A paper by IFS researchers has received the 2017 Atkinson Award. The award is given every other year to the best paper published in the Journal of Public Economics. The award recipient is chosen by the editors based on nominations from the entire board of editors and co-editors. The award is named after Tony Atkinson, who was the founding editor of JPubE in 1972 and served as editor for 26 years (jointly with Nick Stern for the last 15 years). Tony passed away on New Year’s Day of 2017.
The paper, 'Cash by any other name? Evidence on labeling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment' was published in 2014 and the authors are Tim Beatty, Laura Blow, Thomas Crossley, and Cormac O'Dea.
The work was considered a worthy recipient of the award for a number of reasons. First, the paper addresses an important question — namely whether there are deviations from standard rational behavior when an unconditional cash transfer is labeled to be for a specific purpose. This finding has important implications for the welfare effect and desirability of labeled cash transfers. Second, the paper uses a compelling RD design and takes care to investigate alternative interpretations of the results. Finally, the editors felt that the paper was very well written and therefore a pleasure to read.