Winner of the EACES PhD Thesis Award 2018

EACES PhD Thesis Award 2018 – The best doctoral dissertation in comparative economic system

Since 1994, EACES sponsors an award for the best doctoral dissertation in comparative economic systems. During our bi-annual conferences, the award is given to the work that in the opinion of the jury has the greatest potential to impact the field of comparative economic studies in the future. Both theoretical and empirical contributions are appropriate. A small selection committee that I had the honour to chair carefully reviewed the submissions. Although all submissions were of high quality and would have deserved a prize, the committee came to the unanimous decision that the 2018 award should be given to

Sonja Avlijas

for her thesis entitled

“Explaining variation in female labour force participation across Eastern Europe:
The political economy of industrial upgrading and service transition”.

The thesis was defended at the London School of Economics and aims at explaining the variation in female labour force participation (FLFP) across post-socialist Eastern Europe. It does so by providing an extensive and very detailed literature survey; proposing a theoretical model; and testing this model empirically on 13 post-socialist Eastern European countries during the period 1997-2008 using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The probably most important distinguishing feature of the thesis is its interdisciplinary approach. For this topic, this broad perspective is especially adequate since it is well known (and also shown in the dissertation) that variations in FLFP are notoriously hard to explain in purely economic terms – whether over time in a given country or in cross-country data.

Sonja presented her work in a very interesting talk during a plenary session of the EACES biannual conference I Warsaw in September 2018.

Once again, congratulations to Sonja for her outstanding work that is the basis for this well-deserved prize. She is now the 13th entry in the list of past winners – all of whom went on to pursue excellent careers in economic research.

Jürgen Jerger