Yujung Hwang Wins 2019 Dissertation Prize

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Yujung Hwang portrait

The Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group (HCEO) announced the winners of the 2019 dissertation prize: Yujung Hwang (Yale) and Yeon Ju Lee (University of Chicago).

Hwang’s paper, “A General Equilibrium Analysis of Immigrants’ Neighborhood Sorting and Social Integration,” examines how immigrants culturally assimilate and how people change prejudice against immigrants. The first chapter builds a structural model to explain the dynamics of cultural assimilation and prejudice change. The main mechanism is through endogenous social group formation. Neighborhoods are used as measurements for social groups. Immigrants who segregate into ethnic enclaves have limited interactions with natives so they have less incentive to adopt natives’ cultural traits. Natives who rarely meet immigrants will have less chance to change their prejudice against immigrants. The second chapter presents detailed identification results and Monte Carlo evidence. The third chapter points out that cultural assimilation and economic assimilation are theoretically equivalent and therefore must be studied in a single framework. When the dynamics of cultural and economic assimilation highly depends on each other, perfect assimilation in one dimension must imply perfect assimilation in another. Hwang will become a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Geneva in the fall of 2019, and an Assistant Professor in Economics at Johns Hopkins University from Spring 2020. She received her Ph.D in Economics from Yale University in 2019.

The HCEO prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral dissertation on a topic related to one of HCEO’s 6 networks. Winning submissions are selected by the HCEO directors from a pool created by representatives of the 6 networks. As the HCEO dissertation prize winners, Hwang and Lee will both receive a monetary award, and will be flown to the University of Chicago later this year to present their work to the Center for the Economics of Human Development, HCEO directors, and University of Chicago faculty.

Founded in 2010, HCEO is a collaboration of over 500 researchers, educators and policy makers focused on human capital development and its impact on opportunity inequality. HCEO’s unique approach enables collaboration among scholars with varying disciplines, approaches, perspectives and fields. This means the integration of biological, sociological, and psychological perspectives into traditionally economic questions. The result is innovative thinking and approaches to inequality and human capital development research.

More information about HCEO can be found on its about page.