We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2018 dissertation prize: Tímea Laura Molnár and David Lydon-Staley. 

Molnár submitted the dissertation "Essays in Applied Microeconomics" to HCEO's Early Childhood Interventions network. Her paper focuses on child development, in particular examining how parents choose the amount of quality time spent with their children. She also measures the causal impact academic redshirting, which is the practice of postponing school entry of an age-eligible, but potentially not school-ready, child. Molnár is an Associate Economist at the Analysis Group in Montreal. Her research interests are in applied microeconomics, including health economics, economics of education and family economics, with a focus on early childhood development. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia in 2017.

Lydon-Staley's dissertation, "Between-Personal Differences in Sensation-Seeking: Implications for Brain-Based Models of Adolescent Risk Taking," was submitted to HCEO's Health Inequality network. His research focuses on substance use and abuse across the lifespan, with a particular focus on adolescent cigarette-smoking. Nested within a developmental systems framework, he examines the causes and consequences of substance use at multiple levels of analysis (brain, behavior, social environment), multiple timescales (seconds, days, years), and within its developmental trajectory (pre-initiation, uptake, and dependence). He is particularly interested in how short-term variability in affective and cognitive functioning (in particular incentive processing and cognitive control) renders individuals more likely to initiate drug use, transition to drug dependence, and relapse during drug abstinence. He is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at The Pennsylvania State University in 2017.

As the HCEO dissertation prize winners, Lydon-Staley and Molnár 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.