Nicholas Reynolds is a PhD student in Economics, studying mortality among white Americans and trade and development in Ancient Greece. He was an NICHD fellow in 2016-2017. Here he describes his fellowship year.
The fellowship supported allowed me to dive into research, and to make progress on multiple, varied projects. I've primarily been researching recent increases in the mortality rate of white Americans. My research so far suggests that, contrary to previous research and popular reports, this increased mortality is likely driven primarily by historical factors. I've completed a short descriptive paper on the mortality trends of white American women, and will continue research searching for the underlying causes of these mortality increases.
I'm also working on a joint project studying trade and comparative development in Ancient Greece, with PSTC Faculty Associate Stelios Michalopoulos and Yannis Ioannides from Tufts University. We hope to use ideas from network analysis to examine the interdependence between these city states and its impact on economic activity and the development of the Greek world.
Besides providing lots of time for research, the fellowship allowed me to apply for and receive additional fellowship support for next year, from the National Bureau of Economic Research Fellowship on the Economics of an Aging Labor Force.
Research is most fun and fulfilling when you're trying to answer a question for which you truly want to know the answer. My advice to other trainees is to try to find a substantive research question that is really interesting to you, and then do your best answer it.