New thesis! Three questions to Devon Spika

Published: 2023-06-14

After completing the doctoral education PhD student Devon Spika defended her thesis 31 May. Get a quick glimpse of her thesis, experiences and near future.

The recently-dissertated Devon Spika will soon start a post-doc at the University of Zurich. Photo: Johan Persson

You are about to defend your thesis Gender, health, the decisions we make and the actions we take. In short, what is your thesis about?

"My thesis covers topics at the intersection of behavioural, health, gender and labour economics. The four included papers cover a range of topics related to gender, health, the decisions we make, and the actions we take.

The first paper investigates changes in income-related inequalities in mental ill health over time in Sweden and finds that inequalities increased dramatically between 1994 and 2011, but immigration and population-level changes in education were not important drivers of these increases.

In the second paper, we experimentally investigate the use of commitment contracts to help individuals achieve their physical activity goals. We find that designing a contract (setting goals) is important, but being offered the chance to attach stakes that are forfeited if the contract terms are not met leads to greater increases in physical activity and contract success.

The third paper uses historical data to investigate the effect of school doctors in Sweden on long-term health and socioeconomic outcomes. Overall, we find little evidence that access to school doctors led to improved outcomes.

In the fourth paper, I conduct a pilot study to experimentally investigate the role of children’s books in the early internalisation of norms regarding gender, family, and careers. The study was under-powered to draw strong conclusions, but provides a basis on which to build a future, larger, study on this topic."

In three words, how would you describe your years as a PhD student at LUSEM?

"Fun, filled-with-learning, rewarding."

What are you up to now?

"I am excited to be starting a post-doc at the University of Zurich in July, where I will work on a study investigating the economics of breastfeeding."

Thank you, Devon! Wishing you all the best!

Devon's "Spikning"

Devon nailed her thesis during the “Spikning ceremony“ 10 May in the Blue Hall in EC3 at LUSEM. Photo: Peter Kjällkvist

More about Devon Spika

Devon Spika is a PhD student at Department of Economics.

About Devons defence

Devon in Lund University research portal