Economic History Personal Statement Example

My study of India’s Dalits enabled me to consider history in a socioeconomic context. I was shocked that “Untouchability” still pervading Indian society has such detrimental economic effects like discrimination in the markets and diminished education opportunities.

This harmful mix contributes to high poverty rates and inequality; According to Multidimensional Poverty Index, around two-thirds of Dalits are destitute - I realised how prejudice is a crucial factor in stifling economic development of some groups. I desire to develop an independent think tank to tackle these issues, and studying at an undergraduate level will begin to give me the necessary skills and understanding that are vital for developing socioeconomic solutions.

Watching the movie The Help, which portrayed 1960s African Americans locked significantly below living wages and facing underdevelopment due to segregationist policies, strengthened my agreement with Muhammad Yunus’ interesting perspective that “wealth acts like a magnet”. The struggle of minorities who have no magnets, and the negative effects of bias in societies troubles me.

In particular, Becker’s work on labour market discrimination strongly supports my opinion that prejudice is harmful to equality development. If minorities were disfavoured and unemployed due to preferential employment, they would be unable to break the poverty cycle and would be vulnerable to the exploitative practice of paying minorities at a lower wage, disadvantaging those who are in employment due to wage differentials. Both scenarios lead to a divergent pattern in incomes.

Whilst I agree with Milton Friedman that capitalism acts as a “solvent” for discrimination, holding Yunus’ opinion that certain groups have more magnets than others brings me to the conclusion that a capitalist system with unequal wealth distribution accentuates the problem. Due to this, I found Baradaran’s research on lack of capital resources in US “black banks” (developed from historically segregated black capitalism) fascinating as it has led to a long-term perpetuating wealth gap. I firmly believe magnets of society should be equally distributed to achieve an egalitarian outcome and I am keen to explore how best that can be achieved.

Personally, I think inequality can never be avoided but it can be reduced with positive discrimination such as scheduled caste reservation in education and labour market, allowing Dalits to break through into the private sector. However, because of the skewed role of political power, I realised government initiatives were largely unsuccessful in bridging equality gap as Muslim and Christian Dalits are excluded from affirmative action constitutionally. Reading Acemoglu-Robinson’s argument about the role of bad institutions exacerbating economic quandaries broadened my perspective on how inclusivity in systems is crucial for positive feedback loops for growth, which is pivotal for all Dalits to prosper.

My experience in Model United Nations gave precious insight to these countries’ individual systems, enabling me to evaluate critical political problems such as conflict traps. My participation in other debating platforms such as Oxbridge Debating Forum and World Scholar’s Cup heightened my evaluative judgement skills by assessing different perspectives. Despite my fear of heights, Wall Climbing taught me the necessary lessons of taking risks to overcome the “impossible” for the top. Such risks, I think, are crucial for policymakers - precise but bold steps are key for persistent problems. I appreciate lessons of teamwork, from conceding in debate sessions to reliance on friends during climbing, which will certainly be useful in university life.

I look forward to studying the complexity of social history and its political context in relation to economic development, so I may develop knowledge and skills to undertake research on inequality and develop practical solutions and policies.

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LSE - Economic History
KCL - History and Political Economy
Durham - Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Glasgow - Economic and Social History (Soc/Sci)
Manchester - Modern History with Economics

I wrote this in a span of five days.. Please don’t attempt this. I was accepted to all universities I had applied to.


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