Political Economy Personal Statement Example

Their e’s something wrong with modern politics, which often seems to judge countries only on the basis of dollar
value. Yet more that than half of the world’s population survives on less than $2 a day. Are they really worth
less? And of course success can be measured in other ways: literacy, life expectancy, crime, happiness. I’m
applying for social sciences courses because I want to find out more about other ways to weigh up the world.

There’s definitely something wrong with much modern economics. I have enjoyed learning about theories of
distribution and choice but the classical picture in my textbook leaves out a lot of the things and people that
matter. I’ve been taught the ‘homo economicus’ model: to get a sense of its gaps and failings I recently read
Marçal’s “Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?”. She argues that ‘Economic man’ is always rational, selfish,
self-reliant. Yet women (who enable men) are missed out, and the shadow economy disregarded. Tedious,
monotonous domestic tasks are seen as valueless despite their necessity; altruism can’t be accounted for. Also,
it’s unjust that for ideological reasons, key economic actors have simply been missed out: women didn’t begin
to work ONLY in the 1960s when the models were adjusted. And this goes on still: our government is willing to
take account of income earned in the informal sector to boost GDP but unwilling to extend the social safety net
or fairly tax this income. From 2014, earnings from prostitution counted for GDP, but this work is unregulated
and untaxed and work-related benefits are not available. (There is another way: in Germany, sex workers are
required to pay tax and are eligible for welfare payments.) GDP of course rose in 2014 – but perhaps not as a
result of falling unemployment, steady inflation and high investment, but because of the manipulation of those
working in hidden sectors.

Poor quality measurement misses others out too. I’m personally outraged that the push to improve ‘standards’
and the threat of academisation in UK schools in the 90s meant that many students were enrolled on worthless
courses that benefited school results but not the young people themselves, who were predominantly black. The
wrong thing was measured and ensured a poor outcome. Similarly misleading indexes are being used by our
government now to diminish the impact of the coronavirus measures that are underway. My ability, as a maths
student, to read the figures and unpick the truth from the spin, has been vital here. I’ve also learned to be
persistent and logical, and to use a range of techniques in pure and applied mathematics to resolve difficult
problems by taking them a step at a time. English Literature has made me a careful reader of texts that are hard
to follow and taught me to write carefully-structured essays that weigh up the evidence and argue towards a
balanced and plausible conclusion. For my coursework I have chosen to focus on the presentation of the black
female experience in Angelou’s collection ‘And Still I Rise’ and Evaristo’s ‘Girl, Woman, Other’, which has
challenged me to contextualise these books that were written forty years apart.

Outside school I have worked with the Social Mobility Foundation, participating in the Wild Hearts Annual
Conference in central London, and volunteering at IncludEd as a lecturer to Oxbridge and Russell Group
professors to help them understand more about the lives of some of their applicants, people like me. I also took
part in SOAS’ online ‘Economics Summer’ which this year focused on the topics I’ve mentioned above. Last
year I came first at my school in the essay competition of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers,
and relished the challenge of writing under pressure.

As you can see, I’m interested in issues around social justice, and the degree that you offer will equip me with
even better tools to understand these matters and work with others to set them right. There is much to do.

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Author's Comments

Received 4/5 offers. This personal statement got me offers into the following courses:
- Politcal Economy
- Global Humanitarian Studies
- Politics and Sociolgy
- Development Economics


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