Student Awards 2011-12

Acadia University wins the Student Prize for Economic Policy!

Student Prize: L-R Robyn Zajac (Acadia University); David Chaundy (VP AAAE); David Amirault (AAAE President);

Acadia University student Robyn Zajac captured first place in a recent Atlantic Association of Applied Economists (AAAE) student competition. This is the third consecutive year, the award has been captured by a student from the Department of Economics at Acadia.

The fourth-year honours economics student from Winnipeg, SK, studied the relationship between crime rates and socio-economics factors in Canada during the 1990-2009 period. In particular, using annual provincial data from various dimensions (i.e. economic conditions, policy variables and population demographics), Zajac investigated the primary factors that are able to explain the downward trend in overall crime rates during this time period.

Zajac found that per capita income, police expenditures and the number of convicts in the previous period had the largest impact on overall crime rates in this time period. Using these results, she proceeded to calculate the estimated cost of a one percent reduction in the overall crime rates using these policy variables. Her research indicated that increasing police expenditures is the most cost-effective way to reduce the crime rate in Canada. This is an interesting result, especially considering the discussions surrounding the recent passing of crime bill (Bill C-10) in Canada.

As one of three students in Atlantic Canada invited to present his economic policy to the AAAE, Zajac delivered a 12-minute presentation and five-minute question and answer segment to capture her $750 cash award. Jasmina Alam (University of New Brunswick) and Nicholas Cormier (Mount Allison University) were the other finalists in the competition.