2019 Awards

The Ronald H. Coase Dissertation Award

The Ronald H. Coase Best Dissertation Award is handed out annualy for the best doctoral dissertation in institutional and organizational economics. During SIOE's recent conference in Stockholm (June 27-29), Sara Lowes (UC San Diego) received this year's award for her dissertation (from Harvard, Economics).

The committee wrote: she “is incredibly creative both in finding sources of exogenous institutional variations and important outcomes. The paper about concessions is particularly deep: it shows that being exposed extractive colonial institutions has long-lasting effects on violence and the cooptation of local leaders.” That paper is R&R at QJE. Another paper in her thesis studies the relationship between matrilineal kinship and household bargaining. She uses variation between matrilineal and patrilineal families in Kananga (Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a patrilineal family, the wife joins the husband’s lineage and the children belongs to the husband’s lineage. By contrast, in matrilineal families such as the one Sara studies in the DRC, the husband does not belong to same linage as his children but to the one of his sister’s children. Sara finds that such matrilineal couples are less cooperative with each other. In the last chapter of her dissertation (which – would you believe it?- does not even include her Econometrica paper with Nathan Nunn and James Robinson!), she shows that the coercive methods by the colonial authorities to eradicate sleeping sickness with a drug called atoxyl with the negative side effects of affecting vision in 20% of patients, led to long-term mistrust in Western medicine all over former French Africa. This paper, R&R at the AER, delivers a particularly important finding that sheds light on why foreign health interventions are often ineffective and even raise suspicion.

A more comprehensive description of the work of all finalists---very recommendable reading--- is here.

The Elinor Ostrom Lifetime Achievement Award

The Elinor Ostrom Lifetime Achievement Award is handed out biannually for sustained significant academic contributions to institutional and organizational economics. It is open to anyone.

The winner of the 2019 Ostrom Award is Barry R. Weingast, the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor at Stanford University’s Department of Political Science and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Professor Weingast’s research focuses on the political foundation of markets, economic reform, and regulation. He has written extensively on problems of political economy of development, federalism and decentralization, legal institutions and the rule of law, and democracy. He is co-author of Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (with Douglass C. North and John Joseph Wallis, 2009, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) and Analytic Narratives (1998, Princeton). He edited (with Donald Wittman) The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Barry Weingast has won numerous awards, including the William H. Riker Prize, the Heinz Eulau Prize (with Ken Shepsle), the Franklin L. Burdette Pi Sigma Alpha Award (with Kenneth Schultz), and the James L. Barr Memorial Prize in Public Economics. He served as President of ISNIE (now SIOE) in 2011-12. We are indebted to his long-term academic leadership and outstanding productivity, combining political science, history, economics, and law.

The Oliver E. Williamson Best Conference Paper Award

The Oliver Williamson Best Conference Paper Award goes to:

Economic Losers and Political Winners: Sweden’s Radical Right” by Ernesto Dal Bo (UC Berkeley), Frederico Finan (UC Berkeley), Olle Folke (Uppsala), Torsten Persson (Stockholm), and Johanna Rickne (Stockholm).

The authors study study the politicians and voters of Sweden’s Radical Right. The rise of the Sweden Democrats is descriptively linked to macroeconomic events that magnified job insecurity and stagnated disposable incomes in large segments of the labor market. Negatively impacted groups entered politics to build the Sweden Democrats, and voting for the party has been concentrated in localities suffering larger impacts. Survey data suggest that economic anxiety may have triggered radical-right mobilization by weakening social and institutional trust among those with anti-immigrant preferences. The authors characterize the Sweden Democrats as a citizen-candidate movement that channeled inexperienced citizens from negatively impacted groups into politics. The party’s entry shifted political selection for soft and hard valence traits in a negative direction.