Honors in Economics
Honors in Economics is awarded to students who excel in our two-semester honors program, which is headed
by Professor Robin Sickles. Students in the program must develop a research idea, construct an economic
model of the concept that has testable hypotheses, obtain the appropriate data and test those hypotheses, and
write and present in the workshop an academic quality paper. The students earning honors in economics in
2020 are Kira Luscher, Corey Fuller, Yixing (Lisa) Ling, William Grimme, and Eshaan Patel.
Kira Luscher is a senior at Jones College from San Francisco, California. Her honors thesis examined
“Private Value Formation in the Secondary Fashion Market: An Empirical Analysis of Online Auction
Outcomes.” In her free time, Kira is an avid dancer and choreographer with Rice Dance Theater, and she will
be pursuing a career in private equity in New York after graduation.
Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize
The Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize is named after Emeritus Professor Ron Soligo, who was known
for his research in development and energy economics and his dedication to our graduate program, which he
directed for 20 years. We have two winners of the Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize in 2020: William
Grimme and Eshaan Patel.
Will Grimme is a graduating senior within the Mathematical Economic Analysis
(MTEC) and Theatre majors and also earned Honors in Economics. His essay
investigated “Semi-Strategic Philanthropy: Hurricane Response and Relief Among
U.S. Firms.” He is headed to Columbia University in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in
Economics, likely specializing in applied microeconomic theory.
Eshaan Patel is a senior from Will Rice majoring in Mathematical Economic Analysis and minoring in Math
and Statistics and also earned Honors in Economics. His essay investigated “Credit and Paths of Development:
Role of Land Reform in West Bengal.” After graduation, he will also be pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at
Columbia University with the intention of focusing on international development.
Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research
The Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research is named after Emeritus Professor Peter
Mieszkowski, one of the most prolific scholars to have served in our department, and the winner of the
National Tax Association’s Holland Medal for lifetime contributions to the theory and practice of public
finance. The prize goes to the best research paper written by a graduating senior in our honors program, and the
2020 winner is Corey Fuller, who examined “Homelessness on the West Coast: What Role Does Health Play?”
Corey also earned Honors in Economics.
Corey Fuller is graduating with a double major in math and mathematical economic analysis. After graduating
from Rice, he is returning to his hometown of Dallas to work as a consultant at Oliver Wyman.
Distinction in Research
Distinction in Research is a university-level award that is given for exceptional research effort, above
and beyond that typically required for a paper in a senior-level economics elective, including the honors
program. Distinction in Research was awarded by the Economics Department for the first time in 2020. The
recipient was Yixing (Lisa) Ling, who investigated “Banking Sector Competitiveness In Eurozone Countries:
2004-2014.” Lisa also earned Honors in Economics and was the winner of the Malcolm Gillis Award in
Mathematical Economic Analysis.
Yixing (Lisa) Ling is a member of Baker College majoring in MTEC and VADA with a theatre concentration.
After graduation, she will be joining McKinsey & Company as a business analyst in the Houston office.
Yixing (Lisa) Ling