SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Wittenberg University Junior Rapp Crook won first place in the macroeconomics division for a research paper he presented April 12 at the Third Annual Undergraduate Economics Paper Contest at Bowling Green State University.
Crook is a native of Lima, Ohio, majoring in Russian Area Studies with a minor in economics. The award-winning paper titled "The Tsarist Gorbachev" was written for a class taught by Wittenberg Economics Professor David Wishart, who accompanied Crook to the competition.
From a total of 25 submissions, 13 papers were selected by the economics faculty at Bowling Green for presentation during the April 12 finals. The winners were selected in a blind review conducted by economics professors at several Ohio colleges and universities. Students from Bowling Green, Ohio Northern University, Oberlin College, John Carroll University, the University of Dayton, Case Western Reserve University, Denison University and the University of Michigan presented papers.
The Tsarist Gorbachev that Crook's title refers to was Sergei Witte, the finance minister in Russia from 1892 to 1903. Among his many accomplishments, Witte was responsible for Russia’s adoption of the gold standard, the completion of the trans-Siberian railway and an acceleration of industrialization in Russia prior to World War I.
According to Wishart, "Rapp's paper does a marvelous job placing Sergei Witte's reforms in the context of Russia’s notable economic progress at the end of the 19th century in addition to relating these reforms to those undertaken by Gorbachev at the end of the Soviet era.
"There are some clear parallels between Witte's approach to economic liberalization and Gorbachev's efforts to restructure the Soviet economy (perestroika) and to open up the political process in the Soviet Union (glasnost)." Wishart also noted that, "It is quite an accomplishment for a student to integrate historical events and more contemporary processes as creatively as Rapp has in this paper. His paper is highly original in this sense."
"The faculty at Bowling Green who sponsor the conference had nothing but praise for Wittenberg students," Wishart said. "Rapp did a great job presenting the paper and responding to questions from the audience."
This was the second time Wittenberg students have entered the undergraduate paper competition. Two years ago Wendy Hanson and Nick Brannick each earned third place awards at the conference. Nick is now studying law at The Ohio State University, and Wendy is working for a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. with plans to enter a Ph.D. program in economics in 2004. Crook will spend his senior year studying in Moscow.
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