Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy

Alexandra Brown

Alexandra Brown

  • DPhil in Economics


My name is Alexandra and I'm a first year DPhil Candidate in Economics, having just completed the MPhil in Economics at Lincoln College.

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia, where I worked as an economist at the RBA (Australia's central bank) for a couple of years before moving to Oxford. I chose to study at Oxford because it offers one of the best two-year Economics Master's programmes in the world. And then I stayed on for the DPhil because I wanted to push myself further academically, answer policy-relevant questions, improve my technical skills and because I've enjoyed my time here so much that I didn't want to leave.

In the Department of Economics I'm part of the Applied Microeconomics research group, which in my case involves analysing survey data to try to better understand the economic choices people make. I'm particularly interested in how young people respond to economic shocks. My MPhil thesis looked at how young people choosing to delay or give up buying a house because house prices are too high affects their consumption and saving behaviour, as well as their labour supply choices. I'm starting my DPhil by extending this work, and I'm also doing a side project on how Covid has affected housing demand and labour mobility.

While choosing to apply to Oxford was easy, choosing which college was much harder. Since I couldn’t visit the colleges, I put together a spreadsheet of all my options and did many hours of internet research to compare accommodation, graduate funding, age and history of the college, grandeur of buildings, endowment, popularity, reputation and location, and ultimately settled on Lincoln. In retrospect, I’m really happy with my choice. While some Oxford colleges are beautiful, old, and steeped in tradition, other colleges are friendly and supportive communities. Lincoln is one of the few colleges that genuinely has both - a history (and buildings) going back to the 1400s and plenty of eccentric traditions, as well as a welcoming and supportive community of staff and scholars. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to spend several years here.

Some advice I would give to prospective Lincoln graduates is that while you may think that because Oxford degrees are challenging you should spend all your time here in a library or research lab, that’s not quite true. Oxford also gives you so many opportunities to try activities you normally would never do and meet fascinating people from around the world. I tried rowing for the first time here and I now train with the Lincoln women's senior team most days, on Sundays I sing Evensong with the Balliol Chapel Choir, and I fill whatever space is left in my calendar by attending talks on anything from economics to history or philosophy. Last year I was also treasurer of the Lincoln Middle Common Room (the name for the graduate community), which runs lots of events for Lincolnites to meet each other and make friends. The challenge will be trying to fit everything in!