Centre for Economic Demography

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Thirsk-Feinstein Prize for best dissertation to Volha Lazuka

Published: 2019-04-08

Volha Lazuka receives the prestigious Thirsk-Feinstein Prize for best dissertation in Economic and Social History

Recently it was announced that PhD Volha Lazuka received the prestigious 2018 Thirsk-Feinstein Prize for best dissertation in Economic and Social History, making her the second researcher affiliated to at the Centre and the Department of Economic History to be honoured with this award! Lazuka's thesis is titled "Defeating disease', public health & medical breakthroughs in 19th & 20th century Sweden" and was published in 2017.

The excellence of this disseration is conveyed through the EHS's motivation:

"This dissertation is thoroughly tri-disciplinary, synthesizing the disciplines of health/medicine, economics, and history. The analysis is founded upon a refined understanding of health, specifically the channels through which neonatal medical care affect health (and economic) outcomes in later life. The literature review is itself a masterpiece. Only the second study of the economic effect of sulpha drugs, the other study being a study of the United States.

There are several other aspects of this dissertation that deserve favourable mention. First, the author relies upon a wide array of sources spanning from the late nineteenth century through the whole of the twentieth century (e.g. when the effects of the 1934-43 birth cohort are observed). Importantly, many of the sources are primary sources (e.g. midwives’ diaries). The author goes to considerable lengths to justify the representativeness of the sample. Second, the magnitude of the results is almost shockingly large. Third, this dissertation is unique on account of its clear policy implications, which the author explicitly states."

Warm congratualtions goes to Volha, and it is especially noteworthy that this is also only the second time the prize, which is awarded by the Economic History Society (UK), goes to a PhD at a Swedish university.