Jack Golden becomes second consecutive Homertonian to scoop top Economics prize

By Sarah Hainsworth 2min read

The Adam Smith prize, awarded annually for best overall performance and best dissertation in Economics, has been won by a Homerton student for the second year running.

Jack Golden (BA Economics 2018), has received the prize in recognition of his dissertation, ‘It's Not Easy Being Green: An Examination of Residential Solar Panel Adoption and Government Policy’. He shares the honour with Matthew Chen of Trinity and Valerie Chuang of Christ’s.

In 2020 the prize for best overall performance went to Homertonian Neal Patel (BA Economics 2017), alongside two students from other colleges.

Jack’s winning dissertation explored the effectiveness of a government policy, between 2010 and 2019, of encouraging homeowners to install solar panelling through a feed-in tariff.

“I was keen to learn more about the challenge of transitioning to a net-zero energy system, and the UK's experience with solar panels offered a brilliant case study,” he explains. “The research allowed me to get into the weeds with environmental policy while learning about empirical tools beyond the scope of my degree. I found that households respond more to benefits today than to promises of future benefits - a useful consideration when we think about encouraging people to adopt electric vehicles, greener heating systems, etc.”

The prize both recognises Jack’s work, undertaken in the circumstances of a far from typical year, and gives him the impetus to continue to explore the subject.

“I was overwhelmed when I opened my results and found that I'd won this award. I'm still in shock, to be honest - the writing process had a lot of ups and downs, and I'm extremely grateful to my friends and supervisors for all of their support. Encouraged, I hope I can continue to learn about how the tools from my degree can be applied to find solutions to the problems we are all facing.”

Dr Pauline Goyal-Rutsaert, Homerton Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics, says: “It is incredible to have Homertonians in two consecutive years sharing the Adam Smith Prize. These impressive achievements are worth celebrating!”

“It’s a testament to Juliana Cavalcanti and Pauline Goyal-Rutsaert, the Directors of Studies for Economics at Homerton, that I'm the second consecutive Homerton student to receive the Adam Smith Prize,” says Jack. “I would also credit the culture at Homerton, which has always felt so friendly and supportive - less competitive and intense than elsewhere.”