Essay Award for Young Economists

The WTO established the annual WTO Essay Award for Young Economists in 2009. The award, which carries a prize of CHF 5,000, aims to promote high-quality economic research on the WTO and WTO-related issues and to reinforce the relationship between the WTO and the academic community.

WTO announces winner of 2017 Essay Award for Young Economists

The winner of the 2017 WTO Essay Award for Young Economists is Meredith Startz of Princeton University. Her paper, “The Value of Face-to-Face: Search and Contracting Problems in Nigerian Trade”, was ranked first by the Selection Panel. She was presented with her prize of CHF 5,000 at the annual meeting of the European Trade Study Group in Florence on 14 September 2017.

Winners of the Essay Award

  • 2016: Matthieu Bellon (Columbia University)

  • 2015: Christoph Boehm (University of Michigan), Aaron Flaaen (Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington D.C.) and Nitya Pandalai-Nayar (University of Michigan)

  • 2014: Jonathan Dingel (Columbia University) and Claudia Steinwender (LSE)

  • 2013: Felix Tintelnot (Princeton University)

  • 2012: Treb Allen (Yale University)

  • 2011: Rafael Dix-Carneiro (University of Maryland) and Kyle Handley (Stanford University) 

  • 2010: Dave Donaldson (MIT) and Olena Ivus (Queen's University) 

  • 2009: Ralph Ossa (University of Chicago). The runner-up was Mostafa Beshkar (University of New Hampshire)


The paper must address issues related to trade policy and international trade co-operation. 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.

“I think that this initiative helps the WTO connect to young academics. And it goes both ways. As an academic, I find it also helps us to connect to the international trade experts at the WTO”.

Claudia Steinwender Winner, WTO Essay Award for Young Economists (2014)


“I highly recommend young economists to participate in this competition. The award can give a lot of credibility to your work, as well as great exposure to academics and policymakers”.

Rafael Dix-Carneiro 
Winner, WTO Essay Award for Young Economists (2011)