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Undergraduate Awards

The Economics Department awards four prizes annually:

  1. The Tate Whitman Prize in Economics
  2. The Jack and Lewis Greenhut Prize
  3. The George Benston and Richard Muth Prize for Excellence in Economics
  4. Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

The W. Tate Whitman Prize in Economics

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This award is for the ability to present clear, cogent analysis of complex issues, extraordinary personal integrity, and wise leadership in the classroom and department.

Jackson Schneider, W Tate Whitman Prize in Economics2023 Recipient is Jackson Schneider

The seeds for Jackson's thesis began when he took a two-semester sequence in our new Undergraduate Research in Economics (Econ 499) course with Stephen O’Connell, in which he explored the effects of humanitarian assistance on the well-being of women and children in the Syrian refugee crisis.  His honors thesis zeroes in on a specific question that arose from this exploratory research. He examines whether a food voucher program for refugees in Lebanon adequately met the food needs of female-headed vs male-headed households. He uses a natural experiment in which some households received an unconditional cash transfer in addition to the food voucher. Employing a regression discontinuity design, he finds that that female-headed households who qualify for the additional cash transfer increase their food expenditure, implying that the food voucher fell short in providing for their families' nutritional needs.

In the words of his thesis advisor, Steve O’Connell, who is also the director of our honors program, “I am proud that Jackson has brought his thesis to a place at which we expect to submit it to a top journal in Development Economics in the coming weeks."

Jackson will be attending the London School of Economics' Masters program in Development Studies in Fall 2023.

Congratulations to Jackson Schneider!

YearPast Award Winners
2022Andrew Taber
 2021Nikita Dsouza 
Max Krauskopf
2019Tejas Kashyap
2018Jonathan Kaminski
2017Tori Herren

The Jack and Lewis Greenhut Prize

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This prize is awarded to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the highest degree of excellence in classwork, research, and scholarly activities.

Lola Cleaveland, The Jack and Lewis Greenhut Prize2023 Recipient is Lola Cleaveland

Lola’s honor thesis studies inflation inequality over the period of the Covid pandemic and the period leading up to it. Using disaggregated price-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey from 2012 to 2022, Lola finds that there was a reversal of inflation inequality during Covid: from 2012 to 2021, inflation varied inversely with the income of US households. But in mid-2021, amidst the recent inflationary period, this trend reversed: higher income groups experienced a higher inflation rate. She further showed that key drivers of this disruption were spending on leisure and travel goods such as rental vehicles and lodging away from home which drove up inflation for high income households.

In the words of her thesis adviser, Kaiji Chen, “this is one of the best honor theses I have supervised since joining Emory. To my knowledge, this is the first academic paper focusing on inflation inequality during the Pandemic episode. I am very impressed by her academic capability to ask big questions in economics and her perseverance in pursing answers to these challenging questions by learning to use cutting-edge analytical techniques.”

After graduation, Lola will be working as an Analyst for Cornerstone Research, and she has plans to go to law school after that.

Congratulations, Lola Cleaveland!

YearPast Award Winners
2022Nicholas Skelley
2021Danielle Handel
Andrew Teodorescu
2019Sarah Mahoney
2018T. Anders Olsen
2017Nanyu Chen

The George Benston and Richard Muth Prize for Excellence in Economics

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This award celebrates the spirit of both Prof. George Benston and Prof. Richard Muth, whose strong commitment to research and reputation for excellence helped facilitate Emory’s change to becoming the world class research institution it is today. In their honor, we give this award to the student who demonstrates exemplary intellectual curiosity, passion, and skill in economic analysis.

Jackson Pentz, The George Benston and Richard Muth Prize for Excellence in Economics2023 Recipient is Jackson Pentz

Jackson’s thesis studies the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Test Farm Program that was implemented during the New Deal and extended through the 40s and 50s.  The test farm program provided new synthetic fertilizers to farmers in the Tennessee Valley region, along with educational support on how best to use them.  Jackson shows that counties that participated in the test farms were generally less developed, with lower crop and livestock values, relatively unproductive soil, and fewer acres of stable crops, like corn and wheat, and he shows that counties that participated in the test farms experienced an increase in farm ownership, and a growth in the fraction of medium-sized farms. 

In the words of his thesis advisor, Maggie Jones, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with him and, in my view, he has certainly emulated an intellectual passion for all things economics.”

Jackson will be moving to St. Louis to work as a Business Analyst for McKinsey & Company.

Congratulations, Jackson Pentz!

Past Award Winners
2022Leah Hartung
2021Phoebe Lei
2020Miaomiao Zhang
2019Claudia Hurowitz
2018Alexis Korman
2017Shaina Shapera

Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

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This award recognizes undergraduate students who have served as exceptional teaching assistants in our Economics classes.

Vanessa Goris, Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant2023 Recipient is Vanessa Goris

Vanessa is pursuing our brand new joint major in Economics and Computer Science, which has grown to 37 students since just this Fall! She was a TA for the 2021 section of Hashem Dezhbakhsh’s wildly popular Econ 101 class on Principles of Microeconomics, which had around 180 students. In Prof. Dezhbakhsh’s words, “This position involves many TA responsibilities, some shared with a graduate TA. I found Vanessa to be very responsible, punctual, and always eager to help the students.  She maintained review-sessions before the exam as well.  More importantly, she accepted responsibilities like overseeing student performance and engagement that other TAs preferred not to touch.  In this capacity she held office hours to help large groups of students. In terms of her dedication, professionalism, and caring for peers, Vanessa is one of the best I have ever come across.”

Congratulations, Vanessa Goris!

Past Award Winners
2022Christina Leonard
2021Sofia Benzi
2020Hannan Sylla
2019Tiffany Chen
2018Joseph Medeiros