DSA/ICEA dissertation prize
2015 saw the launch of an annual dissertation prize in partnership with the International Consulting Economists Association (ICEA). The ICEA, is an organisation that has provided a forum for international consultants and their employers to network informally at a monthly lecture and discussion for nearly 30 years. The annual prize of £1000 is to be awarded to the best masters level dissertation in development studies or development economics.
The DSA student sub-committee would like to thank the ICEA without whom this prize would not be possible, and encourage the DSA membership to visit their website and consider attending one of their monthly London meetings on a range of interesting development issues.
Call for Nominations for the 2017 DSA/ICEA Prize
For the 2017 prize, all Development Studies and Economics departments in the UK are invited to submit one dissertation each for consideration. This year nominations will be accepted between 1 November and 28 February.
The award will be given during the Opening Plenary of the 2017 Development Studies Association conference, to be held at the University of Bradford.
We are asking all the Heads of Centres of DSA affiliated institutions and Economics departments in the UK to nominate the highest scoring masters’ dissertation awarded on their programmes in 2016. (MRes or MPhil are not included as they don’t represent a greater level of effort.) We are happy to accept nominations of extended essays but these will need to be of exceptional quality to win when compared to longer dissertations. The nominations will then be evaluated by an academic panel from DSA and ICEA. The programme from which the nominated masters comes should be "international development" or related subject, and if there was more than one dissertation that was awarded the highest grade, we ask you to put forward the dissertation you feel would be judged most favourably under the following four criteria:
- Arguments and understanding
- Sources and evidence
- Practical relevance
- Written communication
Nominations should be sent to: membershipadmin(at)devstud.org.uk.
2016 DSA/ICEA dissertation prize
The 2016 DSA/ICEA dissertation prize has been awarded to Robert Mwanamanga from Bradford University, for his work “Does foreign aid promote growth? Evidence from Malawi”. The prize includes £1000 and an invitation to present the findings of the dissertation at the DSA’s annual conference. Robert’s dissertation reviews the extensive literature on the relation between aid and economic growth and tests different statistical models against data from Malawi. The judges noted:
The prize winning paper tackles perhaps the central question of development aid: the extent to which aid contributes to economic growth. It starts with an extremely capable literature review, covering aid-growth theories from the 1940s onwards presented in a neat structure of 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation theories. This is paralleled by a review of empirical studies over the same period. The major criticisms of aid are also reviewed.
After reviewing the broader economic background in Malawi, the paper presents a set of statistical analyses testing different aid-growth models reflecting different theories on the mechanisms which link aid and economic growth. The study concludes that increased aid to Malawi shows diminishing, even negative returns, but recognises that this at least partly reflects the fact that Malawi is one of the most aid dependent countries in the world.
Download a full version of Robert's dissertation here (PDF).
The judges also highly commended Takeshi Miwa (University of Sheffield) for his work, “Drug prescription practices in the private health sector: a case study of Lugala Lutheran Hospital in rural Tanzania”. The judges said:
[The dissertation] reviews literature discussing how an average of 2.4 drugs are prescribed, where the WHO recommended range is below 2. Various causes are suggested, most prominent the grade and experience of the prescriber. The paper tests these hypotheses against data from the records of a private hospital in southern Tanzania. The results suggested that prescribing at the hospital was ‘somewhat suboptimal’ and that staff experience was a factor.
2015 DSA/ICEA dissertation prize
The first DSA/ICEA prize was awarded to Matthew Juden of SOAS for this dissertation on 'Realist randomised controlled trials of development interventions in practice: concrete design suggestions to address the problem of external validity'. The prize was awarded at the DSA annual conference dinner held at the University of Bath in September 2015, and Matthew also presented his work as part of a panel on innovations in methodology. We congratulate Matthew for his excellent work and wish him all the best for the future.
Download a full version of Matthew's dissertation here (PDF).