The annual WTO Essay Award consists of a prize of CHF 5,000 to the author(s) of the winning essay. In the case of a co-authored paper, the prize will be equally divided among the authors. The winning paper will be officially announced at the annual meeting of the European Trade Study Group (ETSG), which is currently the largest conference specializing in international trade. The first WTO Essay Award for Young Economists will be made in September 2009 at the ETSG meetings in Rome, Italy. The winning author(s) will receive funding to attend the meetings.


An Academic Selection Panel is responsible for the selection of the winning paper. From 2009 to 2011 the Panel will comprise:

  • Professor Jagdish Bhagwati (Columbia University)

  • Professor Robert Staiger (Stanford University)

  • Professor Alberto Trejos (INCAE Business School).

  • Ex officio panel members will include Dr Patrick Low (Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO Secretariat) and Dr Hakim Ben Hammouda (Director, Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, WTO Secretariat).

  • Dr Michele Ruta (Economist, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO) coordinates the work of the Selection Panel.


The paper must address issues related to the economics of the WTO (e.g. the design of trade agreements, contingent protection, trade facilitation, the effects of trade agreements, Aid for Trade, the economic aspects of dispute settlement). The author(s) of the paper must possess or be engaged in the completion of a PhD degree and, if over 30 years of age, be no more than two years past a PhD defence. In the case of co-authored papers, this requirement shall apply to all authors. In addition, to be considered for the Award, essays cannot exceed 15,000 words.

Important deadlines

The essays for the first award must be submitted by 30 June 2009. The Economic Research and Statistics Division at the WTO Secretariat will shortlist a number of eligible papers by 15 July 2009 and the Selection Panel will take a final decision by 15 August 2009. Only the author(s) of short-listed essays will be notified.


The winning essay will be published in the WTO Working Paper Series and it is the responsibility of the author(s) to endeavour to secure publication of the contribution in a journal.


All submissions should be sent to Michele Ruta with the subject line “WTO Essay Award”. Submissions should include as separate attachments in PDF format:

1. the essay
2. the CV of the author(s), specifying (i) current affiliation(s), (ii) the academic institution awarding the PhD, (iii) the year (or the expected year) of the PhD, (iv) the date of birth of the author(s).

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