Thomas Kurian


Community Bursary Award Holder

MSc in Economics for Development (2021)

Thomas is currently studying an MSc in Economics for Development (2021). He has previously completed an undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Warwick with first-class honours. 

His interests are in the fields of applied econometrics and microeconomics, particularly in the sub-domains of energy and environmental economics; development economics; labour economics; urban and spatial economics; and international trade. His research interests include studying the impact of environmental externalities on development (such as industrial pollution, deforestation, forest fires), productivity (such as the impact of access to electrification in developing countries), market integration (the impact of infrastructure investment such as road building, transportation, and mobile phone investments in both 'last mile' and 'first mile' contexts), structural transformation (the impact of such investments on subsistence agriculture and urban-rural migration), urbanisation and urban agglomeration, and the relationship of international trade policy and firm activity.

'I am also excited by utilising innovative analytical methodologies including GIS and remote-sensing data and machine learning techniques to drive more rigorous policy insight. I am currently working on a master’s thesis investigating the role of rural electrification on firm creation in India using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design strategy and previously studied the causal relationship between early childhood nutrition and human capital accumulation in Vietnam for my undergraduate thesis.'  

'I chose to study at the University of Oxford because it is a world-renowned research institution for my field of interest, particularly in the area of development economics. The department boasts a particularly strong team of pre-eminent leaders in the field and several cutting-edge research centres such as the CSAE (Center for Study of African Economies). Furthermore, I was keen to get involved in the diverse extra-curricular opportunities offered by the University – from countless sporting, musical, and student leadership opportunities and a thriving collegiate life - the scope of possibility was exciting. I applied to St Cross, specifically, due to the College’s reputation for being one of the most international colleges, attracting students from across the world. St Cross has a relatively relaxed atmosphere, focuses on graduate students, and is renowned for great dining!' 

'The scholarship has enabled me to participate fully in extra-curricular life at St Cross. At the University, I have become involved in a variety of sports teams (including College Badminton, Basketball, and Men’s Rowing, and University-level Ultimate Frisbee); been able to access a variety of fascinating talks through Oxford Union membership; contributed to Student Leadership as College Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the St Cross Summer Ball; and been able to participate in University social life through attending a range of formal dinners and bops'. 

'I am currently undecided about my career but I am keen on exploring routes in academia (through completing a DPhil in Economics or a related area like Statistics or Machine Learning); consulting; the non-profit sector; or law.'