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Faculty of Economics

A University of Cambridge economics undergraduate has won the Ellen McArthur Prize for the best dissertation in Economic History.


Natasha May

Natasha May from Emmanuel College has won the Ellen McArthur prize for best dissertation in Economic History.

“I am very pleased and grateful to have received the Ellen McArthur prize,” says Natasha May. “I really enjoyed constructing my dissertation and I am very happy that my work has been deemed good enough for an award.”

This year the selectors reviewed the eligible dissertations, and judged Natasha’s dissertation on ‘Investment and the Nazi economic recovery’ to be the best contribution to economic history submitted this year in either Faculty.

“I am also very thankful to my supervisor, Dr Cristiano Ristuccia, for introducing me to the Nazi economic recovery as a potential topic and all the excellent guidance he gave me,” adds Natasha May. “I hope to go on to further study, possibly in economic history, after completing my research graduate programme.”

Her dissertation expanded on the literature on the Nazi economic recovery by contributing a higher frequency investment series for the interwar period. By examining this interpolated series, the dissertation studied the determinants of the recovery. It considered the main theories of the recovery: work creation, and looser institutional constraints on investment. By creating and analysing the interpolated investment series alongside the unemployment data, it suggests the proximate cause of the recovery.

Dr Toke Aid, a Reader at the Faculty of Economics and a Fellow of Jesus College says; “this is a fantastic achievement by Natasha, and it really is a tribute to the way the students have risen to the challenge in a very difficult year. Many students have continued to work to high standards. Well done Natasha!”

The Ellen McArthur Fund is named after the pioneering economic historian Ellen McArthur who initially endowed it. A Cambridge University fund, it exists to promote research and study in Economic History. The Fund awards an annual prize for the best undergraduate dissertation in this cross-disciplinary field. In recent years, the prize has been awarded to a dissertation submitted for the History Tripos.





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