Congratulations to Dr Mirko Draca from the University of Warwick who has been awarded the 2018 Wiley/British Academy prize in Economics for his promising early-career work and particularly for his research on the effect of Chinese imports.
We were recently able to ask Mirko a few questions to find out more about why he loves being a researcher (and what career path he might’ve chosen as an alternative!), and why he is certain that economics research can and should influence policy decisions.
Q. What does winning the Wiley/British Academy prize in Economics mean to you?
A. It means that I've made a contribution to the UK academic economic community. I think that academic economists in the UK have done amazing work in areas of both theory and empirics. In particular, I think that the UK leads in the development and promotion of rigorous, evidence based policy – and it feels very satisfying to be a recognized part of this community.
Q. What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
A. I'd advise on lots of time management and productivity hacks that took me too long to learn!
Q. What made you choose to become a researcher?
A. Intellectual curiosity and freedom - the opportunity to read, research, write and teach as a full-time job is a pleasure.
Q. How would you describe your research to your neighbor, to make them understand how it impacts their life?
A. The example I would give is my research on police and crime - where we have been able to demonstrate the impact of government cuts to police resources – these cuts directly affect everyone in society. I'm also currently researching the economics of illegal drug markets and I hope that work will inform future policy.
Q. If you could change one thing, to improve your life as a researcher, what would it be?
A. Less administrative paperwork!
Q. What are the things you hope your research will fix?
A. I hope that my research on money in politics and emerging patterns of ideological polarization will help us understand and reform our current political institutions.
Q. If you hadn’t become a researcher, what would you have become instead?
A. Easiest question ever - I would write and draw comic books.
Q. What is the most interesting thing you’ve read this week?
A. I recently came back to a speech by the writer Bruce Sterling about technology and the state of our political and social institutions from the 2016 SXSW festival. It's from early 2016 but despite our fast- moving times is still a very shrewd analysis of the era we're living through at the moment.
Image Credit: Dr Mirko Draca
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