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Economics graduate wins prestigious Francesca Carnevali Prize

Robert Mitchell (Economics BSc) won the 2023 award for the best Bachelor of Science thesis in Economic History.

6 October 2023

A Newcastle University Business School graduate has won the prestigious 2023 Francesca Carnevali Prize.

Robert Mitchell (Economics BSc) won the award for the best Bachelor of Science thesis in Economic History.

The Francesca Carnevali Prize is awarded by the ASE (Associazione per la Storia Economica). This non-profit organisation promotes the study and research of economic history.

The prize is awarded to the best Bachelor and Master of Science thesis in this field. It is dedicated to the memory of Dr Francesca Carnevali (1964 – 2013).

Robert's dissertation focused on the 1843 self-restrictive industrial action in Britain’s Northern coalfield. It used data from a range of primary sources, including:

  • the 1841 and 1851 Censuses
  • the 1844 Report of the Coal Trade Committee of Northumberland and Durham
  • various parliamentary reports
Robert Mitchell and his PhD supervisor Dr Brian Varian at Newcastle University graduation

The dissertation used a novel approach to estimate historical, colliery-specific trade union participation rate. It finds that the industrial action had no effect on coal miners’ wages.

"I'm delighted that my dissertation has been recognised by the Associazione per la Storia Economica and awarded the prestigious 2023 Francesca Carnevali Prize," said Robert. "The project allowed me to nurture my interests in both economic history and labour economics.

“I strove to produce a novel piece of research by drawing on several primary sources for my econometric data analysis. I am particularly proud that my research advances our understanding of the economic history of the North-East of England. It has allowed me, albeit in small part, to contribute to the regional community within which I have studied and lived for four years."

I will always look back on my undergraduate studies in economics at Newcastle University with fondness. This prize is a testament to the challenging, stimulating, and rewarding formative experiences that I had as a student there.

Robert Mitchell, Winner of the 2023 Francesca Carnevali Prize

Robert authored his thesis in his third year at Newcastle University Business School. His supervisor was Dr Brian Varian, Lecturer in Economics.

"Robert’s dissertation is economic history par excellence,” said Dr Varian. “This case study substantially advances our understanding of the functioning of labour markets during Britain’s Industrial Revolution. I am elated that Robert’s masterly dissertation has been selected as the winner of the 2023 Francesca Carnevali Prize."

Robert collected his award at the 8th ASE Annual Meeting in Naples on 29 and 30 September 2023. The meeting was hosted by the Department of Economics and Statistics, Federico II University.