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CAGE Essay Competition Winner 2020: Julia Tattersall

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CAGE Essay Competition Winner 2020: Julia Tattersall

Each year we set Warwick Economics students the challenge of writing a short essay on one of our CAGE working papers. The essay should draw out the key findings of the working paper for a non-academic audience. The winning article is published in CAGE’s Advantage Magazine and the winner receives a prize of £300.

We’re delighted to announce that the winner of the 2020 Essay Competition is Julia Tattersall. Julia is a 3rd year Economics and French Student. She wrote her article on Mark Harrison’s 2019 working paper ‘Contracting for Counterintelligence: the KGB and Soviet Informers of the 1960s and 1970s’.

Bishnupriya Gupta, Research Director of CAGE, said ‘The judges thought Julia’s essay beautifully summarised Mark Harrison’s paper on how the Soviet state in Lithuania built its surveillance of citizens through a network of informers. Julia set out a very cogent summary of the paper by picking examples from the database of informers that the paper uses. She clearly set out the characteristics beneficial to being an informer, and how the KGB identified them to build a loyal team. We were impressed with how she reconstructed the methods used to gain access to information and stifle dissent through a culture of fear.

Mark Harrison, author of the original article, said ‘I congratulate Julia. She has thought deeply about the research and she has skilfully isolated the key ideas and conclusions, particularly the complex balance of trust and mistrust at the core of the informer system. It testifies to the quality of her thinking, writing, and knowledge of the world. I’m also very pleased that she chose one of my favourite papers!

We received a number of high-quality submissions this year. The two runners up were:

Aaryan Deshpande for his article on Nicholas Crafts’ and Terrence Mills’ 2019 paper ‘Is the UK Productivity Slowdown Unprecedented?

Zhaowen Li for his article on Amrita Dhillon’s, Andrew Pickering’s and Tomas Sjöström’s 2019 paper ‘Sovereign debt: election concerns and the democratic disadvantage’.

Each runner-up will receive a prize of £150.

Congratulations to all the prize winners!