The competition was launched in April 2009 and the WTO Secretariat received applications from economists based in more than thirty countries.

The Academic Selection Panel, comprised of distinguished economists including Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University, Robert Staiger of Stanford University, Alberto Trejos of INCAE Business School and WTO Chief Economist Patrick Low (1) have selected Ralph Ossa of the University of Chicago as the winner of the WTO Essay Award for Young Economists 2009. Mr. Ossa will receive CHF 5,000. The panel concluded that Mr. Ossa’s paper entitled “A ‘New Trade’ Theory of GATT/WTO Negotiations” presents a new examination of trade cooperation within the WTO and makes an important contribution to the literature on trade agreements which will generate considerable interest and research in the future by other economists in this area.

Mr. Ossa is a native of Germany who studied economics at the University of Witten-Herdecke in Germany and received a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He is a former Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Princeton University and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. Currently, Mr. Ossa is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Booth Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

The panel further decided to extend special mention to the runner up in the context, Mostafa Beshkar of Yale University. His paper is entitled “Trade Skirmishes and Safeguards: A Theory of the WTO Dispute Settlement Process.” The panel agreed that Mr. Beshkar’s paper offers a distinctive interpretation of the evolution of safeguard provisions from GATT to the WTO.

Mr. Beshkar is a native of Iran and has studied industrial engineering at the Amir Kabir University of Technology in Tehran. He received a PhD in economics from Vanderbilt University in the United States and has served as a visiting assistant professor of economics at Purdue University in the United States before assuming his current position as post-doctoral associate at Yale and assistant professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire also in the United States.



1. The full membership of the 2009 Academic Selection Panel comprises Jagdish Bhagwati (professor of economics, Columbia University), Hakim Ben Hammouda (director, Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, WTO), Patrick Low (director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO), Robert Staiger (professor of economics, Stanford University), Alberto Trejos (professor of economics, INCAE Business School). Michele Ruta (economist, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO) coordinated the work of the panel.  back to text

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