Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics
This page last updated on: March 15, 2021
The Baruch College Faculty Handbook
From: Linda Essig, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
It is my great pleasure to invite members of the Baruch College faculty to submit their work and that of their students for the Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics. The prizes are funded by a gift from alumnus Charles R. Dreifus (’66, MBA ’73) in honor of Abraham J. Briloff, Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor of Accountancy Emeritus. The official announcement for both faculty and student prizes appears below.
Abraham J. Briloff taught bookkeeping and stenography in high school beginning in the late 1930s, then moved on to teach accounting at Baruch College. By the late 1960s he had become a critic of unethical practice in the accounting profession. He remained affiliated with Baruch through the rest of his life. The Briloff Prize is an award in the spirit of Professor Briloff’s interest in normative ethics. The award committee invites essays in ethics with a special emphasis on normative concerns about practice. Those wishing to submit from book length materials are asked to select the chapter that best clarifies the normative arguments. All submitters are asked to submit a one paragraph abstract that summarizes the normative argument of the essay. The emphasis of the Briloff prizes is ethics in professional life; to wit, ethics in the broadest sense. Recent writings on current ethical issues in a wide range of formats—such as books, articles, essays, op-ed pieces, and websites—are eligible for the prizes, as are those written or recently published for traditional scholarly settings. All essays should be submitted in electronic format.
I hope that you will consider making a submission for the faculty prize and will encourage and work with your students to submit an essay for the student prize. Identifying good student essays that come your way and then working with those students to refine their efforts for eventual submission can be rewarding for both student and faculty members.
Renewed college-wide focus on ethics at Baruch began in spring 2003 with the faculty seminar “Ethics Across and Beyond the Curriculum.” Since then, the college has set aside one week each spring during which members of the faculty are encouraged to discuss ethical issues specific to their subjects/disciplines in their classrooms, and departments or programs invite outside speakers for public presentations. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 18, 2022. We will announce the winners of the Briloff Prizes as part of Ethics Week 2022 (tentatively scheduled for March 14-19).
ABRAHAM J. BRILOFF PRIZES IN ETHICS for 2021(awarded spring 2022)
The Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics are intended to stimulate scholarship in the field of ethics, with an emphasis on ethics in professional life. The prizes are funded by a gift from alumnus Charles R. Dreifus, (’66, MBA ’73) in honor of Abraham J. Briloff, Emmanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor of Accountancy Emeritus. The prizes are awarded annually to a faculty member who has written an important topical article, essay or book on ethics and to a student or students who have written an outstanding research paper or essay, also as it relates to current events.
Ethics in professional life is used in the broadest sense. Relevant topics include but are not limited to: ethical decision making for managers and professionals related to business enterprises, the ethical and social implications of investment policies, ethics in public policy, ethics in law and medicine, ethics in the academic world, the ethics of business and government relations, and corporate accountability.
FOR THE FACULTY PRIZE, any faculty member may submit an article, essay, op-ed piece, website, or book (please submit only one chapter), unpublished or recently published. Works must be topical and current; relevance is more important than length. THE FACULTY AWARD IS $1,500.
FOR THE STUDENT PRIZE, any currently enrolled Baruch College student may submit an original essay or research paper. Work that was done for a course may be submitted for this prize. Works must be topical and current; relevance is more important than length. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. THE STUDENT AWARD IS $500.
The prize winners are selected by a committee of faculty from the Zicklin School of Business, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Public Affairs. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 18, 2022.
Submissions and questions should be addressed to the Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics Committee:
Via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Ethics Competition
– or –
Via Campus Mail: EMAIL ONLY FOR 2021-22
Office of the Associate Provost, Briloff Committee, B4-230 Telephone: 646-660-6517
WINNERS OF THE BRILOFF PRIZE
FOR 2020 (awarded spring 2021)
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Edenberg, Department of Philosophy
“The Problem with Disagreement on Social Media: Moral not Epistemic,” is a chapter from the forthcoming volume Political Epistemology, edited by Elizabeth Edenberg and Michael Hannon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021). This essay addresses the problem of the fragmentation of the American body politic into deeply antagonistic groups, each with its own “set of facts.” Many have suggested these divisions result from problems of rationality and cognitive bias. The essay rejects the “cognitive failure” view. It argues that the deeper problem is moral failure: the failure of each side to respect the other as free and equal members of a common society.
Cameron Feigenbaum, Class of 2020 (Fall), Philosophy major, minor Political Science.
“The Utilitarian Approach to Self-Driving Cars.”
The committee wrote, “This up-to-the-minute essay considers three algorithms for self-driving cars, applying them in circumstances where all the available alternatives require harm to individuals. The first algorithm is ‘always maximize the safety of passengers,’ …the second is…’always maximize public safety,’ [and the third]…is ‘maximize the number of lives saved,’ without specifying which of the people saved are passengers or pedestrians. [The author argues the third algorithm] is the only rule that preserves fundamental intuitions of human equality.”
FOR 2019 (awarded spring 2020″
Assistant Professor Lauren E. Aydinliyim, Narendra Paul Loomba Department of Management, .
Her essay, “The Case for Ethical Non-Compete Agreements Executives Versus Sandwich Makers,” has been submitted for publication. The committee wrote: “The essay about prevalent non-compete agreements balances the concerns of corporations about unfair competition against employee concerns for freedom and autonomy. The author concludes that the lower down the employee fits into the corporate structure, the less rationale exists for the imposition of non-compete agreements. At higher levels, non-compete agreements are often justified, as they cannot (as many contend) be easily supplanted by alternative non-disclosure agreements.”
Paul Butterfield, Adjunct, Department of Philosophy.
“Focusing on the Gap: A Better Approach to the Morality of Humor.” The committee wrote: “This philosophical essay draws on resources from the Philosophy of Language to determine that, in many cases, a joke is not an assertion, and therefore it is not an assertion about any individual or about any group. ‘It’s just a joke,’ in many cases, will excuse language that would otherwise be inexcusable. The author has provided, in this essay, a little elbow room for the human imagination, otherwise threatened by overreaching attempts at correctness.”
Associate Professor Don Waisanen, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.
“The Upward Call,” is the first chapter of his forthcoming Improv for Democracy: How to Bridge Differences and Develop the Communication and Leadership Skills Our World Needs (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2021).
Graduate Student Winner
Joshua Nagel, PhD student in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
“When do stretch goals, outcome framing, and incentive structures lead to unintended consequences? Tradeoffs between task performance and ethical behavior,”
This paper describes an experiment examining the effect of goal difficulty, outcome framing, incentive structure, and their interactions on task performance and unethical behavior. Goal difficulty and the interaction of goal difficulty and outcome framing had a significant effect on task performance. The interaction between incentive structure and outcome framing had a significant effect on unethical behavior.
Samta Abrole, Senior Political Science major, minor English.
“United Nations’ International Accountability: Peacekeeping Forces’ Sexual Abuse Crimes”
The committee wrote, “The United Nations is commonly treated as a force for good, which may be true in many instances. However, it is not always good. A reputation for goodness can be a mask to hide bad behavior. This paper discusses the wrongful behavior of some of the United Nations Peacekeepers and the United Nations’ failure to accept responsibility.”
FOR 2018 (awarded spring 2019)
Professor Thomas Main, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.
The Rise of the Alt-right.Prof. Main submitted his chapter “The Alt-Right on the Foundational principles of American Politics” to the committee, members of which wrote: “This book chapter provides an engrossing account of misuse of America’s founding documents by the Alt-Right to produce a false narrative in support of their narrow racist ideology.”
Graduate Student Winner
Annie Kato, PhD student in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
“Humans or Resources? The Ethics of Strategic Human Resource Management.” The committee wrote: “This paper raises concerns about human dignity in the context of the use of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM), a management practice that treats employees more as resources to be used rather than as autonomous human beings to be treated with respect.”
Nathaniel Zinda, Senior Economics major, minor Mathematics and Information Tech & Social Responsibility.
“The Ethics of Persuasion in Technology.”According to the members of the committee: “This paper argues that through the use of ad-based online software, technology companies have become responsible for functional and existential distraction among their audience, which undermines wellbeing and threatens autonomy.”
Honorable Mention: The members of the committee would like to mention that it found Claudia Huerta‘s “Migration Research: On the Boarders of Europe and Ethics“ to express important concerns and would like to commend its author, a graduate student in the Marxe School’s Master of International Affairs program, who anticipates graduating in December of 2019.
FOR 2017 (awarded spring 2018)
Professor Scott Newbert, Lawrence N. Field Chair in Entrepreneurship, Narendra Paul Loomba Department of Management and Academic director of the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship
“Achieving Social and Economic Equality by Unifying Business and Ethics: Adam Smith as the Cause and Cure for the Separation Thesis”The Briloff Prize Committee wrote that “this paper extends a criticism of the thesis, allegedly from Adam Smith, that businesses have no moral responsibility for the distribution of wealth resultant from their activities. It embeds Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in the context of his The Theory of Moral Sentiments and argues in this context Smith never intended to excuse businesses from responsibility for the distribution of wealth. At the same time, it criticizes Smith for his failure to consider the distribution of wealth in his local context, ignoring the impact on the producers of that wealth, who were often slaves.”
Graduate Student Winner
Florencio Portocarrero, a student Baruch’s PhD Program in Business
“Gratitude Spiral: A Theoretical Framework of Gratitude in Workplace Relationships”
According to the members of the Briloff Prize Committee: “This paper merges psychological and philosophical literature about gratitude to propose a reciprocal gratitude relationship between benefactor and beneficiary that creates the positive social relationship among them.”
FOR 2016 (awarded spring 2017)
Professor Sarah Bishop, Department of Communication Studies.
“Learning the Story for Myself: Growing Up Undocumented.” Professor Bishop’s chapter for a book was described by the members of the Briloff Prize Committee as: “a compelling account of the many harms resultant from being brought to the United States without legal status as a child.”
Ewan Hoo, Senior Finance major, minoring in History.
“Reagan’s Star Wars: Peace through Hope.” According to the members of the committee: “This well written paper discusses the evolution of relationships between the United States and the Soviet Union that led to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT 1). This paper revisits a controversy from the 1980’s regarding the ethics of national defense: Which is ethically superior: mutual deterrence (which involves immoral threats) or strategic defense (which involves unreliable machines)? The recent controversy concerning the installation of American missile defenses in South Korea shows the continuing relevance of this topic.”
FOR 2015 (awarded spring 2016)
Professor Hagop Sarkissian, Department of Philosophy. “When you think it’s bad, it’s worse than you think: Psychological bias and the ethics of negative character assessments.” Published In The Philosophical Challenge from China. Edited by Brian Bruya (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015). The Briloff Prize Committee wrote: “This paper examines Confucian recommendations through the perspective of current psychology and provides a solid argument that negative character assessments should be avoided or reconsidered. The psychological evidence is that negative assessments are more frequently attributed to individuals, while positive assessments are more frequently attributed to circumstances. This asymmetry risks excessive negative attribution. The paper differs from the common view that one should be slow to anger (slow to make negative judgements), in that while it is consistent with that view, it also recommends deliberate reconsideration when negative judgments are made.”
Graduate Student Winners
Courtney Bryne-Mitchell, MPA student in the School of Public Affairs. “Are the Texas Ranchers Right?”
“This paper examines conservation of exotic wildlife through deliberate ranching for the purpose of hunting. Although hunting is the objective, the process provides for preservation of the greater portion of the exotic species. The paper does not make a recommendation because it reaches a conclusion that there are good reasons and supporting facts both for and against ranching and hunting exotic wildlife.”
Michelle Maher, MPA student in the School of Public Affairs. “Title IX.”
“This paper examines college and university compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 addressing on-campus sexual assault and sexual harassment. It discusses the difficulties institutions face when trying to change campus culture. It also addresses the need to provide a fair process and to avoid presuming that the alleged perpetrator is guilty.”
FOR 2014 (awarded spring 2015)
Professor Raquel Benbunan-Fich, S/CIS Department, Zicklin School of Business, “The Ethics of Online Experimentation with Unsuspecting Users.” The author identifies an important emergent issue in the internet environment – non-disclosed research to subjects – and further evaluates the complexities of the doctrine of informed consent and the protection of human subjects.
Graduate Student Winner
Celia Kerr, MBA, Information Systems, “Expanding Textile Recycling: An Easy and Attractive Response to Fast Fashion.” In pointing out the embarrassing waste of a resource – fast fashion – the author argues that increased recycling of discarded textiles and used clothing will encourage sustainability.
Hanna Utkin, Sophomore Marketing Major, “Soup Kitchens are Unethical.” In this creative approach to a growing social problem, the author proposes a method which permits the homeless to experience greater control over their daily lives.
FOR 2013 (awarded spring 2014)
Dolly Chugh (NYU) and Mary Kern, Department of Management, for “Becoming as Ethical as We Think we are: The Ethical Learner at Work.” (Posted with the permission of Prof. Kern). The Briloff Committee wrote the following of Prof. Kern’s work: “In this paper, after exhaustive research, the author offers a new approach to improving ethical behavior in an organizational setting. Based on the concept of ‘Ethical Learning,’ as the author terms it, this approach is based on the importance of moral identity, psychological literacy, and the belief in purposeful effort, all of which can result in a more ethical work environment.”
Graduate Student Winner
Samuel Zema, an MBA student, for The Unpeeled Banana: The Effects of the Fruit Trade in Central America about which the committee wrote: “While we think of bananas as a healthy food, the production ethics of this crop in Central America, the author shows, are rife both with exploitation of local populations and environmental destruction by trans-national corporations.”
Anjelica Mantikas, an undergraduate in the School of Public Affairs, for “Guantánamo Bay: Housing Prisoners in the War on Terror.” The Briloff Committee described Ms. Mantikas’s essay as follows: “The author encourages the dismantling of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility for its rampant civil and human rights abuses. This paper argues that the United States government, which prides itself on upholding justice, should give detainees fair trials in accordance with US law.”
FOR 2012 (awarded spring 2013)
Gayle Delong, Bert Wasserman Department of Economics and Finance, for “Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research” in Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp. 65-88. The Briloff Committee described Prof. Delong’s article as “an excellent exposition of ethical issues and biases in the examination of conflicts of interests related to vaccine safety research. The main thrust of this paper is the questioning of the ethics of industry sponsorship of vaccine use.”
Graduate Student Winner
Sharon Williams, an MBA student in the Zicklin School of Business, for “Is Direct-to-Consumer Advertising by Pharmaceutical Companies Ethical to Patients?” The committee wrote: “This paper examines the issue of the ethics of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. A timely assessment, it evaluates the ethics of marketing against medical advice.”
Tannaz Zafarnia, a sophomore majoring in Political Science won a Briloff Prize for “Sanctions on the Iranian Populace: A War Against the People.” The members of the committee asserted: “This undergraduate paper makes a strong statement against the ethics of western sanctions on Iran. It concludes by arguing that such sanctions have a deleterious effect on Iranian people and are ultimately counter-productive.”
FOR 2011 (awarded spring 2012)
Douglas Lackey, Department of Philosophy, for “The Bombing Campaign: the USAAF,” which appeared as a chapter in the multi-authored volume, Terror From The Sky, The Bombing of German Cities in World War II (Oxford, 2010). The committee wrote: “This paper provides an excellent account of the decision making behind the British and American bombing strategies during World War II. By considering the two strategies together, the paper provides deeper insight into the moral issues than would be available by considering the American strategy alone. The paper shows that substantial civilian casualties were an accepted part of the bombing strategy. While no specific moral judgment is drawn, the lack of sound moral consideration at the time is clearly exposed.”
Graduate Student Winner
Nicolas Oberly, Zicklin School of Business, for “How the Underclass Lives: Basic Rights and the Justice Gap.” Mr. Oberly’s essay was described by the members of the committee as “an impassioned odyssey taken by the author through the NYC social service system, focused principally on attaining food stamps. This essay considered a flagrant ethical issue at its worst. Through personal investment, living and teaching in a slum area, the author takes the reader on trips through bureaucracy- laden hells well-known to thousands of NYC citizens but unknown to the privileged.”
FOR 2010 (awarded spring 2011)
Daniel W. Williams, School of Public Affairs, for his paper, “Is it Mutiny?” The Briloff Committee wrote: “This essay applies classical ethical theory to answer the question of when employees should be allowed to defy orders from their employers. Foundational work by Kant and Locke is analyzed to illuminate the role of the bureaucrat in following orders. The author draws examples from the time of the Third Reich to the more recent issue of issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The well-known debate between the public administration scholars Finer and Carl Friedrich is also tapped. Probing the components of human dignity, the article explores the many aspects of a complex ethical issue.”
The student prize (undergraduate) was awarded to Hyun Hwang, Rhett Kikuyama, and Danny Zeng, co-authors of “Privacy in the Workplace.” This paper was written for Prof. Grace Zhao, an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Statistics and Computer Information Systems, who encouraged the students to submit their work. The Briloff Committee described this essay as “a well-researched and critical examination of the legal and ethical issues related to an employee’s private use of the company’s computer. In presenting the tension between the employee’s rights and the employer’s oversight responsibilities in the workplace, this paper makes a coherent argument for the recommendation that the employer engage in greater transparency and disclosure so that the employee is alerted to his company’s policy.”
FOR 2009 (awarded spring 2010)
Douglas Lackey, (Department of Philosophy) for “Four Types of Mass Murderer: Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and Truman,” published in Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust.
Luis Sued, Zicklin School of Business for “Ethical issues found in TARP disclosure of information and how these have been addressed.” Of Mr. Sued’s essay, the Briloff Committee wrote: “This topical essay examines the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and examines the ethical dilemmas created through the use of vague statutory language. The student explains how the lack of transparency and disclosure has compromised tax payer protection, a stated goal of this legislation.”
Graduate Student Winner
Ashok Kamal, Zicklin School of Business, for “Mission –Related Investing: Leveraging Capital Markets to Enhance Social Value.”
The Briloff Committee wrote about Mr. Kamal’s work: “This provocative essay considers the ethical dilemma of asset wealth accumulation faced by philanthropic foundation managers. The reader will find a thorough survey of the relevant ethical, legal, and business issues surrounding investment choices that mirror a foundation’s mandate.”
FOR 2008 (awarded spring 2009)
Alfonso Quiroz (Department of History), for Corrupt Circles: A History of Unbound Graft in Peru (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press)
David Rosenberg (Department of Law), for “Mission –Related Investing: Leveraging Capital Markets to Enhance Social Value” To be published in Vol. 6, Issue 2 of the Berkeley Business Law Journal (2009).
Frank Collins, a junior majoring in Accountancy, won for his essay, “To Die or Not to Die: Rethinking the Morality of Voluntary Euthanasia.” In naming Mr. Collins a winner, the Briloff committee wrote:
“This well argued and clearly presented undergraduate paper considers the question of autonomy and links it to the issue of the morality of voluntary euthanasia. Approaching the conflict through the discussion of a recent, controversial French case, the author calls upon both Kant and J. Stuart Mill to clarify the arguments on either side of the debate.”
Margarita Oksenkrug, a full-time MBA student, majoring in Marketing, won for “The Ethics of Marketing to Children.”
The committee wrote: “This is a powerful indictment of corporations’ use of advertising marketed to children with no thought to the consequences. This American model is contrasted with the European and Scandinavian regulations that require stricter standards, which the author invites the United States to imitate.”
FOR 2007 (awarded spring 2008)
2007 Faculty Winner
This year’s faculty award winner is Donald Schepers (Management Department) for his article “The Equator Principles: A Promise in Progress?” which will appear in Corporate Governance: An International Review.
2007 Undergraduate Winner
The undergraduate winner is
Adriana Aldarondo for her paper “The Internet: A Fresh Frontier for an “The Internet: A Fresh Frontier for an Old Disgrace: Is Freedom of Speech the Freedom to Hate Online?” Adriana is a senior in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Corporate Communications.
2007 Graduate Student Winner
Eileen Parfrey, a graduate student in the School of Public Affairs won for her paper,“The Ethics of Alzheimer’s Disease and Informed Consent,” which, according to the committee, “presents a careful examination of data
and an impressive analysis of the two sets of
principles that guide treatment of Alzheimer’s
patients – the Belmont Report and the Common Good
FOR 2006 (awarded spring 2007)
2006 Faculty Winner
This year’s faculty award winner is Joel Lefkowitz (Psychology Department) for his article “The Constancy of Ethics Amidst the Changing World of Work,” which appeared in the June 2006 issue of Human Resource Management Review.
2006 Student Winners
The undergraduate student winner is John Pham for his paper “Web Accessibility and Equal Access to Information: The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the Internet.” John is a lower senior in the School of Public Affairs.
Jim Holovat, our graduate student winner, receives the Briloff Prize for his paper, “Profit over People: The Corporate Greed Motive as the Case for CSR.” Jim is a second year MBA student.
FOR 2005 (awarded spring 2006)
2005 Faculty Winner
This year’s faculty winner was Professor Douglas Lackey (Philosophy), who received the faculty award for his article “The Good Soldier vs. the Good Cop: Counterterrorism as Police Work.” The article, which put forth the controversial proposition that terrorists are simply criminals who are best dealt with by the police, was published in the Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly.
2005 Student Winners
Hamid Rashidzada, a junior finance major originally from Afghanistan, won the undergraduate prize for his essay “Sharing Consumer Information: U.S. Banking Deregulation and Its Impact on Consumers.”
The graduate student winner was Nikki Ortolani, a degree candidate in the School of Public Affairs, for her paper “Foundation Giving and Nonprofit Advocacy.”
FOR 2004 (awarded spring 2005)
2004 Faculty Winners
T.K. Das, Management
“How Strong are the Ethical Preferences of Senior Business Executives?” (PDF) in Journal of Business Ethics.
Don Plunkett, Marketing
The Thief Next Door: How to Compete Against People Who Justify Illegal Business Practices! (iUniverse, Inc., 2004). You can read an editorial review of The Thief Next Door at Amazon.com. The Thief Next Door earned the “Editor’s Choice” designation.
2004 Student Winner
“Multinational Corporations and Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: Beyond Limited Liability”
FOR 2003 (awarded spring 2004)
Professor Masako Darrough, Accountancy
The FCPA and the OECD Convention: Some Lessons from the U.S. Experience (PDF file)
Professor Joel Lefkowitz, Psychology
Ethics and Values in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003)
Prof. Lefkowitz’s book was reviewed in the Winter 2004 issue of Personnel Psychology. The review, by Janet L. Kottke
and Kathie L.Pelletier, concludes with the sentence: “This book shouldn’t just be on everyone’s bookshelf –it ought to be read by everyone in the profession.” (For the complete review see pp. 10-14 of the linked PDF file.)
2003 Student Winners
Allison Jacobs, MBA candidate, 2004
Payment for Order Flow in the U.S. Equity Options Markets
Cornell Boswell, BBA candidate, 2004
Can Legislation End Predatory Lending Practices in the Mortgage Industry?
David E. Rivera
S. Prakash Sethi
Submissions and questions should be addressed to:
Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics Committee
Office of the Provost
Address: 135 E. 22nd Street, Room 710