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NEWS: Harvard Environmental Economics Program Awards Student Prizes for 2013-2014 Academic Year

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2014
Media Contact: Bryan Galcik (617) 384-8415; bryan_galcik@hks.harvard.edu

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Harvard Environmental Economics Program has, for the fifth consecutive year, awarded three prizes to Harvard University students for the best research papers addressing a topic in environmental, energy, or resource economics—one prize each for an undergraduate paper or senior thesis, master's student paper, and doctoral student paper. Each prize was accompanied by a monetary award. The Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP) is a University-wide initiative based in the Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government that seeks to develop innovative answers to today's complex environmental challenges.

HEEP Student Paper Prize 2014

From left to right: Thomas Covert, Joyce Hahn, Professor Robert Stavins, Hannah Pitt, and Jun Shepard. Not pictured: Basil Williams.

The papers were judged by James Hammitt, Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health; William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy, Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and HEEP Director, at the Harvard Kennedy School; and Michael Toffel, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. All four reviewers are Faculty Fellows of HEEP. The prizes were supported by the Enel Endowment for Environmental Economics at Harvard and the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation.

According to Robert Stavins, "The papers submitted for the HEEP prize competition this year exhibited an impressive understanding of economics and environmental policy. At a time when such issues are so extraordinarily important for the world, I am encouraged that our students are taking such an intense interest and exhibit such impressive efforts to further scholarship in this area."

The Winners are:

The Enel Endowment Prize for the Best Paper by a Doctoral Student

Thomas Covert, "Experiential and social learning in firms: The case of hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken Shale." Ph.D. Committee Chair: Ariel Pakes, Thomas Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The HEEP Prize for the Best Paper by a Master's Student

Joyce Hahn and Hannah Pitt, "Preparing for liberalization of the retail gasoline sector in Mexico: A household-level welfare analysis." Second Year Policy Analysis (Master in Public Administration/ International Development capstone project). Advisor: Joseph Aldy, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Prize for the Best Senior Thesis or Undergraduate Paper
The prize is shared this year between:

Jun Shepard, "The business of energy policy: Analyzing the impacts of policies and businesses on solar electricity rates in Massachusetts." Senior Thesis in the Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration. Advisor: Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Basil Williams, "Silent sound: Uncertainty and responsibility in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill." Senior Thesis in the Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration. Advisor: Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.


Further information about the prize-winners and sponsors:

Thomas Covert will receive his Ph.D. in Business Economics in May 2014. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Covert will be a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago during academic year 2014-2015. He will then become an assistant professor of economics at the University's Booth School of Business. Mr. Covert's research interests are environmental economics, energy markets, and technical innovation in energy. He worked for three years as an economics consultant, with a focus on litigation in energy markets.

Joyce Hahn will receive her Master in Public Administration/International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School in May 2014. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College in 2006. Ms. Hahn served as a commercial agricultural consultant in Ethiopia in 2013, a programs manager for the California Masonic Foundation (2009-2012), working primarily to expand educational opportunities for vulnerable populations, and with the Peace Corps for two years in Azerbaijan. She also served for one year with AmeriCorps City Year in Louisiana.

Hannah Pitt will receive her Master in Public Administration/International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School in May 2014. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Environmental Science (Phi Beta Kappa). Ms. Pitt has worked with the Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Microfinance (Ahmedabad, India), the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, and the School for International Training (in a marine resource management program in Madagascar).

Jun Shepard will receive her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Environmental Science and Public Policy in May 2014. She has completed coursework in economic, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Ms. Shepard has held research assistantships and internships with The China Project at Harvard University, which addresses air pollution in China, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, among others.

Basil Williams will receive his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Environmental Science and Public Policy in May 2014. He has consulted to or worked with innovative, early-stage energy companies while an undergraduate. Mr. Williams was elected to the Harvard College Senior Class Committee and has served on the Harvard Alumni Association Undergraduate Committee.

The Enel Endowment for Environmental Economics, at Harvard University, was established in February 2007 through a generous capital gift from Enel SpA, a progressive Italian corporation involved in energy production worldwide.

James M. Stone is chair of the Plymouth Rock Companies. He holds BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, where he also taught the economics of securities markets.

Cathleen Douglas Stone was Special Assistant for Environment to the Mayor of the City of Boston from 1997 to 2013.


For details of the contest, click here.

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