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Published: 19.06.2020

Today at the award ceremony held at Latvijas Banka, prizes were awarded to the winners of the 18th Competition of Student Scientific Research Papers.

No first prize was awarded in the competition.

Two second prizes were awarded to the following students:

Sorina-Sofia Solonaru and Iuliana Tornea, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, for the scientific research paper "You Get What You Pay for! Evidence on how Research Unbundling under MiFID II Impacts the Quality of Stock Analyst Forecasts".

The paper analyses the impact of research unbundling introduced under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) (https://www.esma.europa.eu/policy-rules/mifid-ii-and-mifir) on the quality of stock analyst forecasts. The paper concludes that the number of analysts has decreased under MiFID II and the market analysis coverage has narrowed respectively, while the forecast quality has improved due to lower forecast error and analyst bias (over-optimism). The paper was highly appreciated by the competition jury of Latvijas Banka since the MiFID II directive is only effective as of 2018, and its impact has not been researched extensively.

Krišjānis Oskerko and Toms Henšelis, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, for the scientific research paper "Returns to Skills in Latvia: What Can We Learn from Job Adverts?".

The paper examines returns to skills in the Latvian labour market through the use of a novel dataset obtained from online job adverts. The findings of the research provide evidence that certain skills, namely customer service, project management and software skills, are highly rewarded and better paid by employers. The authors also conclude that job adverts with a higher number of required skills tend to offer higher wages. The competition jury acknowledges that the authors have devoted a considerable effort to develop a dataset of their own and to analyse it thoroughly.

The third prize was awarded to two competition papers.

Andrejs Migunovs and Romāns Vereteņņikovs, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, for the scientific research paper "A View from Outer Space: Nighttime Light Intensity and Economic Activity in the Baltic Municipalities".

The paper uses the nighttime light intensity data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration database to check whether it can be employed as a proxy of economic activity. Further, the authors analyse the economic activity convergence and the underlying factors in 258 Baltic municipalities, using the nighttime light intensity data as the municipal level of GDP per capita. The competition jury welcomes the use of a non-standard data source for the assessment of the economic activity at the municipal level.

Dana Koniševska and Galina Pozdnyakova, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, for the scientific research paper "Signal or Noise: the Effect of iShares Ownership on the Volatility of the Underlying Stocks during Market Turmoil".

The paper analyses the effect of US-traded iShares country exchange-traded funds on the return volatility of the underlying stocks. The authors conclude that the effect varies across countries and is determined by the arbitrage mechanism, the pricing efficiency as well as the overlap in the trading hours of stock exchanges in different countries. The competition jury praises the authors' contribution in terms of the form and contents of the paper, with a particular emphasis on the methodology used.

The recognition prize was awarded to the scientific research paper "Financial Support for Party Supporters? How Politics Influence the Amount of Government Transfers Received by Latvian Municipalities", the authors Daria Orz and Oļegs Skripņiks, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.

The authors of the paper, based on the information about the Saeima and municipal elections as well as the financial statements of the Treasury of the Republic of Latvia, investigate whether the political alignment of a municipal government with the ruling parliamentary coalition affects the amount of transfers received by Latvian municipalities. The obtained results do not provide convincing evidence that municipalities aligned with the ruling coalition might receive more discretionary transfers. However, these municipalities receive larger flows of transfers from the European Union funds. The competition jury points out that this is a topical political economy theme and commends the wide sample used.

Mārtiņš Kazāks, Governor of Latvijas Banka, extended a warm welcome to the participants of the event. The authors of the papers winning awards received money prizes and the set of circulation coins "Centenary of the Baltic States".

In academic year 2019/2020, Latvijas Banka organised its annual 18th Competition of Student Scientific Research Papers, inviting the participation of students from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia who at the time of the competition were registered as students of bachelor or master programmes of higher educational institutions accredited in the Baltic States as well as inhabitants of the Baltic States studying abroad. 30 economic and financial topics were proposed for the competition.

23 papers were submitted to the competition this year – nine more than it was before. Moreover, the quality of the submitted papers and that of the award winners in particular, is as high as has been observed over the most recent years. The authors are 40 students (some papers have two authors) from seven higher educational institutions of Latvia and foreign countries (the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, the University of Latvia, the Riga Technical University, the "RISEBA" University of Business, Arts and Technology, the Liepaja University, the Tallinn University of Technology and the Amsterdam University College).

More detailed information on the competition is available at: https://www.makroekonomika.lv/konkursi/zinatniski-petniecisko-darbu-konkurss.

Today the competition materials will be published on the websites of Latvijas Banka at bank.lv and macroeconomics.lv.