College of Liberal Arts

2013 Daniel Hamermesh Senior Thesis Prize Awarded

Wed, Jan 22, 2014

The 2012-13 Daniel Hamermesh Senior Thesis Prize in Economics, which recognizes the most outstanding undergraduate honors thesis in economics, was awarded to Robert McDowall for his honors thesis, “Patterns in Sovereign Default”.  The purpose of the paper was to examine the effects of both internal and external economic shocks on the ability of developing sovereigns to service their debt obligations under varying contract terms. In Robert’s analysis he utilized game theoretical techniques and empirical data to explain a sovereign default decisions. His supervising professor was Dr. Valerie Bencivenga, with Dr. Laurent Mathevet acting as second reader.

Robert is majoring in economics and mathematics and is the current president of the UT chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an International Economics Honor Society. In speaking about the experience of writing his thesis, Robert says, “Overall, I found the research process to be an extremely rewarding one. Writing a thesis provides an opportunity to work closely with members of faculty and to endeavor independently to create something you can truly be proud of. Having the ability to choose a research topic you’re passionate about is key. While it was a lot of hard work, I have many fond memories of working late into the night alongside my fellow thesis writers to complete our papers ahead of the final deadlines. The honors symposium at the end of the year provided an excellent opportunity to see the finished works of my peers and to present to the many faculty members in attendance.”

The intention of the thesis prize is to encourage undergraduate research and honors theses in economics and comes with a monetary stipend of $1,000.  Recipients are selected by a subcommittee of the department’s Undergraduate Studies Committee based on a review of the economics honors theses completed in the academic year. For more information about the Departmental Honors Program in Economics, go to:

Congratulations to Robert for this accomplishment!


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