St Antony’s Graduate awarded the George Webb Medley Prize (proxime accessit)

Elena Kiryakova at graduation

St Antony’s Graduate awarded the George Webb Medley Prize (proxime accessit)

29 August 2022

The MSc in Economics for Development Exam Board has awarded Elena Kiryakova the George Webb Medley Prize (proxime accessit). This prize is awarded to graduate-level students with the most outstanding thesis on Economics.

Elena’s thesis explored the economic impact of extreme flood events in Indonesia. This was motivated by the scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change will likely trigger more frequent and extreme natural disasters, and their impact will be more pronounced in low-to-middle-income countries due to both higher exposure and more limited adaptive capacity. By combining spatially disaggregated satellite-derived flood maps with an individual-level longitudinal survey over a 12-year period, Elena found that individuals in flood-struck locations suffer significant consumption and income losses and that informal, self-employed workers mainly cope with these losses by transitioning to part-time formal work. She found limited evidence for adaptation in areas that experience more frequent floods which underscores the importance of policy considerations around social protection and public investments in preparedness to minimize the costs of future disasters.  

Elena says her time at St Antony’s was one of the highlights of being at Oxford:

It was exhilarating to live and to study in a place with such an abundance of interesting academic conferences, stimulating talks, social and cultural events. Most of all, I am grateful to have been part of such a diverse and international student body and to have met so many inspiring and ambitious people, some of which eventually became my closest friends. 

After graduation she will be joining Vivid Economics, a strategic economics consultancy, where she looks forward to applying cutting-edge quantitative analysis to policy questions at the intersection of development, climate change and disaster risk management.  

Oxford Department of International Development