St Antony’s student awarded MSc Economics for Development prize 2023

St Antony’s student, Anasuya Narasimhan has been awarded the prestigious George Webb Medley Prize for Best Overall Performance in the MSc Economics for Development 2023.

The George Webb Medley Fund is the principal prize fund for Economics, Politics and Philosophy in Oxford and among the past winners are many eminent scholars.

Anasuya’s research interests include firms, labour economics and behavioural economics. In her MSc thesis, she explored the economic impacts of electrification in India, particularly on firms and labour supply, where she also looked at heterogeneity across gender.

Her primary contribution was methodological; she tackled the challenge of causal inference from the expansion of electrification using developments in the Indian transmission sector- that of creating a unified national grid- as the basis for her strategy. To isolate variation in the expansion of electricity access that did not correlate to her outcomes of interest (‘exogenous’ variation, as economists call it), she created a hypothetical least-cost network interconnecting major power plants of India’s regional grids. Distance from this hypothetical grid served as the measure to isolate exogenous variation.

Anasuya credits the St Antony’s community as an invaluable part of her time at Oxford:

I met some of my closest friends at the college. Moreover, as a social sciences hub, St Antony’s was a ground for several discussions that helped me shape my own research. Having spent the year here, I can’t imagine having spent my Oxford year anywhere else.

Anasuya will be working as a researcher at Oxford over the next year, with the Mind and Behaviour Research Group housed in the Blavatnik School of Government. Her work will largely be in the intersection of labour and behavioural economics. She hopes to embark on a PhD/DPhil in Economics in the near future.