Kent Economics Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 2, 2023

Volume 2 of the Kent Economics Undergraduate Research Journal features contributions from 7 of the final year dissertation students from the class of 2023. These papers were selected by those staff who had sight of all of the year’s Dissertations

Papers were chosen for inclusion because of their clear merit, based on objectivity and quality of the work and the intellectual novelty displayed in the work. The topics covered include inequality, gender health and growth and the links between them.

Abigail McKay combines data from the UK Annual Population Survey (via Nomis) to publicly available regional Covid case rates since 2019. Her paper asks whether the severity of the Pandemic has impacted economic inactivity rates; she finds that regions more impacted by covid have had a faster increase in economic inactivity. Furthermore, this appears to differ between men and women and Abigail offers some practical policy responses to help ease the problem.

Another paper, by Tik Wang Lam applies discrete choice experiments to examine the value people place on a range of ‘green’ aspects of the cityscape. In doing so, he has applied theory and a model which is rarely discussed at undergraduate level and has really stretched his understanding.  He finds that respondents value urban green space highly and priority cycling and walking infrastructure as also of importance. Travel times to work and close proximity of major businesses appear to generate disutility among respondents. Tik’s paper provides a valuable investigation into how urban planners can use economics to improve welfare of city dwellers.

The subject of mental health, anxiety and ADHD have occupied the research of two of these authors. Oliver Sprange made use of two waves of the British Cohort Study 1970 to ask whether anxiety at a young age presented any long-term impact on labour earnings at middle age.  His work, perhaps surprisingly, identifies a positive impact of higher anxiety levels in childhood on future earnings. His dissertation discusses possible reasons for this such as the possibility that childhood anxiety (if resolved) results in better coping strategies when adult. Likewise, Maximus Padden’s research into the potential gender differences in the impact of ADHD on earnings makes use of US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) data. He finds that the wage gap between ADHD men and ADHD women was smaller than that between neurotypical men and neurotypical women.

Shu Rou Ng conducts research to measure the impact of parental earnings on that of their offspring, the Intergenerational Earnings elasticity. This is a key measure of intergenerational mobility that has important implications for those concerned about inequality. Her empirical work identifies a very small but positive elasticity using data from the British Cohort Study 1970.

Two students have focused their research efforts on questions of economic inequality and development. Emily Mozzarelli asks whether gender inequality stifles growth while Devante Hiles focuses his attention on the impact of general income inequality. Devante finds that inequality has a differing impact on growth in less compared to more developed countries while Emily finds that gender equality appears to have positive implications for economic and social development.

Each of these authors have been given the opportunity to revise their final Dissertation paper in the light of written feedback provided by staff who marked their paper. Each has taken this opportunity to varying degrees but readers should be aware that these works are the product of the students’, now graduates’, efforts and not of faculty. They are published here as an example of the excellent research our students can produce but should not be considered as peer reviewed research on which decisions can or should be based.

Editors: Professor Alastair Bailey and Dr Amanda Gosling (August 1st 2023)


Table of Contents:

Read these dissertations in full in the Kent Economics Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 2, 2023