UA Blog

Category Spotlight: Economics

This category is for students of Economics, including Econometrics, Urban Economics, Labour Economics etc.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long.

Word Count: 2,500 – 5,000


 The following papers from the Economics category all exemplify the core message at the heart of The Undergraduate Awards ' know your worth, know your responsibility". All three papers from 2017 highlight how economic innovation can be utilised to solve some of societies greatest problems.

Global Winner of Economics 2017, Daniel Cueva from University of Birmingham submitted a paper called "An Econometric Analysis Of The Fundamental Determinants Of Economic Development In Latin America". This essay analyses determinants such as Geography, institutions and economic integration  and finds that cross0-country differences in institutional and geographical factors account to a large extent for the differences in economic development observed among Latin American countries. The study concludes that both geography and institutions play a substantial role in the economic development of Latin American countries.

According to the judging panel:

"This is a truly excellent paper. It shows application and understanding at a level beyond what is normally seen by an undergraduate. It is both topical and insightful."

Daniel Cueva graduated from the University of Birmingham with a First-Class Honours Degree in Economics and is currently an Intern at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation under the supervision of Dr. Shyam Upadhyaya, the Chief Statistician. Daniel’s research on economic development in Latin America was awarded distinction by the Department of Economics at the University of Birmingham and was among the five finalists at the UK Data Service’s Dissertation Prize 2017. Daniel expects to pursue postgraduate studies and research in Economics in Fall 2018.

2017 had a plethora of high quality papers in the Economics category, American University of Sharjah student  Saif Alhammadi's  Highly Commended paper " On the Impact of Oil Prices On the Real Exchange Rate in Oil-Exporting Countries" was one such example. The paper explores the relationship between the real oil price and the real exchange rate in predominantly oil-exporting countries (including Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Indonesia, And Venezuela) from 1995 to 2014. The paper controls for the effects of GDP growth, inflation, government spending growth and trade balance ratio and finds that real oil prices a notable amount.

 The paper focuses on oil-dependent emerging economics that are more susceptible to exchange rate volatility than advanced economies. The exchange rate volatility risk comes in the form of higher costs of maintaining a fixed exchange rate regime (such as with Saudi Arabia) and prohibitively high prices of imports (such as with Venezuela).

 Another Highly Commended paper from 2017 was  " Do Some Occupations have Different Returns To Human Capital", submitted by Michael Stanley of The Open University. The project examines whether different occupations have different rates of return to human capital. The paper also examines the economic theory pioneered by Mincer and Becker that suggests investment in human capital through education and experience leads to higher wages. An econometric analysis of labour market data is conducted, examining the extent to which an individuals occupation influences the returns that one can receive to human capital investments and whether the rate of human capital depletion varies between individuals in different occupational categories.

If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.