Dissertation Award

2017 Dissertation Award

The Upjohn Institute invites submissions for its annual prize for the best PhD dissertation on employment-related issues. A first prize of $2,500 is being offered. Up to two honorable mention awards of $1,000 may also be given.

Applications are due July 7, 2017.

Click here to learn how to apply for the 2017 Dissertation Award.

The 2016 Award winner and honorable mentions are:

First prize

  • Simon Jäger, Harvard University, for "Essays in Labor and Public Economics"
    This dissertation consists of three independent essays in labor and public economics. The first presents evidence on the substitutability between workers within a firm, and between incumbent workers and outsiders, which matter for understanding the operation of internal labor markets and the consequences of worker turnover. The second chapter proposes a permutation test for the Regression Kink design—an increasingly popular empirical method for causal inference. The third chapter analyzes a laboratory experiment to study how tax complexity affects people's reactions to tax changes.
Honorable mentions


  • Isaac Sorkin, University of Michigan, for "Ranking Firms Using Revealed Preference and Other Essays About Labor Markets"
    This dissertation contains essays on three questions about the labor market. In light of the fact that firms account for a substantial share of earnings inequality, Chapter 1 asks why some firms pay their employees so much and some so little. Chapter 2 asks why men and women work at different firms. And Chapter 3 asks what are the long-run effects of the minimum wage?
  • Melanie Wasserman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for "Essays on the Economics of Gender"
    This dissertation seeks to understand gender disparities in labor market and educational outcomes. Two essays analyze determinants of the low representation of women in historically highly compensated and competitive occupations. The third essay explores whether childhood environmental influences contribute to the female advantage in elementary and secondary educational outcomes that has emerged throughout developed countries.