William & Mary

Michael Fairbanks, ’21 Wins the Socionomics Institute Prize

The Socionomics Institute, an organization that studies the impact of social mood on collective behavior, launched a competition last year for the best college papers, offering a monetary prize to one winner each year.

The Department of Economics is very pleased to announce that the first year's winner was Michael Fairbanks, a student from Professor Peter Atwater’s ECON 150 course - Economic Confidence and Social Mood. Professor Atwater describes his course as, “students explor[ing] the relationship between economic confidence and decision making, exploring the impact of changing mood on not just economic and financial decisions, but across a broad range of political, social and cultural choices, too.” For example, as Fairbanks’ researched for his paper, the connection between social mood and the drink choices consumers make.

Fairbanks’ paper was awarded the $1,000 prize over submissions from the University of Delaware's honors program, Texas A&M - San Antonio, and other W&M students.

You can see highlights from Mr. Fairbanks’ research as written up in The Socionomist here, and you can see an article from The Socionomist spotlighting several William & Mary students’ submissions here.