Santiago Botto Tornielli (Jonathan Edwards College ‘18) is this year’s first place winner of the Harvey M. Applebaum ‘59 Award for his economics senior essay, “Convergence Towards an Optimal Currency Area in the European Union.” The award is conferred on a Yale College senior for an outstanding senior essay based on research that draws upon Yale University Library’s government documents collections and comes with a $500 prize.
According to Botto Tornielli, his essay focuses on the European Monetary Union and its divergence from the theoretical requirements for an optimal currency area. The essay also examines the ways to measure those divergences and which indicators are the most important.
“The biggest takeaways are that since the EU doesn’t have the kinds of adjustment mechanisms that a unified country like the US has, it’s important to have economies with similar patterns of costs and production, and the indicators for convergence we currently use don’t always capture all the relevant factors to show that,” said Botto Tornielli.
“I think the EU is a really interesting case study for economic institutions because it was planned and created ‘artificially.’ Because of that, it’s an opportunity to test the theories that helped create it against their real life outcomes,” he said. “The EU also breaks down the boundaries between national economies that we normally think about. I was interested in cases where actual economic activity doesn’t necessarily line up with those national boundaries.”
When deciding a topic for his essay, Botto Tornielli, received guidance from his advisor, Professor Rakesh Mohan. “When I started researching I had a pretty vague idea of where I wanted to go, and his advice helped me focus and change course where I needed.” He also credits Department of Economics Teaching Fellow, Ana Reynoso, for her assistance with the statistical sections.
Originally from Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Botto Tornielli moved to Houston when he was 10. He says Economics peeked his interest from an early age, when he recalls hearing about national economic issues and their effects on Argentinians. “Argentina has a special and complicated economic history,” said Botto Tornielli. ”I really got interested in Economics to try and make sense of that background.”
After graduation, Botto Tornielli will work for McKinsey in New York as a consultant, and said he would like to pursue a career in economic policy in the future. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without the support I had from my friends and family,” he added.
The Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award was established by Harvey Applebaum’s daughters in honor of his 70th birthday. The inaugural award was conferred in 2008. Applebaum is a senior counsel, specializing in international trade and antitrust law, with the Washington firm of Covington & Burling LLP and a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a past Chairman of the Association of Yale Alumni and the Yale Alumni Magazine board.
Senior essays submitted for consideration for the Applebaum Award must be based in some part on research material within one of Yale University Library’s government documents collections, and may be submitted by seniors or their faculty advisors. The winning student must agree to grant the library a non-exclusive right to post his or her essay on EliScholar.
For additional information on the prize, guidelines and winners, see the Harvey M. Applebaum ‘59 Award webpage.