2017 Dissertation Award Winners

Jacob Bastian and Michael Gilraine have won the NTA’s Outstanding Dissertation Prize for 2017.

Jacob Bastian

Jacob Bastian

Jacob Bastian is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. His primary fields of research are public finance, labor economics, and economic demography. His research focuses on how public policy can reduce poverty, increase economic opportunity, and encourage egalitarian social attitudes.

Jacob received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 2017. Jacob’s dissertation is titled “New Evidence on the Effect of Public Policy on Employment, Intergenerational Mobility, Family Structure, and Social Attitudes Towards Working Women.” The first chapter examines how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helped lead to the rise of working mothers in the 1970s and affected social attitudes towards working women. The second chapter, jointly written with Katherine Michelmore, looks at how the EITC affected the long-run education and employment outcomes of children of EITC recipients. The third chapter explores the heterogeneous effects of the EITC on marriage and fertility.

Michael Gilraine

Michael Gilraine

Michael Gilraine is Assistant Professor of Economics at New York University. His primary fields of research are public economics and applied econometrics, with a specific focus on the economics of education.

Michael received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Toronto in June 2017. In his dissertation titled “Three Essays in the Economics of Education,” Michael develops and applies novel econometric techniques to highlight education policies that may increase student achievement and reduce the pervasive test score gaps that plague public education today. The first chapter sets out a new approach that allows policymakers to take into account the dynamic nature of student learning when designing education policies. The second chapter proposes a novel approach that is used to distinguish the pure effect of changes in class size from the effect of a newly-hired teacher: Michael finds that class size reductions increase student achievement, though these gains are counteracted by the newly-hired teachers. His third chapter investigates the merits of decentralized public goods provision in the context of education funds earmarked for economically disadvantaged students.