Economics finalist announced in the ‘John Locke Essay Competition 2020’

Woodbridge School is celebrating Year 12 pupil Josh being shortlisted in the prestigious ‘John Locke Essay Competition 2020’, in the Economics section, with his chosen topic What is the socially efficient level of crime in a society

A special prize-giving ceremony will be held in Oxford in the Autumn to announce the winners and runners-up, where they will get to meet the judges and other faculty members of the John Locke Institute.

The annual Essay Competition tests students’ ability to explore a wide range of challenging questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum, assessing their level of knowledge and understanding of the relevant material, the quality of argumentation, the structure, writing style and persuasive force.

Josh will be joining fellow Woodbridge School Year 12 student Julia in the finals for the Competition, with her Philosophy entry, ‘Can good art make one a better person?’.

Josh says of his entry into the Competition:

“I chose ‘What is the socially efficient level of crime in a society’ for my Economics essay because I think there is a really wide range of different ways to go about answering such an open question. I focussed on making sure I didn’t begin to stray away from the question in hand and really queried what crime, as an idea, actually is.

“In addition, what we can do to detect forms of ‘hidden’ or ‘victimless’ crime, such as piracy, forgery or bribery. I also used graphs as a means of displaying my point in a visual way, which I think allowed the reader a wider view of the data I was using and analysing.

“For university, I would like to study Economics. I am currently aiming for Exeter or Warwick University as my first choice.”

This year, it took the panel of thirty-five examiners, from Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard and Chicago, two weeks to assess almost three thousand entries overall, from eighty different countries.

Senior academics from the University of Oxford then go on to judge all of the Institute’s essay prizes, and choose their favourite essay from each subject category, and an overall ‘Best Essay’, across seven subjects: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology and Law.

Josh submitted his essay during lockdown, which was clearly a very difficult time.

“Working under lockdown was an interesting challenge that I actually struggled with”, reflects Josh. “Motivation was difficult to find during the period. However, I persevered and made sure I just completed a little bit of research every day.”

Anne Wright, Head of Classics and Oxbridge Co-Ordinator at Woodbridge School, said:

“This is a huge achievement, because the John Locke Essay is a very prestigious competition, attracting entries from across the globe and, in particular, the US, Singapore and Hong Kong. Josh has demonstrated real intellectual drive and curiosity – qualities that make him ideally-suited for university study.” Well done to Josh on his impressive accomplishment and we wish him the very best of luck in the judging.