Maryna Tverdostup

Winner of the prize for the best Estonian PhD thesis 2019

The winners of the National Contest for University Students organized by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research were announced on the 12th December 2019. The 1st prize for a doctoral thesis in Culture and Society field was awarded to Maryna Tverdostup for her Dissertation "Human Capital and Labour Market Disparities".

The thesis provides empirical evidence on the role of previously understudied human capital dimensions (like diverse cognitive abilities and job-specific skills) for labour market success. Maryna Tverdostup conducted four empirical studies concerning labour market disparities driven by gender, migration, and return migration. In the thesis she investigates whether these human capital aspects (cognitive and/or job-specific skills) are contributing to increasing or rather decreasing labour market disparities. Such effects are in the literature discussed theoretically, but have not been observed empirically in earlier studies. In each paper she analyses the labour market considering a specific group comparison (men versus women, immigrants vs. locals, return migrants vs. non-migrants) in detail. Maryna Tverdostup’s main overall take-away of her thesis is that higher education or stronger skills do not necessarily translate into higher wages or a better occupation. The results rather suggest that various contextual factors determine whether human capital “pays off” on the labour market: for instance, preferences, personal traits, and gender roles in case of men vs. women; networks, social inclusion, and motivation in case of ethnic minorities vs. locals; social ties and non-cognitive skills in the context of return migrants vs. non-migrants. Further, job tasks specific knowledge and experienced-based abilities (tailored for a specific occupation) are decisive for a wage level and career progression.

Current research

The on-going research of Maryna Tverdostup focuses on game theoretic modeling and lab experiments concerning the role of insurance and diagnostic uncertainly in credence goods markets. Additionally, she works on empirical and experimental projects on gender norms and economic behavior. As a member of the SFB, Maryna Tverdostup works closely with Loukas Balafoutas and Rudolf Kerschbamer. At the moment Maryna is a Prae Doc, but very soon a Post Doc - we are happy for her.


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