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Economics student wins the IEA’s Monetary Policy Essay Prize 2021

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Economics student wins the IEA’s Monetary Policy Essay Prize 2021

We are very pleased to announce that Gustaf Dillner, final year student on the BSc Economics, Politics and International Studies degree (EPAIS) took the top prize in the Undergraduate Student category of the Monetary Policy Essay 2021 competition organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Institute of International Monetary Research (IIMR).

The 2021 essay competition was launched by the IEA and the IIMR in August 2020 with a question: ”Will the pandemic be inflationary or disinflationary?” The submissions were judged on their presentation, command of theory, the relevance of the question and persuasiveness of the argument.

Gustaf Dillner, our finalist on EPAIS took the first prize of £500, Max Marian (LSE) came second and Mihir Gupta (UCL) got the third place.

The ceremony took place virtually and we asked Gustaf to tell us more about his achievement. Here is what he told us:

What made you enter this competition?

During lockdown, I’ve had a lot of spare time to read about the effects of Covid on the economy and discussing it with friends. A friend of mine found out about the competition and suggested that it would be a perfect opportunity for me to write down my thoughts.

Describe briefly the content of your essay and the arguments you used.

My essay argued that inflation above targets is likely in the short- to medium-term in many Western countries. This is mostly due to very expansionary fiscal policy especially in the US as well as a commitment from central banks to continue with generous asset purchase programmes and keeping interest rates low. There are also other reasons including rising commodity prices, a gradual increase in the velocity of money as societies open up and cost-push inflation arising from fractured supply chains.

Tell us about the virtual prize ceremony you attended?

I was selected from around 150 students to the final with two other students. The session involved presenting the essay in front of a panel of economists from the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Vinson Centre and the Institute of International Monetary Research. The presentation was followed by questions from the panel on my essay and the topic more broadly. I was then very happy when the panel announced that I had won.

What was your prize and how are you going to spend it?

I was awarded £500, an internship at the Institute of Economic Affairs and a place at the summer school at the Institute of International Monetary Research. The prize money will of course be spent on something to hedge against inflation! Probably gold or value stocks.

What are the highlights of your degree course at Warwick?

In the summer after my first year, I volunteered with Warwick in Africa as a mathematics teacher in Soweto, a suburb to Johannesburg. It was a very memorable experience that I always will remember. It also sparked my interest in development economics, a field I’ve had the opportunity to study quite extensively at Warwick.

What is your favourite module?

I have really enjoyed Research in Applied Economics (RAE) this year. It’s been very rewarding to have been able to use and showcase the economic and statistical knowledge gained during my time at Warwick by working on a larger project. It’s also been a good way to spend one’s time during the lockdown.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I want to keep studying economics at postgraduate level and possibly pursue a PhD in the subject. Ideally, I will stay in the UK next semester if I meet my conditions.

What are your career plans?

Warwick has really sparked my interest in social science research and I would be very keen to continue in academia at least for a while. Apart from that I also have a strong interest in monetary policy and would be interested in a career in central banking.

Related links:

The Institute of International Monetary Research

The Institute of Economic Affairs

For other their events and conferences see IEA Forthcoming Events page