Congratulations to Kevin Axe, recipient of the 2023–2024 Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students

May 5, 2023

The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies is pleased to announce that Kevin Axe has been awarded the 2023-2024 Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students.

AABS awards grants of up to $4,000 to support doctoral dissertation research and write-up in any field of Baltic Studies. Funds may be used for travel to research site, equipment, duplication or other needs as specified.

Proposals are evaluated according to the scholarly potential of the applicant, and the quality and scholarly importance of the proposed work, especially to the development of Baltic Studies. Applicants must currently be enrolled in a PhD or MA program and have completed all requirements for a PhD/MA except the dissertation. Applicants must be members of the AABS at the time of submitting their application.

The 2023 applications were evaluated by the AABS 2023-2024 Grants and Awards Committee consisting of AABS VP for Professional Development Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe, AABS President Dr. Dovilė Budrytė, and AABS Director-at-Large Dr. Daunis Auers. You can find a full list of 2023 awardees here.

A man wearing a black sweater

Kevin Axe is a PhD candidate at the Free University of Berlin and researcher within Berlin’s “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) Cluster of Excellence. His research is focused on the spread of (neo)liberal economic thought within the (post)socialist world.

Project Overview

Accounts of Estonia’s transition from a planned to a free-market economy generally begin with the country’s return to independence in 1991 and the arrival of Western advisors. Questioning notions of an economic transition orchestrated almost exclusively by Western actors, this contribution assesses the intellectual roots of Estonia’s market reforms in ideas and experiences of the late Soviet era and in intellectual exchange with economists from other socialist republics and states. I argue that Estonian economists actively sought and adapted market thought from allied states prior to perestroika, kickstarting Estonian marketization and resulting in the export of market ideas from Estonia across the post-Soviet sphere. As Estonian economists viewed Hungary as home to the most economically advanced and inventive socialist economy, thanks in part to academic publications, they reached out to their counterparts in Budapest, resulting in annual mutual visits beginning in the 1970s. Taking advantage of Estonia’s status as a Soviet economic testbed, Estonians were able to put some of this experience to work even before securing national independence during the Soviet collapse, paving the way for the liberal market reforms of the 1990s, and the exportation of Estonian market thought.