Georgetown Professor’s Economics Award Win Puts QF Research on a Global Stage

José Asturias

Jose Asturias, Assistant Professor of Economics at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), along with co-authors Manuel García-Santana, a professor at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, and Roberto Ramos, an economist with the Bank of Spain, have won the European Economic Association’s (EEA) 2020 Hicks-Tinbergen Medal for their journal article, “Competition and the Welfare Gains from Transportation Infrastructure: Evidence from the Golden Quadrilateral of India.”

The EEA awards the medal once every two years to the authors of an outstanding article published in their journal in the preceding two years. Congratulating the winners, the EEA award committee said “The paper elegantly combines theory with data to a highly policy relevant question,” setting their research findings apart through a novel approach to an issue with global relevance.

Using India’s multi-billion dollar Golden Quadrilateral road project as a case study, the research paper provides major new insights on measuring the economic impact of investments in major infrastructure projects. Specifically, the research team found that the investment in the highway project has paid off at even higher rates than previously known. They determined this by studying the economic impact road improvements had on market competition between firms.

A country’s transportation infrastructure plays an important role in its economic performance, explained Dr. Asturias. “A fifth of World Bank lending goes to upgrading transport infrastructure. It’s very important and policymakers have devoted significant resources to reducing their transportation costs. That is what motivated us to study the Golden Quadrilateral, a 5,800 km highway connecting the urban centers of the country (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Calcutta) via modern highways.”

The winning paper was published in the December 2019 issue of the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA). Dr. Asturias is currently working on several new projects, one of which studies the evolution of internal trade within Spain following the 2008 global financial crisis. Dr. Asturias conducts research and teaches courses on international trade and macroeconomics at GU-Q, a QF partner university.