Perse student takes plaudits in major economics competition
14 Oct 2019
Robbie Dodsworth (Upper Sixth) has been highly commended for his work in the Young Economist of the Year competition.
Almost 1,300 students from across the country took part the competition, organised by the Royal Economic Society, with entrants asked to complete a 1,500-word essay on one of five topics. Judges assessed each essay based on originality, quality of writing, economic content and the quality and power of the economic arguments.
Robbie chose to investigate the idea that ‘The universal basic income (UBI) is the best solution to handle the large scale displacement of labour due to automation in coming years’.
He said: “Universal basic income (UBI) is an idea that’s been around for a few hundred years but never really been trialled. It’s the idea that the state would provide a basic income to everybody. I assessed whether the costs and benefits of that would make it viable.
“I looked at how UBI would affect the individual as an economic agent and then focused on the wider impact to the economy. I decided that UBI wouldn’t be the best way and I felt a better way would be changing how we educate young people to make them more adaptable to changes that could be coming from automation taking over industries.
“I concluded that the focus should be on young people having lots of different skills rather than specialising so that if there job was to be replaced by automation, they would still have skills that could be transferred into other fields. Although some of these skills may still be specific to certain industries, they wouldn’t be specific to certain jobs.”
Robbie said he thrilled to be highly commended for his work, having enjoyed researching the concept of UBI, even looking back at its beginnings in Sir Thomas More’s early 16th Century work Utopia.
He said: “UBI is something I found really interesting once I started reading more deeply into it. That motivated me to get stuck in and try to produce a good piece of work. Being highly commended in this competition wasn’t something I was expecting and I feel quite proud of this achievement.”