Scott Auriat, PhD (expected spring 2021), MA, BA

Grad Teaching Assistantship, Faculty of Arts - Economics Dept


Grad Teaching Assistantship, Faculty of Arts - Economics Dept


Area of Study / Keywords

Economic Growth Macroeconomics Economic History


I have a passion for economics and understanding the human enterprise. I am forever motivated and eager to learn new techniques and ways of thinking.


 Thesis Abstract

“Institutions and Economic Growth: How Institutional Change Triggers Divergence, Convergence, and Non-Zero Sums”

I share my core interest with Adam Smith: Why are some countries rich while others are poor? Like Smith, in answering the question, I focus on institutions with the belief different institutional paths can dramatically alter a nations' fate.

My first paper studies the effect of the Mongol Empire on the modern world. I suggest the Mongol Empire was a negative shock to institutional development in the areas they conquered. The Mongols conquered huge Eurasian regions, including China, most of Russia, Eastern Europe, and most of Russia. However, they did not invade and conquer Western Europe. Even though China and the Middle East were ahead of Western Europe militarily and in terms of living standards before the Mongols, they quickly ended up well behind afterward. Why is this so? I tell a story that focuses on the destruction of Liberal institutions in the areas they invaded.

My second paper focuses on the collapse of the USSR as it was a dramatic institutional shock to some countries and less so to others. The countries that opted to join the EU saw much more dramatic institutional change than states that did not. Is there a dramatic difference in outcomes based on these different institutional paths? My findings suggest yes.

My third paper builds a simple model that uses basic game theory dynamics to model the dramatic increase in growth rates after the Industrial Revolution. 

Together the dissertation shows the importance of institutions for the wealth and prosperity of nations and their citizens. While the dissertation certainly touches on many other important factors for growth, institutions are emphasized. 


Primary instructor for Econ 222 -- Technology, Institutions, and Economic Growth. Teaching assistant for many classes including both undergrad and graduate-level econometrics. Along with both Intro micro and macro.