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News item: WTO launches essay award for young economists


The winners of the WTO Essay Award for Young Economists 2011 are Rafael Dix-Carneiro and Kyle Handley.  Their papers were ranked first by the Academic Selection Panel.  Dix-Carneiro and Handley will split equally the monetary prize of 5000 Swiss Francs.

The article by Rafael Dix-Carneiro, entitled “Trade liberalization and labor market dynamics”, provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the transitional dynamic effects of international trade on labor markets.  In the judgment of the Academic Selection Panel, this is an extremely well-crafted analysis that offers insights that are relevant to the policy debate on the distributional impact of trade opening. Specifically, Dix-Carneiro's results show that institutions and policies, such as retraining programs for workers, that facilitate labor market adjustment, can significantly increase the aggregate welfare gains from trade.

The article by Kyle Handley, entitled “Exporting under trade policy uncertainty”, studies the impact of trade policy commitments on trade flows. According to the Academic Selection Panel, this paper provides an elegant formalization of the cost of trade policy uncertainty and offers important insights on the value of WTO commitments.  In particular, Handley's results indicate that policy rules such as tariff bindings, that improve policy certainty by reducing the downside risk arising from future policy reversals, can have a significant impact on the entry of exporters into foreign markets.

Rafael Dix-Carneiro is a Brazilian national.  He studied electrical engineering at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro and mathematics at the Instituto de Matematica Pura e Aplicada in Brazil before obtaining a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University (USA).  He is an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department of the University of Maryland (USA).

Kyle Handley is an American national.  He studied economics and mathematics at the University of Wisconsin (USA) and later received a master from the London School of Economics (UK) and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland (USA).  He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and will join the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (USA) as an Assistant Professor in 2012.


Other information

This is the third edition of the WTO Essay Award for Young Economists. The Award was launched in 2009.

The Academic Selection Panel for the year 2011 comprised Dr. Avinash Dixit (Emeritus Professor of Economics, Princeton University), Dr. Hakim Ben Hammouda (Director, Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, WTO), Dr. Patrick Low (Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO), Dr. Robert Staiger (Professor of Economics, Stanford University), Dr. Alberto Trejos (Professor of Economics, INCAE Business School). Dr. Michele Ruta (Economist, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO) coordinated the work of the Panel.

The WTO Essay Award for Young Economists 2011 was officially announced at a plenary session of the European Trade Study Group annual meeting in Copenhagen on September 9, 2011.

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