Eesti Pank research awards go to Triinu Tapver and Pearl Etie

The Eesti Pank research award in the doctoral category has been given to Triinu Tapver for her work on the returns on investment funds in Central and Eastern Europe. The winner in the master’s category was Pearl Etie, who researched ways of reducing the sovereign debt crisis through a debt relief programme in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Head of the research unit at Eesti Pank Tairi Rõõm, who led the assessment of the works, said that the entries this year were highly relevant and were of the usual high academic standard. “I commend the serious contribution that the authors and their supervisors have made to advancing knowledge about economics in Estonia”, she said.

Triinu Tapver of Tallinn University of Technology wrote her research paper Luck and skill in the performance of global equity funds in Central and Eastern Europe on the returns to investment funds in 2005–2019. She was looking to see whether actively managed funds offer different returns to passive funds, and whether that can be attributed to the skill of the fund manager or to luck. The results of the research showed that most of the actively managed funds earned a smaller return than the passive funds and in most cases this was due not to bad luck, but to the poor skills of the fund managers. The commission considered that a particular strength in Triinu Tapver’s award-winning research was its use of bootstrap simulations as a modern method of analysing financial markets.

Pearl Etie from the University of Tartu wrote her master’s paper The sufficiency of debt relief as a panacea to sovereign debt crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa: A case study of Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia to analyse how debt relief programmes have affected the long-term trends in sovereign debt issued by Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia. It found for all three countries that the programmes offered only temporary relief to the countries receiving the assistance, and did not have any long-term impact on the accumulation of debt. In the longer run, macroeconomic steps that encourage economic growth can prove more effective at reducing debt than direct debt relief programmes can. The commission considered that the strength of the research was its well-argued and highly proficient analysis.

The research awards were given to the winners on 4 November at Eesti Pank following the public lecture by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde. Nine pieces of research were submitted to the competition for the Eesti Pank research awards this year, with three doctoral works and six master’s level works.

Background Information

The Eesti Pank research award in memory of Urmas Sepp is being granted for the 20th time in 2022. The research competition is intended to bring attention to outstanding research work, encourage scientific work in economics, and promote studies that can lead to academic degrees. Since 2011 the award has been granted in two categories, one for research leading to a PhD thesis or done as part of doctoral studies, and the other for research leading to a master’s dissertation or done as part of a master’s course. Urmas Sepp (1956–2002) was the head of the Eesti Pank macroeconomics department, later the economic research department, in 1993-2002.