Doing Research in Economics

Several undergraduate research opportunities are available to ECON and MTEC majors.

Research Courses

The most widely-used approach is to take a course that involves a research project. Many of our 400-level courses include either a required or an optional research paper. In addition, the following four courses are designed to foster undergraduate research (consult the course catalog for additional details and pre-requisites):

  • ECON 399 Independent Research. Students taking this one-semester course will write a research paper on a topic of their choosing under the direct supervision of a faculty member. 
  • ECON 496 Research in Economic Theory. This is the capstone course for MTEC majors whose primary interest is economic theory. It involves review and analysis of seminal and current research in economic theory, including independent analysis by the student.
  • ECON 497 Research in Econometrics. This is the capstone course for MTEC majors whose primary interest is econometrics. It involves review and analysis of seminal and current research in econometrics, including independent analysis by the student.
  • ECON 498/499 Honors Program in Economics.  Students who take the two-semester honors sequence will, under the guidance of the course instructor and perhaps another faculty member specializing in the topic being addressed, conduct a research project in a workshop setting. Students will develop a research idea, construct an economic model with testable hypotheses, test those hypotheses, and write and present an academic quality research paper.

Research Assistants

Students are also sometimes hired as research assistants by individual faculty members. Such appointments are arranged on an individual basis. Students can consult with a faculty member whose research interests match their own. In addition, the department makes available to all faculty members a data base with the names and qualifications of students who have expressed an interest in being a research assistant; students who would like to have their names added to this list should consult with the department coordinator.

Student Research Awards

The Economics Department has several awards for student research. The Gaston V. Rimlinger Prize is awarded for the best research paper written by a graduating Economics (ECON) or Mathematical Economic Analysis (MTEC) major for any course offered by the department. The Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research is awarded for the best scholarly paper written by a graduating ECON or MTEC major in the Economics Honors Program (ECON 498/499). The Baker Institute Public Policy Essay Prize is awarded for the best scholarly paper on a public policy issue written by a graduating ECON or MTEC major for any Economics course. In addition, the Department sometimes awards Distinction in Research and Creative Works to students who have significantly contributed to the field of Economics by either developing a significant body of original research or by being materially involved in the research of a faculty member.

References

PDF icon Some Research and Writing Tips by Ben Jacobsen (University of Edinburgh and New Zealand Institute of Advance Study)

PDF icon A Dozen or More Ways to Avoid Getting Your Paper Rejected by Brian Lucey (Trinity College, Dublin, Institute for International Integration Studies, and University of Ljubljana)