- Actualité Sciences Po
Jeanne Sorin has just graduated from Sciences Po's Master in Economics. During her studies, she worked as a research assistant for Julia Cagé and Florian Oswald, then took a one-year sabbatical, went to the University of Southern California and engaged in a project in Uganda.
Why choose Economics? Why undertake a PhD? Why the United States? How did Jeanne define the subject of her dissertation? What advice would she give to the future doctoral students?
Jeanne was king enough to answer a few questions, we warmly thank her for her contribution.
What reasons led you to engage in a Master in Economics at Sciences Po?
I was especially interested in explaining the sources of development, the rise of spatial and economic inequalities and in assessing the potential risks due to climate change. Studying Economics as an undergraduate student at Sciences Po, and then at the University of Chicago for one year, convinced me that the discipline could help answer these questions.
Staying at Sciences Po to do so was an easy choice, with the great quality of the faculty and deep interactions between professors and students.
How did you determine the subject of your Master’s thesis?
During my gap year, I worked at the University of Southern California on a research project at the intersection of environmental Economics and household finance, where I got to learn a lot about the reality of flood risk in the United States. Besides, I wanted to investigate the role of information in shaping people’s beliefs about environmental risk and climate change. After discussing multiple ideas with my supervisors, Julia Cagé and Florian Oswald, I decided to write my master’s thesis on the drivers of flood risk beliefs as reflected on the housing market, and more specifically on the role of local newspapers in forming these beliefs.
When did you decide to engage in a PhD? Why did you choose the United States?
The idea of engaging in a PhD did not suddenly arise. Although I learnt a lot about Economics in class, it is my successive exposures to academic research that convinced me to engage in a PhD. Working as a research assistant, first for Professor Julia Cagé, then at the University of Southern California and on a project in Uganda during my gap year, and finally for Professor Florian Oswald, gave me a sense of what both academic research in Economics, and more generally the academic environment, were about. Taking part in these projects triggered my vocation for research in economics.
What career do you plan after the PhD?
I would like to pursue academic research in the field of environmental economics. More precisely, I would like to contribute to the understanding of the interplays between economics and environmental issues in two ways. First, by improving climate change resilience in both developed and developing countries, and second, by teaching students about these complex, and I believe increasingly important interactions.
What advice would you give to students who hesitate to go for a PhD?
Be proactive! Get to know what research is about and what you like about it. Talk with students and professors about their experience, go to the department seminars, and more importantly, get experience as a research assistant!