Are We Prejudiced? 

Albert Einstein once said it is harder to crack prejudice than an atom. As someone who is frequently subject to negative prejudice, I know firsthand that dealing with it is tough. Prejudices cause unfair treatment and inefficiencies that require substantial amount of extra time and effort to deal with the adverse outcomes. Even worse, some prejudiced people make all sorts of baseless assumptions about you by simply looking at your name. Unfortunately, you encounter those people even in academia, where scientific reasoning should rule. We have double-blind peer review for a reason, but do we sincerely believe that it works as intended, especially in the age of the Internet? For efficient scientific advancement, we need to get to the root of this problem, embrace full transparency, and ask ourselves: are we prejudiced?

As a small self-experiment, before reading "About Me" below, please think consciously about all the assumptions, if any, that you made about me before visiting this very page. Are those assumptions based on facts or heuristic perceptions? To what extent would those assumptions affect your thoughts, decisions, and actions? Can you say you are not prejudiced about me? 

Now, as you continue reading "About Me" below, please check if you can fully verify your assumptions with the disclosed facts. Do you have any assumptions that you cannot verify? If yes, then would you still use those unverified assumptions in your decision-making process? I cannot identify who visits my website, but if I had full information about you, this self-experiment, and its outcomes, would you then alter your thoughts, decisions, and actions? 

Please feel free to provide me feedback (openly or anonymously) at mukarakaplan@yahoo.com.  



About Me 

I am currently a clinical assistant professor of finance at the University of South Carolina, and I am specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning at Stanford University. 

I have received my Ph.D. in economics from Texas A&M University in 2012. In the past, I held appointments at Utah State University and Georgetown University. My research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Banking & Finance, the Journal of Productivity Analysis, Empirical Economics, and Applied Economics. My research interests include Banking, Financial Intermediation, FinTech, International Finance, Financial Markets, Econometric Programming, Forecasting, Predictive Analytics, and Machine Learning. 

I have been one of the four co-investigators of a $19 million policy research project funded by the U.S. federal and state agencies, and private organizations. This project is a field experiment structured with a randomized control trial design. I presented this project at the meeting of ASSA in 2015, and my team met with the U.S. Secretary of Education and provided legislative testimony to the Senate in 2016. 

I taught many entry-level, advanced, and graduate-level Economics and Finance courses including Banking, Corporate Finance, Financial Markets, International Finance, and Predictive Analytics. I have been awarded several teaching awards such as a senior thesis advisor award, a student-led award for teaching excellence, and an outstanding teaching award.



If you now think that I am "too accomplished" for someone who "claim" to be frequently subject to negative prejudice, that is because you probably do not know much about the journey that I have been going through, all the challenges that I have encountered along the way, all the sacrifices that I had to make to get to where I am, and where I would be if there were no negative prejudices that I had to deal with.

To wrap up on a positive note, my journey helped me develop a personal philosophy: "Happiness is helping others!" Below are some charities that I greatly admire and regularly support.

Happiness is helping others!
Consider giving today.