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Faculty of Economics

Monday, 29 January, 2024

Part 2B student James Legrand (Jesus College) said “I am delighted to win this award; it is very satisfying for my research to be recognised in this way. I would like to thank Alex Savu for his exceptional support and advice as my dissertation supervisor, as well as Toke Aidt for his guidance and care as my Director of Studies. Their continued support helped me through many negative productivity shocks and improved my academic experience immeasurably.”

His dissertation considered the distributional effects of Hydraulic Fracturing, a method used to extract natural gas and oil from deep rock formations known as shale. He constructed a novel data set to study the impact of fracking on local income inequality in the United States, finding that income inequality significantly increases in fracked regions (relative to a synthetic baseline).

“It’s often claimed this implies lower income citizens become relatively worse off. I instead claim this is due to the immigration of low-income workers, changing the population over which inequality is measured. Thus, while local inequality may have increased, this does not mean that the pre-fracking population became less equal,” he said.
The Gladstone Memorial Prize is awarded to the best dissertation across the Part IIB of the Economics Tripos, Part II of the Historical Tripos, Part IIB of the Politics, Psychology and Sociology Tripos.