2020 Best Dissertation Awards: Outstanding Writing and Research Honored

Each year CEU’s University Doctoral Committee has the distinct pleasure of presenting the Best Dissertation Award to three graduate students. This year Giulia Priora, Rita Peto and Vujo Ilic join the illustrious list of previous Award recipients.

Rita Peto (Department of Economics and Business) was supervised by Professor Adam Szeidl. Her dissertation, Essays in Labor Economics, examines the role of skills and institutions in the evolution of income inequality from three different aspects. The first chapter studies the effects of a foreign takeover on the return to specific skills and found, for example, that it increases the value of independent problem-solving skills.

The second chapter (co-authored with Balazs Reizer) studies gender differences in the skill content of jobs, and shows that having a family significantly increases the gap in skill use between men and women, mainly because of the time allocation differences on the part of the family members. The third chapter (co-authored with Attila Gaspar) uses historical data to show the impact on the labor market of changing a foreign-sounding name to a Hungarian one in early 20th century Hungary, which resulted in the employee earning a higher salary.

Giulia Priora (Department of Legal Studies) was supervised by Professors Caterina Sganga and Thomas Eger. Priora’s dissertation, Distributive Justice in EU Copyright Law: A Function-based Assessment for a Sustainable Harmonization, examines EU copyright law through the lens of a distributive justice framework. The starting point of her analysis is an in-depth study of the functions pursued by the discipline, which serve to unveil the legislator’s intention of avoiding the over and under-protection of both authors’ and users’ interests, especially in regard – but not limited– to digital scenarios. Through a selection of three case studies, the dissertation demonstrates how the quest for a “fair balance” at the EU level could benefit from a distributive interpretation of the law, thus providing valuable insights for judicial settings and policymakers.

Vujo Ilic (Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations) was supervised by Professor Erin K. Jenne. Ilic’s dissertation Cousins in Arms: Social Structure and Civil War Mobilization in Montenegro offers a theoretical contribution to political science civil war literature by explaining mobilization – a process that turns civilians into combatants – through the prewar social structure of society, as well as the wartime behavior of armed actors and their effects on this social structure. To build and test his theory, Ilic relied on the case of Second World War Montenegro, which in the decades before the war was studied by ethnographers for its tribal social structure, and where substantial data was collected about its communist insurgents in the decades following the war. He used this unique combination of ethnographic and historical sources for a detailed micro-level tracing of events and comparative analysis, and showed how social groups, depending on their size and status, behaved in different ways regarding mobilization against the Italian military, and in the subsequent civil war between local armed actors.

The annual Best Dissertation Awards are intended to recognize important scholarly contributions by graduate students from one of the university’s doctoral programs. Dissertations from any discipline that are based on significant original research, raise thought-provoking questions in the field, and open new perspectives are recognized. The University Doctoral Committee aims to reward imaginative research that takes an innovative approach in terms of sources, methodology, and/or research questions.

Congratulations to Rita Peto, Giulia Priora and Vujo Ilic!