The all-Russian competition for the best thesis in Economics is held annually by the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy. Graduates of economic universities and economic faculties of Russian higher educational institutions are all eligible to take part in the competition.
This year, HSE graduates are among the top three winners.
Ksenia Rozhkova, 1st-year master’s student of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, and Research Assistant at the HSE Laboratory for Labour Market Studies, took the first prize for her thesis ‘The Return to Noncognitive Characteristics in the Russian Labor Market’.
‘My work is focused on the connection between non-cognitive characteristics and individual results in the labor market. This topic is rapidly gaining popularity in economic literature today. Although the returns to various characteristics of human capital have attracted the attention of researchers for several decades, the main focus of research used to be on the returns to education and intellect, while non-cognitive characteristics are personality traits that often affect how a person behaves at work and in life, what education they get, and how they interact with other people. I analysed the impact of non-cognitive characteristics on wages measured by the so-called Big Five taxonomy - openness to new experiences, extroversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism and friendliness. I am still very enthused by this topic and am continuing to work on it.
Of course, an academic supervisor is the key figure in preparing any text by an inexperienced student. I was lucky to choose the right one during my second year of studies. I think had I not met Sergey Roshchin, I would have given up my dreams of an academic career and would have started to work in finance. He is an expert, passionate about his work, and someone who is constantly moving forward. He is a person who not only teaches you how to do something, guides you in the right direction and discusses all issues that arise, but who also knows how to truly inspire and spark your interest.
I can’t say that during work on my thesis I experienced too many complications. Sometimes it was difficult to organize the large volume of literature, especially on psychology, which I had never studied before, and occasionally it was not completely clear how to make some necessary calculations. But overall it was an interesting and exciting process. Moreover, my colleagues at the laboratory always supported me, tried to help and gave me some advice on where to move next. Only when I joined this team, did I realize the value of teamwork. My friends and family also supported me, they were always ready to listen to news about the progress of my work and happily accepted the idea that we are all neurotics!
I am very glad that 4 years ago I enrolled on the HSE programme. Now I am working towards a master’s degree here, and in the future I would like to pursue an academic career. Research is an endless series of questions and attempts to find answers to them in order to make the world a better place. And economics is simply a beautiful science.’
Fyodor Tyurin, graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, took second place for his thesis ‘Peer Effects in Alcohol Consumption: an Empirical Study’.
The third prize was awarded to Maxim Anisimov, graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, and Research Assistant at the International Laboratory for Macroeconomic Analysis, for his thesis ‘Forecasting the Term Structure in Emerging Markets Using Extensions of the Dynamic Nelson-Siegel Model’.
Over 300 graduates of economic faculties who defended their theses on economic topics in 2019 took part in the competition.