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WVU Chambers College Ph.D. student selected for prestigious fellowship

WVU Chambers College Ph.D. student selected for prestigious fellowship

Margaret Bock, a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics, has been selected as the winner of the 20th Annual Benjamin H. Stevens Graduate Fellowship in Regional Science. The fellowship will provide a 2020-2021 academic year stipend of $30,000 to support Bock’s dissertation research entitled, “The Road Less Traveled: Economic Analysis of Roads and Highways.”

Portrait of Margaret Bock

A native of Hedgesville, Bock came to WVU for graduate studies in 2016 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Economics with a focus in public economics and urban/regional economics.

Bock’s dissertation examines the impacts of roads and highways from casual inference perspectives. Her doctoral research investigates the connection between roads and highways on several aspects of urban and rural locales, including commuting, mortality and mayoral elections.

"Past winners of this award have come from elite private universities like Brown and Chicago and top state flagships like UC-Berkeley and UNC Chapel Hill,” said Joshua Hall, Economics chair and professor. “To have a winner from WVU is a testament to both Margaret's scholarship and WVU's reputation in regional science."

The results of her dissertation will be of wide-ranging interest to regional scientists and policymakers given current interest in the state of infrastructure in the United States, posing Bock to make several scholarly and practical contributions.

"Margaret's dissertation is a look at the causes and consequences of road infrastructure,” Hall said. “First, she uses the rollout of the Appalachian Development Highway System to show how roads — and thus access to health care — affect mortality rates. Second, she studies the effect of High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on commuting times. Finally, she shows how city-level politics influences when and where road maintenance occurs."

Bock and other finalists will be recognized at the awards banquet luncheon of the 67th North American Meetings of the RSAI, which will be held November 11-14 in San Diego, California.

The Fellowship is awarded in memory of Benjamin H. Stevens, an intellectual leader whose selfless devotion to graduate students as teacher, advisor, mentor and friend continues to have a profound impact on the field of regional science. More than 20 of the nation’s top Ph.D. students submitted applications for the highly competitive and prestigious fellowship.



CONTACT: Brittany Murray
Senior Writer, Office of Strategic Communications
John Chambers College of Business and Economics

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