”