Master thesis award for development economics student Heidrun Weinelt
As a student of the Master of Economics programme (M.Sc.) at the University of Heidelberg between 2012 and 2015, Heidrun Weinelt was particularly interested in development economics and statistical methods. She wrote her master thesis with Prof. Dr. Stefan Klonner, head of the Department of Development Economics, and graduated with distinction in autumn 2015.
In her master thesis Heidrun Weinelt analyses the effects of droughts on child labour in agricultural households. Child labour is a common phenomenon around the global South, not only in South Asian countries. Previous research had suggested that income shortfalls caused by adverse weather conditions may increase child labour and harm school attendance because households seek additional income to make up for harvest losses. In contrast, in a statistical analysis of a household-level data set from rural Uganda collected by the World Bank, Heidrun Weinelt finds effects of droughts on neither children’s overall labour hours nor their school attendance. Instead, she shows that the structure of child labour changes with children working fewer hours in agriculture and instead spending more time on household chores, particularly fetching water. These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of the determinants of child labour in low-income countries and can be taken as an additional piece of evidence for the success of Uganda’s 1997 Universal Primary Education Act, a policy initiative that has previously been widely acclaimed for its success by researchers as well as the international community.
For this outstanding thesis Heidrun Weinelt has won the Euro 2.500 Graduate Award of the SEW Eurodrive Foundation. SEW is a family-owned company in the area of machine construction with headquarters in Bruchsal, near Karlsruhe. The Graduate Award was endowed in 1989 and is awarded annually to up to five graduates from master programmes at Austrian, German and Swiss universities in the areas of electrical and mechanical engineering, and economics. The 2016 prizes were awarded on June 2 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The SAI congratulates Heidrun Weinelt for this great accomplishment.