Alumnus and affiliated researcher Dr. Richard Bluhm has won this year’s Prize for Excellence in Applied Development Research from the German Economic Association (VfS). He was awarded first prize in the Young Researcher category for his doctoral thesis on ‘Growth Dynamics and Development. Essays in Applied Econometrics and Political Economy’.
“Understanding why some countries are poor and others are rich, and how this gap can be closed, remains the most fundamental problem in development economics, macroeconomics and economic history,” says Bluhm in his doctoral thesis (embedded below).
“Today, few economists would disagree that political and economic institutions are among the fundamental sources of long-run growth. We may call this paradigm shift the ‘institutional turn’ in economics. It refers to a convergence around the idea that inclusive or open access institutions promote development in the long run, while extractive or limited access institutions retard growth or at best allow it to occur temporarily.”
“While it is now well-established that institutions matter, many… related questions have not yet been convincingly answered. We know very little about the (political) economics of switching between different
growth regimes, or how political and economic institutions affect contemporary growth rates.”
The prize committee acknowledged Dr. Bluhm’s contribution to this field, particularly his theoretical and empirical work on how political institutions relate to economic stagnation and how the uneven growth experiences of developing countries translate into the poverty of people.
About the prize
Every year four young researchers receive recognition for their work. The Research Prize honours academic work combining original research and practical relevance, thus giving fresh impetus for development cooperation. The prize is open to all domains of the social sciences. Innovative and interdisciplinary nominations are welcome, and so are unorthodox critical analyses bearing the potential to contribute to improving development policy.
The current Research Prize committee consists of the University Professors Thomas Bierschenk (University of Mainz), Margit Bussmann (University of Greifswald), Axel Dreher (University of Heidelberg), Javier Revilla Diez (University of Cologne), Roland Hodler (University of St. Gallen), Herman Waibel (University of Hannover) as well as the KfW Development Bank.
The VfS is an association of German speaking economists and currently comprises 3,800 economic researchers. It was founded in 1873. The VfS’ Research Group on Development Economics requests nominations for the Research Prize. It is awarded during the annual meeting of the committee.