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Economics Dissertation Topics

Published by Alvin Nicolas at January 11th, 2023 , Revised On October 5, 2023

The field of economics has changed entirely in recent times. Today, the field holds an extremely important place in every economy, with individual choices, spending, borrowing, production, occupations, markets, trading, employment, and a lot more being predicted and planned by economists.

Today, economists view economics from a modern and slightly different perspective than traditional economics. Different approaches in economics include perspectives like anthropology, sociology, geography, and various institutions.

Studying economics involving these perspectives provides a clearer view of the issues and problems related to the modern economic world. In contrast, focusing on the traditional economic approaches while selecting a topic will result in vague outcomes according to modern economics.

The most difficult task with respect to economics dissertations involves the  collection of data . Mostly the data required by the researcher must be in quantitative form. However, once data is collected, the researcher can focus on performing the analysis.

There are a number of economic perspectives that can be studied in detail. As your final project, you will want to select the most recent and relevant economics topic for your dissertation.

To help you get started with brainstorming for economics topic ideas, we have developed a list of the latest topics that can be used for writing your economics dissertation.

These topics have been developed by PhD-qualified writers of our team , so you can trust to use these topics for drafting your dissertation.

You may also want to start your dissertation by requesting  a brief research proposal  from our writers on any of these topics, which includes an  introduction  to the problem,  research question , aim and objectives,  literature review  along with the proposed  methodology  of research to be conducted.  Let us know  if you need any help in getting started.

Check our  example dissertations to get an idea of  how to structure your dissertation .

You can review step by step guide on how to write your dissertation.

Check our  example dissertation to get an idea of  how to structure your dissertation .

2022 Economics Dissertation Topics

Topic 1: the influence of price and brand on consumer preference during an economic recession: a case of the clothing market in greece.

Research Aim: The research will aim to examine the impact of prices and brands on consumer buying behaviour during an economic recession in Greece’s clothing market. During an economic crisis, not all types of products suffer the same consequences. During a recession, people are more sensible in their buying decisions, and they frequently continue to choose known product brands that meet their demands. The study will look at the impact of the recession on consumer purchasing preferences, taking into account variations in spending on various apparel brands based on price.

Topic 2: The financial and non-financial support of the family members in the growth of a successful entrepreneurship

Research Aim: The research will aim to investigate the importance of financial and non-financial support of family members in the growth of successful entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a driving force in economic growth, social transformation, and organizational change. Private businesses (entrepreneurship) not only support a state’s social and economic growth but it also develops intellectual competition and innovation. Family members who are involved in business ventures can influence individuals’ goals to start new businesses, and they can also be considered as a means of economic and motivational strength.

Topic 3: The impact of transaction cost on economic development

Research Aim: The research will aim to explore the impact of transaction cost on the economic development of a country. The study will try to find the impact by using different methods and analyses. This article will investigate the difficulties of economic growth as they relate to transaction costs and how the latter produce various sorts of market failures. The study also explores several major contributions to the field of economic development, including market failure and growth barriers. Alternative perspectives on the failure of government and the market-government duality will also be examined.

Topic 4: What effect does oil price fluctuation have on business activity in oil-importing and exporting states?

Research Aim: The research will aim to find the influence of oil rate fluctuation on businesses of oil-importing and exporting countries. Change has a significant influence on the production costs of oil-importing countries and changes in pricing levels changes. At the same time, oil price variations have a significant impact on energy export profits and government budget revenues in energy-exporting economies.

Topic 5: The impact of gender inequality on work productivity and economic growth: A case study on developing countries

Research Aim: The research will aim to find the impact of gender inequality on work productivity and economic growth in developing countries. Gender inequality is not solely a concern in developing countries. Males earn more than women in practically every society. Differences in health, education, and negotiating power within marriage, on the other hand, tend to be bigger in countries with low Per capita income. Gender inequality in the office contributes to females’ lower socio-economic standing. Furthermore, such gender inequality may be associated with human resource rules and human resource related decision-making.

Topic 6: Research to identify the impacts of Coronavirus on the economy

Research Aim: This study will focus on identifying the impacts of coronavirus on the global economy.

Topic 7: Research to study the impacts of Coronavirus on the real estate sector

Research Aim: This research aims at identifying the impacts of coronavirus on the real estate sector. Is real estate a better option for investment during COVID-19?

Topic 8: Research to study the impacts of Coronavirus on the stock market

Research Aim: This research aims at identifying the impacts of coronavirus on the stock market.

Topic 9: Research to identify the impacts of Coronavirus on banking and the future of banking after the pandemic

Research Aim: This research aims at identifying the impacts of coronavirus on banking and the future of banking after the pandemic. What are the predictions? What challenges may come across? How to overcome those challenges?

Dissertation Topics on Economics 2021

Topic 1: economic expansion in bioenergy: a case study.

Research Aim: This research aims to conduct a case study on the economic expansion in bioenergy

Topic 2: Factors responsible for job creation and job destruction in the UK

Research Aim: This research aims to identify the factors responsible for job creation and job destruction in the UK.

Topic 3: Impacts of wars on the economy of both nations

Research Aim: This research aims to address how do wars impact the economy of both nations?

Topic 4: The role of banks in the economy of a country

Research Aim:  This research aims to highlight the role of Banks in the economy of a country. Students can choose any country to conduct the study.

Topic 5: Is an unhealthy country considered an emerging country?

Research Aim:  This research will answer the question: Is an unhealthy country considered a poor country?

Dissertation Topics Related to Economic Geography

Economic geography studies human economic activities with respect to various conditions such as location, distribution, production, consumption, exchange of resources, etc. Thus, studying the availability of all these resources, their development, and utilization is the main subject matter of economic geography.

In addition to studying these resources and their relationship with human economic activities, economic geography also helps study the interaction of these resources and variables with respect to nature and economic activities.

Economic geography is studied within different regions and localities in order to assess various human economic activities. Here are some economic geography dissertation topics to help you explore this field.

Topic 1: Role of local ethics and culture in shaping entrepreneurial economic development in various businesses.

Research Aim: This study will talk about the role of culture and ethics in shaping economic entrepreneurial attitudes in different fields of business.

Topic 2: Diversity in entrepreneurial approaches brought up by emigrants in the economics of a place: A critical analysis

Research Aim: This research will discuss whether entrepreneurial approaches be exported when emigrants move to a new place.

Topic 3: Assessing factors involved in facilitating knowledge transfer in a specific locality or place

Research Aim: This research will understand the various factors that play a role in transferring knowledge from one place or locality to another.

Topic 4: Economic opportunities provided within local boundaries. A case study of any specific area

Research Aim: This study will talk about the economic opportunities provided by local boundaries. This dissertation can be customised according to an area/region of your choice.

Topic 5: To discuss the role of the “European regional policy” in shaping or modifying places in the UK

Research Aim: This study will talk about the role of European regional policy in shaping and modifying UK places.

Topic 6: Location of top IT firms in the UK, the role of location on economics linked to a particular firm

Research Aim: This study will assess the economic geography of top IT firms in the UK that are linked to different firms.

Topic 7: Causes of regional diversity. Analysis and comparison between the richest and poorest places of the UK

Research Aim: This will be a comparative study between the richest and poorest places in the UK based on regional diversity.

Topic 8: Economics and expansion in bioenergy: A Case Study

Research Aim: This study will talk about economics and expansion in bioenergy, and a specific case will be under analysis.

Topic 9: Economic modifications faced by emigrants, causes and impacts

Research Aim: This research will talk about the various economic modifications that emigrants have to face and will also assess its causes and impacts.

Topic 16: A critical analysis of diversity in entrepreneurial attitudes in rural and urban areas

Research Aim: This will be a critical study that will assess diversity in entrepreneurial attitudes in both rural and urban areas.

How Can ResearchProspect Help?

ResearchProspect writers can send several custom topic ideas to your email address. Once you have chosen a topic that suits your needs and interests, you can order for our dissertation outline service which will include a brief introduction to the topic, research questions , literature review , methodology , expected results , and conclusion . The dissertation outline will enable you to review the quality of our work before placing the order for our full dissertation writing service!

Dissertation Topics on Microeconomics

This branch of economics deals with economic perspectives on an individual level. It takes into account the allocation of various resources that are limited in nature. Different theories of microeconomics can be applied to markets where different products are bought and sold out.

In order to complete your graduation program, you will have to select the right economics topic that not only interests you but is relevant in today’s world. The suggested topics for you to choose from are listed below:

Topic 1: Difference in consumer attitudes in the UK over the past 15 years – Critical analysis of customer behaviour trends.

Research Aim: This research will compare the consumer attitude in the UK over the past 15 years and will study the trends.

Topic 2: Understanding to what extent does the concept of oligopoly exists in markets of the UK – A critical analysis

Research Aim: This study will first talk about oligopoly, and will then build and critically discuss how this concept exists in the UK market.

Topic 3: Laws and their impact on British firms.

Research Aim: This study will talk about the various laws in the UK that have an impact on various industries as a whole.

Topic 4: “European regional policy” and its effects on British small and medium enterprises

Research Aim: This research will study the European regional policy and the impacts this has on SMEs in the UK.

Topic 5: To discuss specific traits of the UK innovation organisation

Research Aim:  This research will understand the various traits of UK organisations that innovate.

Topic 6: Study of the characteristics of the energy market in the UK – A microeconomic approach

Research Aim: This study will undertake a microeconomic approach in order to understand the characteristics of the energy market in the UK.

Topic 7: Common traits of the top internet technology firms in the US – Analysis of the approaches adopted by different successful technology firms

Research Aim: This research will talk about the various traits of leading internet firms in the US and will analyse their different approaches

Topic 8: How is the concept of “economic convergence” linked to salary levels in the United States? – A critical analysis

Research Aim: This study will critically discuss economic convergence and how it is linked to salary levels in the US.

Topic 9: A Discussion on the use and role of various “pricing models” in making investment decisions.

Research Aim: This research will analyze the various pricing models that companies use to make decisions with respect to their investment.

Topic 10: Analysing salary inequalities in the United States and the forces behind such inequalities? – A Critical analysis

Research Aim: This study will talk about an important issue, i.e., salary inequalities in the US, and will also discuss the various forces that drive such inequalities.

Dissertation Topics on Employment Economics

Employment is a very important aspect that is studied in economics. Employment is interconnected with other academic subjects as well and affects people’s finances, which further determines their type of relationship with their environment or society.

Moreover, with the passage of time, technological advancements in various fields have impacted the labor market, which directly influenced the employment rate.  Dissertation topics  related to the field of employment economics are listed as under:

Topic 1: Factors responsible for the job creation and job destruction in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will talk about the different factors that are responsible for job creation and destruction in the United Kingdom.

Topic 2: Analysing to what extent the concept of self-employment prevails in the United Kingdom – Discuss the factors that determine it

Research Aim: This research will determine the extent to which the concept of self-employment prevails in the UK. Furthermore, the factors determining self-employment will also be explored.

Topic 3: Link between minimum wages and British employment. A critical analysis

Research Aim: This study will critically analyze the link between wages minimum wages and employment in Britain.

Topic 4: Understanding In what ways technological advancements have paved the way for a rise in British employment levels

Research Aim: This research will talk about the various ways through which technological advancements have helped increase employment in the British economy.

Topic 5: Exploring the value of labour in the United Kingdom– Skilled or unskilled labour? A Critical Analysis

Research Aim: This study will talk about the value of both types of labour, skilled and unskilled, in the UK. A critical analysis will be conducted as to which type of labour is more in demand in the economic system.

Topic 6: Analysing the levels and prevalence of self-employment in various parts of Europe. An Analysis of the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will discuss and analyse the levels and prevalence of self-employment in various parts across Europe. Special attention will be given to the UK in the study to understand the self-employment system.

Topic 7: In what ways does immigration affects British employment levels and productivity? Discuss

Research Aim: This research will talk about the various ways through which immigration affects British employment levels and productivity.

Topic 8: How can professional training impact British employment? Discuss

Research Aim: This study will talk about the impact of professional training on employment in the UK. The research will discuss if the impact was negative or positive.

Topic 9: Analysing the impact of gender inequality in employment on economic growth in the UK

Research Aim: This research will analyse the impact of gender inequality in employment on economic growth in the UK.

Topic 10: Economic productivity and Innovation – Are they both related? A study of the UK services industry

Research Aim: This research will help understand the relationship (if any) between economic productivity and innovation. The UK Services industry will be analyzed.

Dissertation Topics on Economic Sociology

This field refers to the study of sociological aspects from an economic perspective. Social networks are also one of the more important features in the economic world because they can contribute greatly to promoting a particular brand.

Different social gatherings are a source to highlight a particular industry, firm, and even a private setup. They can contribute greatly to building successful businesses. Following are some economic sociology dissertation topics for you to choose from:

Topic 1: Exploring Innovation Activities for the promotion of a particular firm/industry/brand

Research Aim: This research will talk about all the innovative activities that take place while promoting a brand or a company in an industry. This topic can be customised according to a brand/company of your choosing.

Topic 2: Understanding the role of families in funding a particular firm

Research Aim: This research will talk about the family funding of businesses, the whole process and how it takes place. You can choose an industry of your choice to base your dissertation on.

Topic 3: Can a blend of different cultures contribute to increasing the level of productivity? Evidence from a UK firm

Research Aim : This research will discuss how various cultures contribute to increasing productivity levels. A UK firm will be chosen for this research.

Topic 4: Social capital plays its role in the rural areas in the UK – A critical analysis

Research Aim: This research will talk about social capital and its role in the rural areas of the UK.

Topic 5: Youth as one of the biggest supports in the promotion of economic agents

Research Aim: This research will help understand the relationship (if any) between economic productivity and innovation. The UK services industry will be analysed.

Topic 6: Exploring the role of university networks in shaping entrepreneurial behaviours and actions

Research Aim: This study will help explore the role of university networks in shaping entrepreneurial actions and behaviours.

Topic 43: Role of social entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This study will talk about the role of social entrepreneurship in the UK and how it has emerged.

Topic 8: Diverse culture and productivity enhancement – How are the two related?

Research Aim: This study will talk about whether diverse culture has an impact on productivity enhancement in the UK or not.

Topic 9: Exploring the Impact of social networks on the success of Brands

Research Aim: This study will talk about the impact of social networks on the success of brands and how they impact businesses. You can choose a brand for this dissertation.

Topic 10: Understanding the ‘peer’ factor in setting up businesses

Research Aim: Setting up a business involves various factors, and an essential one is a support from peers. This research will explore this aspect of support when starting a business and the impact it has.

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Dissertation Topics on Institutional Economics

Institutional economics helps in understanding the role of institutions in shaping economic behaviour. Certain institutions promote certain values, beliefs and norms, and they impact the public in a certain way.

These institutions can affect the economics of a certain region and help shape economic life and behaviour. Institutional economics is still an emerging field. Following are some institutional economics dissertation topics that you can base your dissertation on.

Topic 1: Assessing the factors behind the power of a successful firm. How is it built?

Research Aim: This research will discuss the various factors that help companies build power in the industry and impact the economy.

Topic 2: Analysing the impact of cultural mix on the organisation of firms in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This study will analyse the impact of diverse cultures on organisations in the UK.

Topic 3: Evaluating the role of bureaucracy in the productivity levels of the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will help in evaluating the role of bureaucracy on productivity levels in the UK.

Topic 4: Understanding various methods to ensure economic efficiency in the property markets of the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This study will understand the different ways through which economic efficiency is ensured in the UK property markets.

Topic 5: Impacts of transaction costs on economic development?

Research Aim: This research will evaluate how economic development is impacted by transaction costs.

Topic 6: Analysing the major forces operating behind the concept of control and ownership in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This study will help analyse the major forces that control and own institutions in the UK and how they impact the economy.

Topic 7: Traits of British managers and investors. A Comparative analysis

Research Aim: This will be an interesting study as it will talk about the various traits of British managers and investors.

Topic 8: Role of educational aspects in entrepreneurship

Research Aim: This research will explore the role of education concerning entrepreneurship, i.e. how does education help build entrepreneurs, which in turn benefits the economy.

Topic 9: The concept of latent entrepreneurship – A comparison between the United Kingdom and Europe

Research Aim: This study will understand the concept of latent entrepreneurship by comparing the UK environment with that of Europe.

Topic 10: Is the profit of a firm dependent on its size? Evidence from the manufacturing firms in the UK

Research Aim: This research will help in understanding whether the profit of a company is dependent on the business’ size or not. The UK Manufacturing industry will be explored.

Dissertation Topics on Environmental Economics

Environment and economics share a unique and close relationship. The environment can affect economics in a good or bad way. There are various environmental economic issues that should be addressed. Following are some of the pressing issues pertaining to environmental economics that you can choose as your dissertation topic.

Topic 1: To what extent is the environment responsible for shaping business behaviours? A critical analysis

Research Aim: This research will talk about the extent to which the environment is responsible for building business behaviours.

Topic 2: Economics in relation to biodiversity and nature conservation. An evidence-based study

Research Aim: This research will discuss economics in relation to biodiversity and nature conservation.

Topic 3: Assessing the role of NGO’s and organizations to promote a healthy environment through fundraising programs

Research Aim: This research will help in assessing the role of NGOs and organisations in promoting healthy environments through various fundraising programs.

Topic 4: Willingness to pay for various recycling programs – A case study of the United Kingdom.

Research Aim : This research will help understand the different recycling programs by evaluating a UK-based case study.

Topic 5: Incentives regarding land and water management – A case study of the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will talk about various incentives relating to land and water management. A UK-based case study will be chosen.

Topic 6: Economic value of historical places: A critical analysis

Research Aim: This research will talk about the economic value of historical places and will present a critical analysis.

Topic 7: In which field is it cheapest to reduce or cut carbon emissions? Discuss.

Research Aim: This research will talk about the impacts of carbon emissions and will discuss in which field it will be cheapest to reduce or eliminate such emissions.

Topic 8: Ethanol production from an economic perspective. Discuss.

Research Aim: This research will help in exploring ethanol production with respect to economics.

Topic 9: Environmental improvements in regards to locational differences in communities Discuss in an economic approach

Research Aim: This research will present various environmental improvements with respect to locational differences in communities.

Topic 10: Climate change in relation to economics. Discuss

Research Aim: This research will talk about an important issue, i.e. climate change and the impact it has on economics.

Dissertation Topics on Regional Development

Economic growth can also be studied at a regional level. This field considers economic perspectives on a smaller level with a focus on trade between regions. Suggestions for dissertation topics in this field are listed as follows:

Topic 1: Evaluating the link between profit and regional development?

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the link between profit and regional development with respect to economics.

Topic 2: Assessing the “regional development policy” in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This study will talk about the regional development policy in the UK.

Topic 3: Discussing the role of learning or knowledge gaining involved in regional development?

Research Aim: This research will explore the role of knowledge and learning that helps promote regional development.

Topic 4: Assessing the existence of location theories that contribute towards the development and understanding of regional development

Research Aim: This research will assess the existence of locational theories that help contribute towards the development and understanding of regional development.

Topic 5: Evaluating the role that technology plays in regional development? A UK case study

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the role that technology plays in promoting regional development.

Topic 6: Exploring entrepreneurship and its regional aspects in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will help explore entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship network with respect to regional development in the UK.

Topic 7: Role of Institutional setups in regional development

Research Aim: This study will talk about the role of institutional setups in regional development.

Topic 8: Assessing the relationship between unemployment and entrepreneurship in the light of evidence from British relationship

Research Aim: This research will assess the relationship between unemployment and entrepreneurship in the UK.

Find 100s of dissertation topics for other research areas.

Topic 9: In what ways the UK and the European firms are different in terms of innovation – A critical analysis

Research Aim: This research will help in understanding the various ways in which the UK and European firms are different with respect to innovation.

Topic 10: Assessing the role of regional co-operation in developing sustainable advantage

Research Aim: This research will help in assessing the role of regional cooperation in developing sustainable advantage amongst regions

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Important Notes

As a student of economics looking to get good grades, it is essential to develop new ideas and experiment on existing economics theories – i.e., to add value and interest in your research topic.

The field of economics is vast and interrelated to so many other academic disciplines like civil engineering ,  construction ,  law , engineering management , healthcare , mental health , artificial intelligence , tourism , physiotherapy , sociology , management , marketing and nursing . That is why it is imperative to create a project management dissertation topic that is articular, sound, and actually solves a practical problem that may be rampant in the field.

We can’t stress how important it is to develop a logical research topic; it is the basis of your entire research. There are several significant downfalls to getting your topic wrong; your supervisor may not be interested in working on it, the topic has no academic creditability, the research may not make logical sense, there is a possibility that the study is not viable.

This impacts your time and efforts in  writing your dissertation  as you may end up in the cycle of rejection at the very initial stage of the dissertation. That is why we recommend reviewing existing research to develop a topic, taking advice from your supervisor, and even asking for help in this particular stage of your dissertation.

Keeping our advice in mind while developing a research topic will allow you to pick one of the best economics dissertation topics that not only fulfil your requirement of writing a research paper but also adds to the body of knowledge.

Therefore, it is recommended that when finalizing your dissertation topic, you read recently published literature to identify gaps in the research that you may help fill.

Remember- dissertation topics need to be unique, solve an identified problem, be logical, and can also be practically implemented. Take a look at some of our sample economics dissertation topics to get an idea for your own dissertation.

How to Structure your Economics Dissertation

A well-structured dissertation can help students to achieve a high overall academic grade.

  • A Title Page
  • Acknowledgments
  • Declaration
  • Abstract: A summary of the research completed
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction : This chapter includes the project rationale, research background, key research aims and objectives, and the research problems to be addressed. An outline of the structure of a dissertation  can also be added to this chapter.
  • Literature Review :  This chapter presents relevant theories and frameworks by analysing published and unpublished literature available on the chosen research topic, in light of  research questions  to be addressed. The purpose is to highlight and discuss the relative weaknesses and strengths of the selected research area while identifying any research gaps. Break down of the topic, and key terms can have a positive impact on your dissertation and your tutor.
  • Methodology:  The  data collection  and  analysis  methods and techniques employed by the researcher are presented in the Methodology chapter which usually includes  research design, research philosophy, research limitations, code of conduct, ethical consideration, data collection methods, and  data analysis strategy .
  • Findings and Analysis:  Findings of the research are analysed in detail under the Findings and Analysis chapter. All key findings/results are outlined in this chapter without interpreting the data or drawing any conclusions. It can be useful to include  graphs ,  charts, and  tables in this chapter to identify meaningful trends and relationships.
  • Discussion  and  Conclusion: The researcher presents his interpretation of results in this chapter, and states whether the research hypothesis has been verified or not. An essential aspect of this section is to establish the link between the results and evidence from the literature. Recommendations with regards to implications of the findings and directions for the future may also be provided. Finally, a summary of the overall research, along with final judgments, opinions, and comments, must be included in the form of suggestions for improvement.
  • References:  Make sure to complete this in accordance with your University’s requirements
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices:  Any additional information, diagrams, graphs that were used to  complete the dissertation  but not part of the dissertation should be included in the Appendices chapter. Essentially, the purpose is to expand the information/data.

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How to find economics dissertation topics.

For economics dissertation topics:

  • Follow economic news and debates.
  • Study emerging areas like behavioral economics.
  • Analyze policy gaps or challenges.
  • Review economic theories and their applications.
  • Explore data-driven research opportunities.
  • Seek topics aligning with your passion and career aspirations.

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Property, land, buildings, air rights, underground rights, and underground rights are examples of real estate. Academics recognize the importance of real estate as a driver of the economy. This field will be encountered by college and university students studying business-related courses.

If you are writing a research paper on criminal psychology, you can discuss any relevant topic. Do psychopaths have an innate or developed nature? Is there a way to help criminals get better?

Are you looking for trending online marketing dissertation topics to work on your dissertation? Check out our list of unique topic ideas.



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Top 50 Economic Topics For Your Research Paper Or Thesis

economic topics

Choosing the best economics research topics is a major challenge for most learners pursuing economics studies. Economics entails the study of how humans use scarce resources in the production of valuables. Learners pursuing economics programs analyze how valuables are eventually distributed among society members after production.

Before learners are given economics research paper assignments, they are taught many elements that affect the economy. This enables them to understand real-life economies, as well as, daily expenditures and expenses. Such elements include medicine, politics, race, trade, unemployment, poverty, religion, and war among others.

As such, economics research topics for undergraduates should show their understanding of these issues and how they affect the economy. But, many learners have difficulties understanding different aspects of economics research. This makes choosing topics for their papers and essays difficult.

Tricks for Choosing the Best Economics Research Topics

Choosing research paper topics in economics is undoubtedly not easy for most students. That’s because a learner should choose a narrow topic so that they can delve deeper in analyzing and discussing it in their paper. But, if the topic is too narrow, it can be limiting. And, if it is too broad, the learner might not cover it exhaustively.

However, learners can still select the best economics research paper topics by following these guidelines:

Understand the subject matter and figure out whether the topic’s context is within your study field and writing ability. Select a topic that you find interesting and suitable for your understanding. Evaluate the scope of the topic to ensure that you can find the necessary information to write a comprehensive paper or essay about it. Consider the instructions provided by the instructor or professor in terms of topic selection

Before you start the actual writing of a paper or essay, brainstorm for ideas around several topics. That means you can have an economics research topics list from which to choose what to write about. Topics in this study field can be classified into different categories as follows.

Undergraduates Economics Topics for Research

Many students panic when asked to write undergraduate papers and essays. That’s because they don’t know how to choose the best economics topics for research paper. If you’re among students that are troubled by the thought of choosing a topic, here are examples presetned by our academic writers that you can choose from.

  • What you should know about fiscal policy
  • Describe the three opportunity costs
  • How do banks set the exchange rate?
  • How can profit maximization be achieved?
  • Explain the major ethical rules in an economy
  • How to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on your preferred action
  • Explain why some resources are rare
  • What does economic forecasting entail?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of privatization
  • How are the economies of both sides of a conflict affected by war?

These are great topics for economics research paper for undergraduate students. However, they still require in-depth research to come up with a coherent and comprehensive document.

Health Economics Research Topics

The health of citizens influences the economy of a country, though this might be unclear to some learners at first. Health research topics for economics lead to the production of papers and essays that are quite interesting to read. Here are sample topics in this category. You can also check our nursing research topics .

  • How is the economy affected by a smoking ban?
  • Is the world hunger affected by economics?
  • How does perfect competition work in the pharmaceuticals world?
  • How is free healthcare justified in the U.S?
  • How do chronic diseases affect the workforce and the economy?
  • Is health insurance important?
  • How an unhealthy country translates into a poor country
  • How can public hospitals optimize their revenue collection?
  • How does an infectious disease outbreak affect the economy?
  • The economics of the pharmaceutical industry

Interesting Behavioral Economics Research Topics

Some learners might not know about it but behavioral economics exists. And, some topics in this category are quite interesting to write about. Here are examples of topics that students in different study levels can write about in this category.

  • Does money make most people happy?
  • Why financial wellbeing makes most people happy
  • What does the economy of trust mean?
  • How can Uber be described as an aspect of the economy of trust?
  • How does the brain change when a person is striking a great deal?
  • Useful human insights that are missing in big data and how this affects the economy
  • Per household economic analysis explained
  • The buying capacity and gender
  • How race relates to economic power
  • Impact of economic stability on the social life of a person

Microeconomics Topics

Microeconomics studies revolve around trade between people. It’s trading at an individual level. This covers the basics of demand and supply. This is the category where some learners find simple research topics in economics. Here are examples of topics in this category.

  • Understanding the competition and market concepts
  • Inflation sources and consequences explained
  • Explaining how competition influences the price
  • Explaining the balance between supply and demand in microeconomics
  • Opportunity costs explained from a microeconomics perspective
  • Explaining production costs and profit
  • How a stock market operates
  • Perfect competition in microeconomics
  • How unemployment affects microeconomics
  • Aggregate demand and supply in microeconomics

Cool Environmental Economics Research Topics

The environment has more effects on an economy more than most people think. Ocean pollution can global warming are some of the environmental changes that affect the economy seriously. Here are some of the economics research topics for students to explore in this category.

  • Cost-benefit analysis of the regulation of the environment
  • Why it’s important to analyze the economics of clean drinking water
  • Evolution of economics institution concerning climate change
  • How greenhouses affect economic growth
  • How global warming affects economic growth
  • Detailed analysis of the European Union Emission Trading System
  • Is waste management a rare resource?
  • How technological advancement leads to economic growth
  • Explain the energy markets’ economic potential
  • How wildlife protection affects the economy

Students at different study levels have many research topics in economics to choose from. However, the research topic in economics that a learner chooses should be suitable for them based on their interests and academic goals. That’s because some topics are cumbersome to write about. They also require extensive knowledge and familiarity with different economic concepts to come up with a comprehensive document. Thus, they are ideal for students that are pursuing advanced studies. Nevertheless, every topic highlighted here requires in-depth economics research to come up with a concrete paper or essay.

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what is a economic thesis topic

How To Pick A Topic For Your Economics Research Project Or Master's Thesis

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One of the biggest and most exciting challenges of a young academic's career is coming up with that first economics research topic. Knowing how much is riding on the decision, it can also be pretty stressful. With so much to consider, we thought it would be easier to break the decision-making process down into some key points. Consideration of each will give you the best chance possible to make sure the topic of your economics Master's thesis is the right one - both for you personally and for your future career.

Without further ado, read on for our advice on how to pick a topic for your economics thesis.

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How to pick your economics master's thesis

1. Make sure it's something you're interested in

This sounds obvious, but you should make sure that the project you choose is of interest to you. If you're going to be working on a project for months or even longer, then it has to be something which you are engaged with.

The best way to keep engaged is to pose a question for your project to which you want to know the answer. Think back over the lectures you've attended and the books you've read, and consider what issues you enjoyed discussing and thinking about. If there was ever a topic which you came across and enjoyed studying, but didn't have the time or resources to investigate more, this is your chance to dive deep and become an expert.

2. Get inspired by previous students' projects

If you're unsure where to start, or don't know what sort of project would be appropriate for your course, it's a great idea to look at previous students' projects. In most universities you'll be able to access previous student theses in the library, so you should take advantage of this resource.

While you should never copy someone else's idea, you can use it as inspiration. For example, perhaps someone has done a project on the economic implications of an international policy within a certain country. Your project could look at the implications of that same policy in a different country. Or you could look at a similar policy in a different period of history.

Additionally, many alumni will still have links with your university, so it may be possible to get in contact with them directly. If someone has written about a topic you are interested in, do not hesitate to request a meet up to pick their brains. Most academics relish the opportunity to discuss their own research, so there is no reason to be shy. In any case, it is always fascinating meeting those more experienced than yourself who have remained in the field.

3. Ask your lecturers or supervisor for advice

Once you have one or more ideas about thesis topics, you'll want to ask for advice from people who have experience in assessing projects. You don't want to do a lot of work on a project idea, only to hear much later that your supervisor thinks your topic is not a good choice.

Do some basic preparation before meeting with a supervisor or lecturer. Make sure you understand the basic facts of the topic area in which you're interested, and that you have some ideas about what your research question will be and what methods you'll use to study it.

Further, make sure that you get feedback on your idea early in the process. This advice extends to the rest of the research project too. It is your supervisor's job to guide you, so keep in regular contact with them throughout the course of your research.

4. Pick something original, but not too obscure

It’s common to struggle to come up with new economics research topic ideas, but you don't want to do the same project which has been done by a million students before. Not only will this be uninteresting to you, but it will be uninteresting to the person marking your thesis.

Try to come up with a novel approach or a new topic to study. Perhaps there is a new type of data analysis you could use to study an old problem from a new angle. Perhaps new data has been made available, and an older study could be challenged or reaffirmed by studying the new data.

However, be wary of anything too obscure – you don't want to be stuck with no materials or resources to work from. To reiterate the above, definitely run your more ambitious topic ideas by your supervisor to help avoid the pitfall of going too niche and really falling down the rabbit hole.

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5. Choose a small and specific topic

One general tip when coming up with a project or research question is to think smaller. If you don't know a lot about a topic, you won't yet appreciate all the subtleties and complexities it contains. You might think that you can produce a great project on the impact of the introduction of the Euro in Ireland, for example, but this topic is way too broad to cover in a Master's project.

Choosing a topic that is far too broad like the above example is a common mistake that new students make when they are unfamiliar with academic research. Get more specific, and your project will not only be more manageable, but you will actually get to the crux of something.

It may seem counterintuitive, or scary - it can seem impossible to write 50 or more pages about an obscure question. But, it’s much better for your final evaluation to maintain a small scope and conduct very high-quality research about that small topic, rather than attempt to explain a large phenomenon alone and fill up an entire paper with surface-level analysis.

6. Consider an interdisciplinary topic

If you're thinking of economics Master's thesis ideas but find yourself interested in another academic subject, you may have the opportunity to learn about that field as a part of your research project. You could consider a project which touches on a subject like history, sociology, business, politics, or psychology, for example.

The advantage of this is that you can try out learning information and methods from another field to see if studying it further would interest you. It will also help you to create a unique and memorable project, as most of your fellow students will likely study a topic which is based purely in economics.

However, this might also make your project a little harder, as you will have more new information to grasp than others – but it can also be very rewarding for ambitious and engaged students. If you wish to take this route, strongly consider finding a secondary supervisor within the interdisciplinary field who can guide you along with your more economics-focused supervisor. This can even be beneficial for your career, as you become well-versed in a niche set of skills that employers or PhD programs would find attractive.

what is a economic thesis topic

7. Check for available data

If you’re doing an empirical project, the success or failure of your thesis may very well come down to data availability. It’s very important to have an idea of what data to use for your study before you commit to a topic. If you have the world’s greatest research idea, but the data to study it just isn’t available, you’re out of luck.

To avoid this heartbreaking situation, search for usable data as early in the process as possible. This search can even help you narrow down your topic area of focus, and pick a specific, small-scope research question within your field of interest.

Perhaps you’re interested in the effect of malaria prevention programs on children’s economic outcomes in the future, but panel studies haven’t yet been completed in your region of interest. If you search for data, you might find a completed panel dataset that studied a similar disease, or one that studied malaria in a different country. These types of searches can help you pick a related, doable, and properly-scoped research question without wasting time racing towards a dead end.

8. Meticulously plan your experiment

Of course, if you’re running an experiment, you can create your own dataset. This situation presents its own, equally important challenges.

A poorly designed experiment can render your data biased or unusable even after months of work. To avoid this type of catastrophe, spend as much time as you can designing the experiment, checking over all your assumptions meticulously, and seeking feedback and approval from your supervisor to ensure that the experiment is designed well.

Studying examples of experimental designs that led to published studies in prominent journals is highly recommended. Modeling your experiment on successful ones in the past is a great way to ensure your experiment runs smoothly.

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Economics students may often wonder if doing a PhD is the right move for them. After all, you can still get a good job in economics with just a Master’s degree. We’ve covered different angles of this topic before with helpful advice about what degree you’ll need as an economist, asking whether you should do a PhD, and even asking what kinds of economists are paid the most. Thanks to INOMICS Salary Report 2023 data, we can look more closely at the pay benefit for an economics PhD in today’s job market. This will help you decide if doing an economics PhD will be worth it for your own career.

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Economics Dissertation Topics: 25+ Examples You Can Explore

Author Image

by  Antony W

July 11, 2022

Economics dissertation topics

If you’re looking for some economics dissertation topics to help you brainstorm your topic idea, this guide is for you.

Popularized by the likes of Adam Smith as far back as 1770, Economics is a subject that deals with making the right decisions in the face of uncertainty and scarcity.

As much as it dates back to the medieval scholastics, economics still focuses largely on human choices, borrowing habits, markets and trade, assets’ pricing, human behavior in relation to economic decisions, taxes, and consumption.

Existing literature on economics attempt to give the best possible explanations to problems human beings face. Still, there’s need for more research in this field because new areas continue to emerge in economics, especially since technology continues to advance enhance transformation and increase the rate of globalization.

Given how wide this field is, there are dozens of economic dissertation topics that you can choose to explore in your research project. This guide is a list of some of the topic ideas that you might want to consider for the project.

25+ List of Economic Dissertation Topics

Economics is a wide field with different areas of exploration. This guide looks at some of the areas economics, each with a few examples of dissertation topics that you can investigate.

Dissertation Topics on Regional Development

Your focus on regional development is to study regions as small economies with the aim of understanding their circumstances and outcomes. You’ll examine how internal regional economies operate and evaluate how they relate to other regions.

Some interesting topics that you can investigate in your dissertation in this area are as follows:

  • Business development and profitability in the region What are the underlying variables in this relationship?
  • Natural resource comparative advantage and regional development
  • There are differences in the forms and levels of entrepreneurship and unemployment across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
  • The impact of regional policy on start-ups on regional development: more new enterprises or better existing ones?
  • Entrepreneurial networks’ contribution to regional development.

Also Check: Custom Economics Dissertation Writing Help

Dissertation Topic Ideas on Economic Sociology

Examine the sociological aspects that affect economic indicators and explain how they relate with the social outcome.

Some great topics that you might want to consider for your dissertation project if you choose to focus on this area include:

  • The function of social networks in facilitating innovation in mature sectors.
  • How can universities take advantage of social networks to induce entrepreneurial action among their students?
  • Exploring the disparities between trust and power in local productive systems.
  • Is there a straight line between economic and social development?
  • In the United Kingdom, traditional industry development is fueled by social contracts and peer pressure.
  • Family support, both financial and non-financial, in the development of successful entrepreneurship.
  • The convergence of economic systems as a result of globalization and its implications for social development in developed, emerging, and developing economies.

Related: Technology Dissertation Topics

Economic Geography Topics for Dissertation Project

This area focuses on economical outcome in relation to geographical location. You’ll evaluate patterns and trends in activities and human behavior to explain what shapes the cultural and economic landscapes.

Here are some topic ideas to consider if you want to write a dissertation project in this area:

  • The influence of local and regional cultures on entrepreneurship and economic growth.
  • Is there a link between established enterprises that dominate small towns and local cultural factors?
  • The likelihood impact of Brexit on policy outcomes that shape the local economy in UK cities.
  • The economic geography of recession. Difference between regional and city economics in the UK.
  • Understanding educational progression at the local level: A comparison of cities in the UK’s north and south.
  • How COVID has influenced house price volatility in various UK cities.

Institutional Economics Dissertation Topics

This area deals with social entities linked to production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Given that this is a broad area, you might have to study related disciplines such as psychology, economic history, management and business studies cognitive and brain science, and behavioral economics and finance. 

  • Here are some dissertation topic ideas that you should consider:
  • How can transaction costs economics account for inter-firm collaboration?
  • Economic freedom institutions and policies have different effects on income and growth.
  • How does the cultural mix affect the organization of enterprises in the United Kingdom?

Also Check: Social Work Dissertation Topics

Dissertation Topics That Deals With Employment Economics

Given that employment is a key concept in the production of goods and services, it’s important to study the rate at which organizations hire talents and the compensations offered.

Below are some topic ideas that you can explore in this area of economics: 

  • The influence of gender disparity in employment on economic growth and labor productivity.
  • What effect does technological innovation have on British unemployment? Evidence from the industrial industry.
  • The impact of economic cycles on employment, workforce productivity, and innovation: a case study of the manufacturing sector

Macroeconomics Dissertation Topics

Macroeconomics is an interesting field that examines an economy as a whole. In this division, the focus is on how markets interact with each other to generate aggregate variables. You’ll study national income, gross domestic product, employment, inflation, global economy, and financial markets.

Here are some interesting topics that you can explore in your dissertation if you’re studying macroeconomics:

  • COVID and the economic downturn: Will the impact be as severe as the 2007 financial downturn?
  • The global economic downturn and the causes that lead to it.
  • How will the Greek financial crisis affect the EU economy in the long run?

Microeconomic Dissertation Topics

In microeconomics, the focus is on the interaction between demand and supply in different markets. You’ll study and interpret how economic agents behave in different settings and identify the incentives they’re more than likely to face by building modes and using data to conduct your research and experiments.

Here are some interesting topics to cover in this area:

  • Does the size of a company impact its profits? Evidence from UK telecommunications companies.
  • Are UK corporations more inventive than their European counterparts?
  • Is the retail industry in the United Kingdom becoming less oligopolistic? An examination of the effects of new supermarkets.
  • The development of household consumption in the United Kingdom during the previous decade: Consumer behavior trends.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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Undergraduate Dissertations in Economics

A practical guide

1. Introduction

2. the uk experience, 3. the dissertation life-cycle, 4. an alternative to the dissertation.

Emeritus Professor Peter Smith , University of Southampton  First published 2009  Revised version July 2016


For many students, the dissertation is the culmination of their undergraduate careers, and a rewarding and satisfying experience that gives them the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a topic that interests them. However, it can also become a traumatic and disillusioning venture for students who do not engage with the research, or who have a bad experience with some aspect of the dissertation process.

This chapter sets out to share good practice and provide guidance for co-ordinators, curriculum planners and supervisors, highlighting danger areas and providing discussion of some of the more contentious aspects of the dissertation process.

A key aim of any honours degree programme in the UK is to encourage students to become independent learners. This is no easy task in an environment in which many students arrive from school or college with preconceived notions of what is meant by study, and an array of expectations about the support they will receive from academic staff, not to mention the feedback and interaction with staff that they can expect.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in August 2008 set out the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland , which contains the following descriptor for a Bachelor’s degree with honours:

‘Bachelor's degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • a systematic understanding of key aspects of their field of study, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of a discipline
  • an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within a discipline
  • to devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of a discipline
  • to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline
  • an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge
  • the ability to manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (e.g. refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline).’

(Source:   http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/Framework-Higher-Education-Qualifications-08.pdf  )

In the context of an economics programme, where in many cases students can arrive at university with no prior knowledge of the discipline, it is ambitious to think that students will be able to use ideas and techniques ‘at the forefront’ of the discipline after only three years of study, especially if this is really to be the aim for all honours students. On many programmes, the dissertation has become the prime vehicle by which students find an opportunity to become independent learners and to confront current research. For many students, the dissertation is the culmination of their undergraduate careers, and a rewarding and satisfying experience that gives them the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a topic that interests them. However, it can also become a traumatic and disillusioning venture for students who do not engage with the research, or who have a bad experience with some aspect of the dissertation process.

After a brief investigation of the current experience in the UK, this chapter is organised around the typical life-cycle of a dissertation, divided into a series of stages:

  • laying the foundations
  • topic selection
  • early practicalities
  • supervision
  • progress monitoring
  • data issues
  • dissertation structure
  • academic integrity.

As background to this chapter, a brief email survey was undertaken to gather information about the role of the undergraduate dissertation in economics departments across the UK. A report on this survey may be found in Appendix 1 .

From the survey it seems that dissertations are a part of the majority of Economics programmes in the UK. However, there are significant differences in the way in which the dissertation module is organised, and the way that students experience the dissertation.

A particular issue is whether all students should be required to complete a dissertation as part of their undergraduate programme. In some institutions, the dissertation is indeed compulsory for everyone, but elsewhere it is restricted to single honours students, or to those students who obtain an average of 60% or more in their second year. The QAA’s descriptor quoted above suggests that all students should receive some exposure to research, but clearly joint honours students are likely to find this more challenging than the specialists, having acquired less in-depth familiarity with either of their chosen disciplines.

Where joint honours students are required to take the dissertation, it may be necessary to adjust the expectations in terms of content. For example, whilst a single honours student with some exposure to econometrics may be expected to undertake some empirical work, it would be unreasonable to expect a joint honours (e.g. Politics and Economics) student to have the same familiarity with econometric methods. It has been known for students to try to teach themselves econometrics, which can prove disastrous.

Whether the dissertation should be limited to the better students is a moot point. On the one hand, it could be argued that weaker students should have equal access to the dissertation option; it may even be that there are some students who may achieve a better result on the dissertation where they can immerse themselves in a topic and produce a polished piece of work, than they could produce under examination conditions or in a problem-set-oriented assessment. On the other hand, experience suggests that weaker students require more supervision, and are more likely to resort to practices that breach academic integrity guidelines.

For these reasons, it may be necessary (or desirable) to provide alternative ways of exposing joint honours and weaker students to research methods. This will be discussed later in section 4 .

Where the dissertation is compulsory for all students, the organisation of the module causes concern. When there are large numbers of students requiring supervision, the load on individual staff members becomes heavy – especially given that some topic areas (and some staff members) tend to be more popular with students than others. It may then be necessary to find some way of spreading the supervision load across available staff or accommodating differences through a workload management system. Spreading the load evenly may result in inconsistency in the supervision provided, which can be very difficult to monitor effectively.

Another major impact on the dissertation has been the rise of the internet, and the ease with which students are able to find material. This can lead to excessive reliance on sites such as Wikipedia, and makes it imperative to be able to monitor standards of academic integrity. Almost all of the survey respondents reported using TurnitinUK, whether as routine for all dissertations submitted, for a random sample or for suspect cases. The traditional remedy of holding vivas for all student dissertations becomes extremely costly when large numbers of students are involved (one institution reported that more than 500 dissertations are submitted in a typical year). Nonetheless, this practice appears to have survived in some economics departments.

3.1 Laying the foundations

3.2 topic selection, 3.3 some early practicalities, 3.4 supervision, 3.5 early progress monitoring and the dangers of the last minute rush, 3.6 data issues, 3.7 dissertation content and structure, 3.8 submission, 3.9 assessment, 3.10 academic integrity.

There is a sense in which the whole of learning and teaching in a programme can be seen as preparation for the dissertation, as it provides the opportunity for students to draw holistically upon the range of material that they have studied during their programme. However, the dissertation is a very different exercise from anything else that they will have been required to undertake and specific preparation is needed.

First, some training in research skills will need to be provided. This may or may not take place as part of a specific module within the programme that is devoted to preparation for the dissertation, perhaps in the penultimate year of study. This needs to include general discussion of research in economics, and the ways in which economists undertake research and scholarship. It is important to remember that this is likely to be a wholly new experience for most students, who may be well drilled in problem solving and mathematical exercises, but who may not have had much exposure to the practicalities of economic research.

The booklets by Greenlaw (2006) and Neugeboren (2005) may be useful references for students at this stage of the process, or they may wish to visit the "Doing a dissertation" tab of the Studying Economics website run by the Economics Network.

Included in this research training it is important to provide some guidance in library skills and the use of evidence in economics research. Being able to evaluate evidence, to weigh up the importance of a set of results and to be aware of the limitations of the evidence produced are challenging skills for students to develop.

There are different approaches to providing such research methods training. It may be that library staff will be able to provide sessions in library skills. It may be wise to incentivise students by awarding a small percentage of the dissertation marks for a library skills exercise. For example, students could be required to undertake an online literature search related to their chosen topic and produce a preliminary reading list. This has the added benefit for forcing them to start their research at an early stage of proceedings.

Depending on programme structure, some students may have had extensive exposure to statistical and econometric methods, so may be accustomed to handling data and interpreting results. However, there may still be a difference between running some regressions in response to a specific exercise during an econometrics module and devising a model to allow testing of a specific hypothesis.

Where students have not been exposed to econometrics, this will clearly affect the scope and nature of research that they can undertake. It may be that they are restricted to a theoretical approach or a literature review style of project, or that they need to find alternative ways of presenting evidence. Where there is a mixture of single and joint honours students it may well be that there are students working on similar topic areas, some of whom know some econometrics and others not. This can create particular pressures on the joint honours students, who may feel obliged to try to use techniques with which they are unfamiliar. This is almost always disastrous. It also becomes important that the skills base of students is taken into account during the assessment process, so that students without training in econometrics are not unduly penalised by markers.

It is increasingly crucial to provide clear guidance on academic integrity at an early juncture. Section 3.10 explores this issue in more depth.

Where there are large numbers of international students, support may need to be provided in academic writing. Indeed, such support may be necessary more generally, given that so many economics assessments are based on problem sets and exercises, rather than on extended continuous prose. There is some evidence that the writing skills of UK students may also need to be further developed in this context.

From a student perspective, finding a topic for the dissertation is a critical step. One of the key strengths of the dissertation is its capacity to engage the student by arousing interest and motivating through a sense of discovery. However, it can also be a stressful part of the process, especially for some weaker students who may not have strong ideas about topics that might inspire interest, and who may be daunted by the prospect of undertaking the task. Failure to find the right topic can be a recipe for a weak dissertation that does not fulfil the intended outcomes.

When the numbers of students looking for dissertation topics are relatively small, then it may be that students can be left to choose their own topics – probably subject to the availability of an appropriate supervisor or the submission of a coherent research proposal. With large numbers of students, this laissez-faire approach may not be feasible.

An alternative approach is to provide students with a list of topics from which they can choose. These topics may be closely circumscribed, or may simply offer a general topic area, leaving the student to focus on a specific research question within that topic area.

The advantage of providing very general topics is that that it leaves the responsibility of formulating a specific research question with the student. This is a key part of research in economics, of course, so it is good (albeit challenging) for the student to have to think about how to go about it. It also has the benefit of giving the student ownership of the question to be investigated, which helps to provide motivation.

Where there are large numbers of students, topic choice can be handled online.

Students can submit their preferences through a webpage, and asked to specify their top four choices and rank them. Students can then be allocated to topics and supervisors, with no guarantee that they will get their first choice – depending on whether certain topics are over-subscribed.

It is helpful for students if a selection of past dissertations is made available to current students to provide some guidance on what is expected of them. However, if the same topics appear for too many successive years, there may be the obvious danger of plagiarism. Even where this does not extend to actual copying, there is the danger that students will simply adopt the same dissertation structure as used by previous students rather than working through this part of the process on their own.

Top tips: dissertation topics

There are several ways in which students can find (or be allocated) the topic for their research.

Students find their own topic, and then look for a supervisor

This may work where the number of students is limited, but may be more difficult to manage when numbers increase. Some staff members are likely to be overwhelmed with requests, especially if they happen to have taught popular second year modules.

Students may also congregate around topics of recent interest – the financial crisis, the impact of migration, or the economics of Brexit…

Others may delay thinking about their topic until it is too late, or may choose topics that prove to be impracticable.

Staff declare topic areas in which they are prepared to supervise projects

This seems to work for a number of institutions. Topics here may be defined broadly – labour economics, development economics, or monetary economics. This may also produce bunching around some staff members.

A list of topic areas is provided

This entails listing key areas of economics – public economics, behavioural economics etc. Students are then allocated a supervisor, where possible a supervisor with a specific interest in that area. Bunching can be ameliorated by not guaranteeing that the allocated supervisor will be an expert in that field. After all, at undergraduate level, detailed knowledge of the topic area may not be crucial.

A list of topics is provided

More specific titles could be provided, rather than general areas. Some staff may prefer this, but others may not. Too specific a topic may attract no students at all (there are only so many undergraduates burning to undertake research into theoretical issues in econometrics).

For example, a topic such as ‘Child labour in less developed countries’ offers wide scope for tackling the issue in different ways and different contexts. A more specific topic such as “Are household members altruistically linked? an examination based on the Mexican anti-poverty programme Progresa’ is much more prescriptive, and may deter students.

There will always be students with fixed ideas about what they wish to research, and these should be accommodated where possible and plausible.

Legislation impinges on the dissertation process, and students may all be required to complete risk assessments before they start their research. The impetus from this comes from Health and Safety legislation in place since 1992, and many universities require such assessments for undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking research. The need for this is perhaps more obvious where students are carrying out experiments in the physical sciences, but may also be important in the social sciences. There may also be a need to seek ethics approval, especially where research involves the use of human subjects, for example, where students intend to undertake surveys or to conduct experiments using human participants.

Given that most economics dissertations tend to be desk studies that do not involve the use of human subjects, the bureaucracy may be viewed as superfluous. Nonetheless, compliance with the law is essential. This may be especially important where economics as a discipline is part of a wider School of Social Sciences. Sociologists who decide to interview local drug dealers as part of their dissertation research clearly face rather different risks and ethical issues than an economist who decides to estimate a consumption function from macro data.

Sample forms can be viewed in Appendix 2 . The ethics form is designed for a School of Social Sciences. The expectation is that the vast majority of economics projects will qualify to skip from question 1 to question 15, thus minimising the paperwork whilst still complying with the demands of the legislation.

Given the requirements of the Data Protection Act, it is also advisable to ask students to give permission for their completed dissertations to be made available within the university for succeeding generations of students. This then allows a database of previous dissertations to be mounted on an internal website or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) such as Blackboard or Moodle.

It is also important at the outset to be absolutely clear about some aspects of the dissertation. In particular, students seem to get very exercised about word length. In many UK undergraduate economics programmes, the dissertation counts as a double module in the final year – for example, 15 ECTS, or a quarter of the assessment for the year. Given the importance of this piece of work (especially where the final year carries a heavy weight), it is probably appropriate for the dissertation to carry a word length of 7,500 to 10,000 words. Notice that this may depend on institutional demands set by your School, Faculty or at University level.

Top Tips on the word limit

  • Be explicit from the start about what is included and not included in the word count. When students get near to submission time, the chances are that they will be hitting the limit, and will want to exclude as much as possible from the count. To remove ambiguity, it is wise to be clear.
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of contents
  • Bibliography
  • Figures (i.e. diagrams, maps)
  • Tables of data
  • Prohibit the widespread use of appendices – otherwise, students will simply carve chunks of material out of the main text and stash it away at the back in the hope that it will not count. Make it clear that appendices will be part of the word count (perhaps allowing some appendices to be exempt, e.g. raw data, with the express permission of the supervisor).
  • Then state that everything else counts. Students will still find questions to ask (what about footnotes?), but if you have been explicit you will be on reasonably firm ground – and you can point out that the rules are the same for everyone.
  • In order to enforce the word limit, you will probably need to impose penalties for exceeding it. A sliding scale is probably best – say, 1 percentage point per 100 words (or part thereof) by which the dissertation exceeds the limit. This provides students with the incentive to learn to be selective and to avoid waffle in presenting their report. And it seems to work!

The provision of good supervision is crucial to the success of the dissertation. In many institutions facing increasing student numbers, the amount of contact between staff and students on a one-to-one basis is in decline. Indeed, it may be that the supervision of the dissertation provides the single most important opportunity for students to interact on a personal basis with a member of the academic staff. Some students may be intimidated by this, but if the relationship works, it can be mutually rewarding as an educational experience.

As in many other areas of learning and teaching, it is important to manage student expectations of the supervision process. It is helpful for students to be told clearly what they can expect from their supervisor. This may be expressed in terms of an entitlement, rather than being left open-ended. Such an entitlement could be expressed in terms of a number of meetings that each student is entitled to have with their supervisor or it could be expressed in hours. Experience with operating such a system is that although some students may request assistance above their entitlement – and this need not be prohibited within the scheme – others may choose not to avail themselves of their full entitlement. In the context of encouraging students to become independent learners, it may not be desirable to insist that all students attend for a given number of sessions. It is this that makes the entitlement system an attractive way of specifying what is the normal expectation for supervisory contact.

Such an approach has the added benefit of helping to manage the supervisors’ expectations of the process. Supervisors need to know what is expected of them in terms of reading drafts, marking, length and frequency of meetings, and so on. It is also crucial that both supervisors and students have the same expectations of what is involved. Being explicit about this is thus crucial for both groups.

Achieving consistency of supervision provision is one of the challenges, especially when large numbers of students are in need of supervision. Just as some students may need more help than others, it is also important to be aware that some supervisors may be more comfortable in the role than others, or more prepared (or able) to make themselves available.

It is also common for certain topic areas to be more popular than others – and for some supervisors to be more popular than others. If unregulated, this can lead to a situation in which some members of staff find that they have much heavier loads than their colleagues.

Some fair way of allocating supervisory responsibilities may thus be needed. One possibility is to ensure that supervisory loads are recognised as part of a workload management system, in which there is a trade-off between supervisory responsibilities and other forms of teaching contact. An alternative is to allocate loads evenly across available staff. This may require allocating students to topics that are not their first choice, or requiring supervisors to oversee topics of which they have little specialist knowledge. This needs to be monitored carefully to safeguard the student experience. However, at the undergraduate level, specialist knowledge of topic areas may be less crucial than at masters’ or doctoral level.

There may be benefits from group supervision of students following similar topics, not only in terms of economies of scale, but also because the students may be able to learn from each other. Economies of scale may arise because much of the advice given to students will be common – the central importance of economic analysis, the need for a literature review, the interpretation of evidence, how to avoid plagiarism and so on.

At my university, each supervisor is responsible for between six and ten students. It may be highly time-consuming to meet each supervisee separately on a one-to-one basis, but there are some issues that can be readily communicated in group sessions, perhaps even in combination with a colleague supervising in similar topic areas.

A first meeting could take place early in the year, or at the end of the penultimate year, when students have been allocated their topics and supervisors. This would be a preliminary briefing meeting, to answer questions and concerns, highlight some key relevant readings and data sources, and explain how the supervision will be conducted. Some preliminary explanation of how to structure a good dissertation is also provided, together with some discussion of what is meant by academic integrity.

At a second meeting each student could be asked to talk about their topic, outline their progress to date, identify their research question (if they have formulated it) and comment on any problem areas that they have encountered.

A third meeting could be held towards the end of the first term. By this time, students will have been required to submit an interim report, in which they sketch out their proposed research, including an explanation of their research question, and the methodology that they propose to use in order to investigate their question. This is an opportunity to provide feedback and progress to date, to suggest future directions and to identify potential problems.

A fourth meeting could be held towards the end of the second term. Before this meeting, you could invite each student to submit an extract from the first chapter, including their explanation of their research question. In the meeting, you could comment on writing styles and referencing, and provide an opportunity for questions. The importance of maintaining standards of academic integrity also needs to be stressed.

Students should also be encouraged to meet up on a one-to-one basis if they have questions that are specific to their own research.

In some institutions, this is taken one step further, through the provision of a whole module (normally in the second year) that deals with research methods. The economies of scale in doing this are even greater, of course, as one individual (or a relatively small number of staff) can provide the generic advice that all students need in approaching the dissertation. Such dedicated modules are not always popular with students, who may see the material as being fragmented and of little relevance to them at the time. In other words, they may need to be convinced that they really will need this material at a later stage. Such modules are not always popular with the staff either. They may not be appealing to teach, and also put pressure on the curriculum. When so much other material has to be covered in the second year, there may be a reluctance to use up a whole module on research methods that could have been used to provide more micro theory or econometrics.

A frequent complaint about students undertaking undergraduate dissertations is that they leave everything until the last minute. The pressures of other coursework items and mid-term or mid-year examinations may encourage students to devote their time to these, as the dissertation seems less urgent.

There are various ways of trying to encourage students to start work on their research early, and not to rely on a late rush. It may be worth drawing an analogy in early discussions with them. Few students would think of arriving at an exam with only a few minutes to go, and thus finding they have no time to answer the questions. So, why should they think they can fritter away their dissertation time and start work on it when it is too late to do it justice?

However, as economists, we understand about incentives, and thus realise that exhortation alone will not suffice. We need to provide good incentives if we expect students to start work early.

One possibility is to require students to give a presentation of their intended research at an early stage of proceedings. This could be a presentation to their peers with a member of academic staff present. It would even be possible to designate a discussant for each presentation or for a small percentage of the overall mark to be attached to it. However, as soon as numbers begin to grow, this option begins to become very costly in time and effort. Ensuring consistency in the assessment becomes problematic – although if it is a very small percentage of the overall mark, this may be less crucial. If the presentation becomes more than a small percentage, then the logistics of enabling appropriate external examining becomes a potential issue.

An alternative is to introduce an interim report or research proposal that has to be submitted at an early stage. Again, attaching a modest percentage of the overall marks to this report has good incentive effects, and provides an early check to identify students that are not engaging with the process, or who have unrealistic grandiose plans for solving the world’s problems in 10,000 words. It is also a good opportunity to provide formal feedback – an important consideration when the paucity of feedback is a common criticism emerging from questionnaire surveys.

It may be helpful to ask students to submit draft material (or even chapters) to provide a framework for discussion in supervisory meetings – and to do so before the meeting takes place. There is nothing worse than having a student arrive to discuss their work clutching their precious draft, only to find that the time is mainly spent in the supervisor reading it, rather than being able to discuss it. It should be made clear that this is not for the purpose of proof-reading, which is not the supervisor’s responsibility. It may be worth setting a timetable for such discussions at the beginning of the year – which then forces the student into a regular schedule of work. Of course, your institution’s rules may prohibit the reading of draft material. You may also think that it is possible to go too far in helping the student, as this may militate against encouraging independent work and time management. However, it can make for more productive supervisory meetings – and anything that highlights that you are providing feedback may pay dividends in national student surveys.

The other task that must be tackled at an early stage is data hunting. Students embarking on empirical work – probably for the first time – almost always have over-optimistic views of the data that are likely to be available. Perhaps a student has been to a course in development economics that has stressed the importance of human capital formation in stimulating improvements in agricultural productivity. An interesting project might be to examine the effect of primary schooling on agricultural productivity in rural Zanzibar. Or to examine the effect of overseas assistance on the provision of health care in Papua New Guinea. Panic then sets in when it transpires that, with only a few weeks remaining, there are no data to be found.

Again, this is partly a question of managing student expectations – and of getting students to hunt for their data as early as possible.

Of course, there is a time inconsistency problem here. We tell the students that they must look for data as soon as possible… but we also tell them that they should think about the underlying economics of their topic first, in order that they know what data they will require. Without this proviso, the danger of data-mining is high. Students told to look for data early may well see what they can find, run a few regressions and then see if they can find a theory that will match their results.

There is a lot of data readily available on the internet. This brings good and bad news. The good news is that there are more data accessible on a wide range of economic topics that students can readily obtain. This expands the range of topics on which they can undertake empirical work – and they are aided and abetted in this by the software at their disposal to enable them to produce lots of results. The bad news is that the scope for doing foolish things and getting nonsense results is also much expanded. The ease of use of today’s software makes it very easy to produce results that go way beyond the competence and understanding of the students. Indeed, a key part of the supervisor’s role may be to rein in the over-enthusiastic student to ensure that the work undertaken is appropriate for the topic being investigated, and the reasonable ambition of the student given knowledge and understanding of statistical and/or econometric methodology. This reining in has to done in a sensitive way, so as not to discourage or dishearten. A fine line to tread.

Provide web links to the most relevant data sources.

Providing web links to key recommended data sources is wise. This can be accomplished through a dedicated dissertation webpage or VLE. The links can then be tailored to the needs of a particular cohort of students. There is also a helpful section on the Economics Network website that provides links to freely available data .

One obvious situation in which this can be an issue is where a student has received no training in econometrics, but has heard of ‘regression’ and perceives that no dissertation is complete without it. There may be some bright students out there who can teach themselves regression along the way and produce sensible results. But for every one such student, there are likely to be countless others who will be unable to produce coherent results. For the econometrically untrained, more modest objectives need to be set for the analysis of empirical data. However, the collection of data, and the marshalling of evidence in support (or not) of an hypothesis, is a central part of research in economics. In some cases, students may sign up for an optional course in econometrics for which they are ill-prepared. This has a doubly damaging impact, as they may fail the module as well as finding themselves no better off for the research.

Another pitfall is where a student with some econometric training collects data and runs some regressions, but is unable to produce results that are consistent with any known economic theory. Panic then sets in. Can economic theory really be so wrong? It takes confidence for a novice researcher to look at a set of seemingly meaningless results with equanimity. It may then be for the supervisor to reassure, and to point out how many possible explanations there are for seemingly contradictory results. Perhaps the data do not measure what the model demands. Perhaps a more sophisticated econometric methodology is required. Perhaps there are omitted variables. And so on. The student researcher may then need to be persuaded that it is perfectly OK to present weak results, so long as some awareness is shown that the analysis has limitations, and that there are many possible reasons for the seeming contradictions.

It is important to remind students of the key objective of the dissertation – namely, to showcase what they have assimilated during their degree programme. If they can show competence in applying economic analysis and (perhaps) econometric techniques in a topic area of their choice, then they are on their way to a reasonable mark. They will not be submitting their dissertation to Econometrica .

‘The secret of happiness lay in limiting the aspirations.’ Thomas Hardy in The Woodlanders .

Students who have spent most of their undergraduate careers solving problems and tackling exercises are likely to need specific help in constructing a coherent argument through continuous prose and appropriate structuring of material. Furthermore, the dissertation will require them to move beyond the descriptive to analysis and evaluation. These are also key skills that may only be developed through the dissertation in many economics undergraduate programmes.

There are several guides available providing advice to students on how to structure a report on a piece of economic research (e.g. Neugeboren (2005); Greenlaw (2006) ).

A typical structure

From Neugeboren (2005)

Students need further guidance to keep an appropriate balance between the key components. The temptation is to use up too many words in the early sections in introducing the topic and describing the background. This is especially tempting in relation to some projects. For example, a student investigating a question in the context of a particular country may begin by describing the economic conditions of that country, so that the report comes to resemble something more appropriate for economic history or geography than economics. On the other hand, there may be a temptation to take some of the economic analysis for granted, thus missing the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of economic analysis and thereby showcasing their skills to the examiner. This question of knowing what to include and what to omit is a tricky one, and an area in which supervisors will need to be ready to offer guidance. Another challenge is for students to be evaluative and analytic, going beyond description.

At the outset, students often find it intimidating to launch themselves on writing an 8,000 or 10,000 word report. It is important to find a way of overcoming this. One way is to encourage students to draw up a chapter plan at an early stage. This could be based on the general pattern set out above, with the students being asked to draft a few sentences describing the intended content of each chapter, and a target word count. This has the advantage of breaking the overall task into a sequence of shorter pieces of work, which may be less intimidating. Making some examples of previous dissertations available for students to consult may also be helpful, as they are able to see what can be achieved, as well as getting a feel for how to structure a long report.

Make sure there is no ambiguity about the deadline for submission and the penalties for missing it.

Another danger point comes at submission time. Be clear about the conditions under which an extension might be granted and how and whether this might be authorised. In addition, be clear about the conditions in which an extension will not be granted. For example, you might want to be explicit that extensions will not be granted for frivolous reasons or because ‘my computer crashed’. There are good reasons for being strict about this. One of the skills that students derive from producing a dissertation is project management. Meeting deadlines will give students the opportunity to practise time management. A student who does not understand the need to keep back-up copies of files will have a rude awakening in the world of work. Furthermore, a student granted an extension is likely to find that there are knock-on effects in terms of exam preparation.

Assessment is a crucial part of the dissertation process and entails a number of problematic issues.

It is important that students have a clear idea of what is expected of them in producing a dissertation. Unlike the problem sets and exercises that characterise much of assessment in economics, there cannot be a specific mark scheme for the dissertation. However, it is possible to provide a set of grade descriptors designed for the dissertation, showing the characteristics that markers will be looking for in allocating marks to the final product. This helps in forming student expectations and provides transparency. A sample set of descriptors is available in Appendix 3 . These descriptors can be tailored to local requirements. Asking markers to highlight a copy of the descriptors for each student being assessed indicating how well they have performed on each aspect is a good way of reaching comparability of standards across markers, and providing feedback to students afterwards.

There is no universal agreement that this approach is desirable. It has been argued that marking to descriptors enforces too much conformity and inhibits markers from examining with their own personal and professional judgement. However, this may be an argument for framing the descriptors in such a way that they are not overly prescriptive, but yet identify the intended outcomes on which the assessment of the dissertation should be based. When large numbers of students are involved, it may be that personal and professional judgement has to be harnessed in order to ensure equity in treatment.

Another way of trying to manage student expectations is through some element of peer- or self-assessment – not necessarily as part of the summative assessment. For example, students could be encouraged to evaluate a fellow student’s research proposal or presentation. Alternatively, a self-assessment checklist could be required as part of the dissertation submission, itemising key aspects of the dissertation. A sample self-assessment form is available through the Appendices .

Students may also gain confidence in their work if some portion of the summative assessment is derived from interim pieces of work, such as the research proposal, a presentation or library skills project. This can also incentivise students to manage their time and receive feedback on how they are progressing.

Achieving consistency in assessment is challenging, especially where the number of dissertations to be marked is large so that marking has to be spread between a relatively large number of staff members. Consistency is also difficult because of the wide range of dissertation topics that is possible. The use of descriptors can help here, as they are cast in general terms that do not vary across topics. The danger is that some markers will be more diligent than others in giving marks based on the descriptors. At department level, this could be monitored by constructing a spreadsheet to compare mean marks (and the standard deviation) for each pair of markers. This may help to reassure external examiners that marking has been carefully undertaken — as well as ensuring equality of treatment for students.

The nature of the dissertation is such that it is difficult to maintain anonymity in the marking, so this is one type of assessment where double-blind marking must be retained, rather than some form of sample moderation process.

Where the economics dissertation can be taken by both single honours students and those following joint honours, it is important for markers to be aware of what is reasonable for particular students to produce. A politics and economics student should not be penalised for avoiding econometric work, nor should a single honours economics student be penalised for lacking background in political science.

One of the issues on which practice varies between universities is the question of whether the supervisor should or should not be one of the markers of the dissertation. Some argue that the supervisor should be excluded from the assessment process in order to ensure independence of the marking, whereas others argue that the supervisor is able to identify the extent to which the student had received assistance as part of the supervisory process. Consistency may be more likely where marking is organised to mix up the pairings of first and second markers.

Given the ubiquity of the internet, it has become impossible to discuss undergraduate dissertations without also discussing the greater opportunities for student plagiarism. The internet provides students with access to a vast range of material, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many students arrive at university with at best a sketchy understanding of methods of scholarship and standards of academic integrity.

Inculcating a sense of what constitutes academic integrity at an early stage in the degree programme is critical. This approach – stressing that there are expected standards for student work – is to be preferred to instructing students simply to ‘avoid plagiarism’. The notion of avoiding plagiarism is almost tantamount to telling students not to get caught, whereas setting expected standards is a more positive tack to take.

The importance of academic integrity is reflected in the fact that there is a whole chapter in this Handbook by Jeremy Williams devoted to the topic. The detail of this discussion will not be repeated here, where the focus will be on academic integrity in the dissertation.

Jeremy Williams identifies three types of plagiarist. The ‘lazy plagiarist’ takes the work of another author and puts his or her own name to it, and may use a ‘cheat’ site in order to purchase a dissertation or part thereof. The ‘cunning plagiarist’ uses the work of another author or authors, but changes things sufficiently to avoid detection. ‘Cut-and-paste’ characterises this approach. The ‘accidental plagiarist’ does not even realise that they are plagiarising – for example, they may have taken notes on a journal article in the early stages of their research without realising that they were simply noting down the original author’s words. They then construct their dissertation from those notes. In some cases, students from a Confucian tradition may believe that in reproducing the words of the experts they are paying them a compliment, and may find it culturally difficult to criticise or even amend what has been printed in a textbook. The use of anti-plagiarism software will throw up examples of all three types.

In the email survey of UK economics departments, most made use of TurnitinUK as a way of identifying whether plagiarism has taken place. The convenience of this is that a dissertation submitted via a VLE can be automatically screened for overlap with TurnitinUK’s growing database. The disadvantage is that the output produced by the software requires very careful interpretation. The software produces a Similarity Index (SI), which quantifies the degree of overlap with material in the database. A high SI does not necessarily indicate plagiarism, but it does help to highlight which dissertation submissions are suspicious.

An important practical point to remember is that when students submit their dissertation they should not only be asked to sign a declaration stating that the work is their own, but also that they understand what is meant by academic integrity and that their dissertation will be checked by TurnitinUK.

Sample declaration for students to sign on submission:

I understand that by signing the declaration below, I have read and accepted the following statements:

  • I have read and understood the University’s Academic Integrity Statement for Students, including the information on practice to avoid given the Statement and that in the attached submission I have worked within the expectations of this Statement.
  • I am aware that failure to act in accordance with the Academic Integrity Statement for Students may lead to the imposition of penalties which, for the most serious cases, may include termination of the programme.

I consent to the University copying and distributing any or all of my work in any form and using third parties (who may be based outside the EU/EEA). This may include the use of anti-plagiarism software (e.g. TurnitinUK) to verify whether my work contains plagiarised material, and for quality assurance purposes.

Perhaps more valuable than its diagnostic properties is the deterrent value of TurnitinUK. The very fact that all dissertations are to be screened may encourage students to take care in their work. If this does not suffice, then a practical demonstration may be effective.

Encouraging good academic practice

Find a brief paper written by a member of staff in the department and submit it to TurnitinUK. Then hack the article about. Include some quotations (some with, some without quotation marks), paraphrase some passages, introduce some new material. Submit the revised version to TurnitinUK.

Arrange a session for all students writing a dissertation, and show them the TurnitinUK output on the amended version. Let them see what we see as examiners. Point out the key examples of bad practice that we can readily recognise.

This exercise can have a dramatic effect. In one academic year, I (as the School’s Academic Integrity Officer) had to investigate 10 breaches of academic integrity in economics dissertations. Penalties were imposed in all cases. The following year, having demonstrated the examiner’s eye view of the TurnitinUK output, not one single case emerged.

More difficult to detect is where students commission a third party to produced their dissertation for them – either to order, or off the peg from subscription websites. TurnitinUK may or may not identify these cases, although I have known one case where the dissertation that had been purchased was picked up because some paragraphs from it were used as an advert on the website, and were thus caught by TurnitinUK. The risks of being caught may be lower for this form of cheating – but the penalties are likely to be more severe.

An important part of the fight for academic integrity is to make sure that all supervisors are familiar with your university’s procedures for dealing with breaches of academic integrity, and with how to interpret the TurnitinUK output. This is a key part of ensuring consistency in supervision and equity of treatment across students. It is wise to make sure that the general principles of academic integrity are covered in joint sessions to all students, rather than this being left as part of the responsibility of the individual supervisor. Student handbooks also need to carry clear guidance on your institution’s policies and procedures.

More discussion on academic integrity may be found in the Handbook chapter by Jeremy Williams and the more recent chapter by Carlos Cortinhas .

If it is accepted that all honours students should be exposed to ‘current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline…’ (QAA), then can the dissertation be avoided?

It could be argued that if we provide research-led teaching , then this in itself ensures that students will fit the bill in terms of exposure to research. But what do we mean by ‘research-led teaching’? Does it mean that academic staff are given the opportunity to teach in their specialist research areas? Is that enough? How do we ensure that students engage with this process? If we cannot be sure about the answer to these questions, then is the dissertation the only solution?

To some extent, a research-led approach can be embedded within the normal curriculum. Modules can be designed in such a way as to enhance the students’ ability to develop critical and evaluative thinking skills and thereby support and promote independent learning. This approach can be reinforced by a research-led approach to assessment and may be most straightforward in econometric or other quantitative methods modules, where students can be required to find, analyse and interpret their own data. A similar approach can be adopted for other modules. A development economics module can require students to prepare a report on a particular country; students could be required to evaluate a recent report from the CMA . Such exercises can encourage and engender a sense of discovery and engage students in a reflective and self-critical process. There is much more discussion or undergraduate research in economics in KimMarie Goldrick’s chapter in this Handbook .

An alternative approach would be to run a seminar or tutorial-based module, in which students are required to provide critical evaluation of recent research, probably through the vehicle of appropriate journal articles. This sort of exercise can also provide students with the opportunity to develop their presentation skills, and could be part of a module that also includes sessions on aspects of research in economics. Such presentations could be given in a quasi-conference setting, if the number of students permits.

A well-organised dissertation can be the most rewarding part of the student experience. However, this may require careful thought and planning if it is not to turn into a nightmare. Here are some key points to remember as the dissertation life-cycle unfolds:

  • Think about how research training will be provided
  • Ensure that students are guided towards a feasible topic
  • Be aware of the legislative context
  • Give early rules on word length
  • Manage student and supervisor expectations of the supervisory process
  • Look for a coherent way of allocating students to supervisors
  • Set intermediate targets to prevent students leaving too much to the last minute
  • Be aware of data issues
  • Provide guidance in terms of how to structure a dissertation
  • Offer clear guidelines for the assessment process, so that students know what is expected of them
  • Be unambiguous in setting deadlines and the rules for extensions
  • Explain academic integrity and monitor adherence

Students can benefit greatly from undertaking a dissertation. The process can capture their interest and give them confidence to engage in independent work. The finished product can be used to sell their abilities to potential employers, by showcasing their skills. Supervisors can add to the experience by making sure that students are aware of these benefits. Furthermore, students often enjoy their dissertation work.

Greenlaw, S. A. (2006) Doing Economics: A guide to carrying out economic research. Boston: Houghton Miffin. ISBN 9780618379835

Neugeboren, R. (2005) The Student’s Guide to Writing Economics. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415701235

"Doing a dissertation" in the 'Studying economics' section of the Economics Network website.

If you Google 'dissertations in economics' you will find many websites that claim to provide help and guidance. Some of these will be helpful to students e.g. the guide by Paul Dudenhefer ; other links take you to guides provided by various Universities for their students. However, care is needed here, as students may also find offers from tutors prepared to write their dissertations at a price...

Other chapters in the Handbook for Economics Lecturers augment this guide. In particular:

KimMarie McGoldrick, Undergraduate Research in Economics

Jeremy B. Williams, Plagiarism: Deterrence, Detection and Prevention

  • The undergraduate dissertation in UG economics in the UK: A brief survey
  • Risk assessment form
  • Ethics checklist
  • Grade descriptors
  • Self-assessment form
  • Views on request


Seth Gitter

Professor of economics, section 4: choosing a topic for undergraduate economic research.

This post is part of a series ( link ) on undergraduate research in Economics  

For the Student:

There are a few good write ups on how to choose a research topic. I really like Doug Miller’s 5 things needed for a good economics thesis topic ( link ), which I shorten as:  It is economics, it is your idea, It has not been done before, do‐able, and you really care about. This short guide from Bates College ( link ) suggest thinking of continuing with work you have already done to explore a new question and Princeton has a longer guide ( link ). I also like this handout by Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck at Cal State Sacramento ( link ). Don Davis ( link ) and Steve Pischke ( link ) have guides geared toward grad students choosing a research question.

Before approaching a professor I agree with Miller’s advice student should come up with a broad topic of interest for their research project. Do not go to professor without anything in mind. The broad topic needs to inspire you enough to keep you motivated to work for an entire year. Think of topics that you have found interesting in your other economics classes or related course work. You might also be inspired by a story in the news or your own experience.

Many applied microeconomics papers are essentially how does something X (e.g. cash payments, credit, or war) effect some outcome Y (e.g. schooling, health, income). A good economics paper will focus on an X  that can be influenced by policy and how it changes Y an outcome that people care about. Another issue is X needs to be exogenous that is independent of other influencers on Y. You also want to avoid something called reverse causality if for example you measuring the effect of health (X) on income (y) for Peruvian farmers, you would need to do more complex analysis since rising income mean people have more money to spend on health so Y could influence X too. Your professor can help you with this issue. You can also look at X and Y in a new setting and that is a good topic too.

The other thing you need to consider is who is your population of interested? In terms of the interest do you have a specific age, gender, or nationality in mind. For students interested in using data from outside of the United States specific knowledge of the country based on research for another class is extremely useful. Even better is experience studying abroad or being from that country.  Personally, I am much more interested in projects if the student I am working with is from or has experience with a country that I am less familiar with.

Once you have a broad research topic I would suggest working on some literature and data searches for a couple of hours, but not much more than that . First, do a regular google search of the topic with the name of the x variable, y outcome, and country (e.g. “microcredit and schooling and India”). Next do a similar search in google scholar. For each search spend about 30 minutes seeing what comes up and giving a quick read to the articles. Finally, do a search in EconLit a database available at most schools to see if you can find relevant papers.

You might also try looking around to see you can find a dataset to work with. The World Bank has an excellent website for finding data ( http://microdata.worldbank.org/index.php/home ) and the American Economics Association also has a list of data sources ( https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/data ). JPAL provides data for hundreds of their randomized control trials in developing countries. One thing you can do is iterate. If you have thought of a topic you are interested in and look for data and cannot find it, but you find a dataset that can answer a related question, it is ok for an undergraduate research project to change the question to work with the available data.

In summary you might not get all the way to choosing a topic and finding data. Spend a few hours so that you will be ready to approach the professor.

Student Questions:

  • What is the relationship I am interested (what is the X influencer and Y outcome)
  • Can X be influenced by policy? Is Y important?
  • What population am I interested in studying (age, gender, nationality)?
  • Can you find a data set?

For the Professor 

For the student advice I recommend that the students start by trying to find their own topic. In some cases professors may already have a research topic in mind and be looking for a student to serve as a research assistant. Typically faculty members keep the most promising papers for their own work and use paper ideas with less promise for work with undergraduates. I would recommend against finding a student to address a specific topic. You want to find a student who is driven to answer their own research question. Finding a topic is also a basic signal or screening device of a student’s ability to do research. If you give them the topic to start you cannot reveal the work they are willing to do for the project. Additionally, giving the student less promising paper ideas is means you are likely not motivated by the paper idea or you would be working on it already.

It is important to work with the student to find a question that first meets the standard exogeneity criteria required of empirical work in economics. You can also guide the student to what is a policy relevant and important question. In terms of datasets you might be aware of relevant datasets. Your experience can guide you to see if the question that is being asked can be answered by the dataset of interest.

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  • Knowledge Base
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How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow

Published on November 11, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

Choosing your dissertation topic is the first step in making sure your research goes as smoothly as possible. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider:

  • Your institution and department’s requirements
  • Your areas of knowledge and interest
  • The scientific, social, or practical relevance
  • The availability of data and resources
  • The timeframe of your dissertation
  • The relevance of your topic

You can follow these steps to begin narrowing down your ideas.

Table of contents

Step 1: check the requirements, step 2: choose a broad field of research, step 3: look for books and articles, step 4: find a niche, step 5: consider the type of research, step 6: determine the relevance, step 7: make sure it’s plausible, step 8: get your topic approved, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about dissertation topics.

The very first step is to check your program’s requirements. This determines the scope of what it is possible for you to research.

  • Is there a minimum and maximum word count?
  • When is the deadline?
  • Should the research have an academic or a professional orientation?
  • Are there any methodological conditions? Do you have to conduct fieldwork, or use specific types of sources?

Some programs have stricter requirements than others. You might be given nothing more than a word count and a deadline, or you might have a restricted list of topics and approaches to choose from. If in doubt about what is expected of you, always ask your supervisor or department coordinator.

Start by thinking about your areas of interest within the subject you’re studying. Examples of broad ideas include:

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Economic history
  • Health policy

To get a more specific sense of the current state of research on your potential topic, skim through a few recent issues of the top journals in your field. Be sure to check out their most-cited articles in particular. For inspiration, you can also search Google Scholar , subject-specific databases , and your university library’s resources.

As you read, note down any specific ideas that interest you and make a shortlist of possible topics. If you’ve written other papers, such as a 3rd-year paper or a conference paper, consider how those topics can be broadened into a dissertation.

After doing some initial reading, it’s time to start narrowing down options for your potential topic. This can be a gradual process, and should get more and more specific as you go. For example, from the ideas above, you might narrow it down like this:

  • Twentieth-century literature   Twentieth-century Irish literature   Post-war Irish poetry
  • Economic history   European economic history   German labor union history
  • Health policy   Reproductive health policy   Reproductive rights in South America

All of these topics are still broad enough that you’ll find a huge amount of books and articles about them. Try to find a specific niche where you can make your mark, such as: something not many people have researched yet, a question that’s still being debated, or a very current practical issue.

At this stage, make sure you have a few backup ideas — there’s still time to change your focus. If your topic doesn’t make it through the next few steps, you can try a different one. Later, you will narrow your focus down even more in your problem statement and research questions .

There are many different types of research , so at this stage, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what kind of approach you’ll take to your topic. Will you mainly focus on:

  • Collecting original data (e.g., experimental or field research)?
  • Analyzing existing data (e.g., national statistics, public records, or archives)?
  • Interpreting cultural objects (e.g., novels, films, or paintings)?
  • Comparing scholarly approaches (e.g., theories, methods, or interpretations)?

Many dissertations will combine more than one of these. Sometimes the type of research is obvious: if your topic is post-war Irish poetry, you will probably mainly be interpreting poems. But in other cases, there are several possible approaches. If your topic is reproductive rights in South America, you could analyze public policy documents and media coverage, or you could gather original data through interviews and surveys .

You don’t have to finalize your research design and methods yet, but the type of research will influence which aspects of the topic it’s possible to address, so it’s wise to consider this as you narrow down your ideas.

It’s important that your topic is interesting to you, but you’ll also have to make sure it’s academically, socially or practically relevant to your field.

  • Academic relevance means that the research can fill a gap in knowledge or contribute to a scholarly debate in your field.
  • Social relevance means that the research can advance our understanding of society and inform social change.
  • Practical relevance means that the research can be applied to solve concrete problems or improve real-life processes.

The easiest way to make sure your research is relevant is to choose a topic that is clearly connected to current issues or debates, either in society at large or in your academic discipline. The relevance must be clearly stated when you define your research problem .

Before you make a final decision on your topic, consider again the length of your dissertation, the timeframe in which you have to complete it, and the practicalities of conducting the research.

Will you have enough time to read all the most important academic literature on this topic? If there’s too much information to tackle, consider narrowing your focus even more.

Will you be able to find enough sources or gather enough data to fulfil the requirements of the dissertation? If you think you might struggle to find information, consider broadening or shifting your focus.

Do you have to go to a specific location to gather data on the topic? Make sure that you have enough funding and practical access.

Last but not least, will the topic hold your interest for the length of the research process? To stay motivated, it’s important to choose something you’re enthusiastic about!

Most programmes will require you to submit a brief description of your topic, called a research prospectus or proposal .

Remember, if you discover that your topic is not as strong as you thought it was, it’s usually acceptable to change your mind and switch focus early in the dissertation process. Just make sure you have enough time to start on a new topic, and always check with your supervisor or department.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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Economics Dissertation Topics

Economics is about making choices in the face of scarcity and uncertainty and ensuring that resource allocation is effectively and efficiently done. What was popularised by writers, researchers and philosophers such as Adam Smith in the 1770s, has become a field with significant relevance and importance in today’s society that is highly financialised and globalised. Dating back to medieval scholastics as well as literature published back in the 15th and 18th century, through the 19th century, the concerns of economics have largely focused on aspects such as choices of individuals, borrowing, money, consumption and production, occupations and employment, markets, trade, pricing of assets, taxes, and most recently human behaviour in relation to economic decisions.

There are multitudes of research studies, within the existing literature, that have been conducted in relation to the above concerns and many of these have resulted in a number of models that attempt to provide possible explanations to real world problems. As the world continues to evolve with the advent of technological advancements that have increased the pace of transformation and globalisation, new areas in economics have emerged as worthwhile research targets. The following are possible economics dissertation topics to choose from for your academic research project in economics:

Economic Geography Dissertation Topics

Economic sociology dissertation topics, institutional economics dissertation topics, microeconomics dissertation topics, macroeconomics dissertation topics, regional development dissertation topics.

  • Employment Economics Dissertation Topics

Financial Economics Dissertation Topics

This is the area in economics academic literature that is concerned with the role of geographic location and place with the economical outcomes. It focuses on describing and analyzing patterns and trends in human behavior and activity to gain understanding of the processes and drivers that shape and affect the economic and cultural landscapes. Within regions and localities, there are great dynamics that shape the nature and extent of economic activity. Below are some suggestions for economics dissertation topics on economic geography:

  • The impact of local and regional cultures on shaping entrepreneurial economic development.
  • Can entrepreneurial attitude be exported? The role of emigrants in introducing new entrepreneurial attitudes.
  • Differences of entrepreneurial behaviour in rural and urban areas.
  • Is there any relationship between mature industries dominating small towns and their local cultural factors?
  • The role of local culture in promoting regional innovation networks.
  • National, regional and local policies to support local clusters: opportunities.
  • How can policy support the creation of a local cluster?
  • Are networks affected by local proximity? Differences between co-localised and dispersed networks.
  • The likelihood impact of Brexit on policy outcomes that shape the local economy in UK cities.
  • A model for the development of information and communication technology incubators in the UK. Analysis of the concentration of Top 50 IT companies.
  • What is causing regional divergence? An analysis of the richest and poorest regions in the UK.
  • The economic geography of recession. Difference between regional and city economics in the UK.
  • Why are housing built in flood-prone coastal areas?
  • Understanding educational progression at the local level: A comparison of the North and South cities in the UK.
  • How COVID has contributed to house price volatility in various cities in the UK.
  • How the COVID lockdown has affected social life of big cities.
  • Will coronavirus cause a big city exodus?

Economic sociology refers to sociological aspects influencing the economic indicators and their relationship with social outcomes. It is the study of how the material conditions of life are produced and reproduced through social processes and broadly covers the sociology of markets and the sociology of consumptions. Possible economics dissertation topics in this area include:

  • The role of social networks in supporting innovation activities in mature industries.
  • The financial and non-financial support of family in the development of successful entrepreneurship.
  • The private network as the facilitator of the firm start-up.
  • Exploring the differences between trust and power in local productive systems.
  • Social contracts and peer-pressure as the source of traditional industry development in the UK.
  • Can cultural mix increase productivity in creative industries? Evidence from the UK.
  • The role of social and intellectual capital in rural places in the UK.
  • Is social capital a critical factor in the British creative industries?
  • How can universities take advantage of social networks to induce entrepreneurial action among their students?
  • The role and contribution of social entrepreneurship in the UK.
  • The economic impact of migration from different regions of the world to the UK. Comparative analysis between the EU and the non-EU migration.
  • Is the relationship between economic and social development linear?
  • The convergence of economic systems in the wake of globalisation and their implications on the social development across developed, emerging and developing national economies.

Institutional Economics relates to a variety of economics traditions that are concerned with social institutions which are linked to consumption, distribution and production of goods and services as well as the underlying corresponding social relations. In essence, Institutional Economics has a relatively broad inquiry scope and is considered to have relatively close ties with other disciplines such as anthropology, economic sociology, psychology, economic history, behavioural economics, behavioural finance, physical science, management and business studies, and nowadays neuro, cognitive and brain science. This implies that there are various dissertation topics that can fall under the Institutional Economics bracket; some of these include the following.

  • An assessment of the implications of Institutional Economics methodologies for the analysis of the property market.
  • A study of how the theoretical assumptions of the New Institutional Economics’ (NIE) micro analytical level influence a firm’s choice of governance structures.
  • How do habits and routines affect productivity? The case of (an industry).
  • How does the culture mix impact on the organisation of firms in the UK?
  • Resilience to economic shrinking in an emerging economy: the role of social capabilities.
  • Financial constraint, trust, and export performances: The case of UK SMEs.
  • Efficiency in the property market in the UK: An institutional perspective.
  • Transaction costs and economic development.
  • A resource-based theory analysis to firm co-operation.
  • How can transaction costs economics account for inter-firm collaboration?
  • Ownership and control in the UK: An institutional analysis.
  • Institutions and policies of economic freedom: different effects on income and growth.
  • How does job experience relate to entrepreneurship? Evidence from the UK.
  • Educational aspects of entrepreneurship. The role of formal school in promoting entrepreneurial capacities in the UK.
  • Latent entrepreneurship: the UK vs Europe.

Microeconomics has to do with supply and demand, and with the way they interact in various markets. It is andconcerned with how economic agents, that is, individual decision-makers (both consumers and producers) behave in different economic settings. The overarching goal of microeconomic research is to identify the incentives of various agents and trade-offs that they may face. To understand behaviour of individuals in terms of their economic decision-making, researchers build various models, use data and conduct experiments.

The following are the examples of dissertation topics on ‘Microeconomics’:

  • The evolution of household consumption in the UK over the last 10 years: Trends in consumer behaviour.
  • Are mergers and acquisitions related to productivity in UK firms?
  • Is the minimum wage still relevant in the UK economy?
  • Is the British retail sector becoming less oligopolistic? An analysis of the impact of new supermarkets.
  • Are British oligopolistic markets really oligopolistic?
  • Conditions for the existence of a knowledge firm.
  • Characteristics of the innovative organisation in the UK.
  • Are UK firms more innovative than their European counterparts?
  • The impact of the European regional policy on British small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • The energy market in the UK: A microeconomic approach.
  • The impact of regulation on British industries: The case study of Uk energy sector.
  • Does firm size affect firm profits? Evidence from telecommunication firms in the UK.
  • Game theory and decision theory.

Macroeconomics is concerned with how the overall economy works and how all markets interact to generate big phenomena that economists call aggregate variables. It studies such things as employment, gross domestic product, inflation, national income, employment and the interaction between the global economy and financial markets.

The following are the examples of dissertation topics on ‘Macroeconomics’:

  • How do interest rates affect consumption in the UK?
  • What is the role of the dollar evolution in UK spending?
  • The magnitude of the impact of oil price changes on UK consumption.
  • The impact of Brexit on consumer spending in the UK.
  • The impact of Brexit on employment and labour in the UK.
  • What factors influence the salary inequality across the UK?
  • The evolution of the exchange rates in the UK: Causes and consequences.
  • Negative interest household savings in the UK.
  • The impact of the common agriculture policy (CAP) on British agriculture.
  • Economic growth and productivity. The UK in the century transition.
  • Interest rates and foreign direct investment in the UK.
  • Brexit and foreign direct investment in the UK.
  • Monetary policy pass-through for the UK after Brexit.
  • Development of UK monetary policy overtime.
  • Does inflation affect firms’ profits in the UK?
  • Macroeconomic determinant of house prices in the UK.
  • Unemployment and regional mobility of labour in the UK.
  • The impact of finance on growth: The case of UK.
  • Economic growth and unemployment: Is there a relationship in the UK?
  • The macroeconomics of SMEs entrepreneurship in the UK.
  • Global economic recession and factors that contribute to it.
  • Is the UK insurance system economically viable?
  • How does the Greek financial crisis impact the EU economy overtime?
  • The impact of COVID income inequality in the UK.
  • Coronavirus and wage inequality: The case of UK manufacturing sector.
  • COVID and economic recession: Will the impact be more pronounced than the 2007 financial recession?
  • Role of information technology in economic development.
  • Social inequality: the difference between wealth and income.
  • Why is insurance necessary for the economic development of a country?
  • How is the tax burden shared between buyers and sellers in the UK?
  • Asymmetric information and adverse market selection: A case study of UK insurance market.
  • Economic rent and transfer earnings in the UK.

This discipline is focused on understanding the dynamics of regions as smaller economies with their own circumstances and outcomes. The focus is on the internal working of the regional economies as well as on their interaction with other regions. There is a component of economic growth and development at a regional level. The suggestions below will give you further ideas for your economics dissertation topics:

  • Regional development and profitability of the businesses. What are the factors underpinning this relationship?
  • The contribution of entrepreneurial networks for regional development.
  • Implications and development of regional development policy in the UK.
  • Infrastructures and regional development. How can the rail and road network explain the differences in the development of regions in the UK.
  • Regional comparative advantage in natural resources and regional development.
  • Effect of regional policy surrounding start-ups on regional development: more new firms or better old ones?
  • The role of broadband internet technology in regional development: co-relation between internet speeds and regional development?
  • Public investment and regional output: Evidence from the UK regions.
  • Robustness of regional institutions and development: How to search for a link?
  • Regional aspects of entrepreneurship in the UK.
  • Differences between types and extent of entrepreneurship and unemployment across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Convergence and endogenous growth differences between South East England and the rest of the UK.

Employment/Labour Economics Dissertation Topics

Employment is considered to be a key concept in economics and its significance is reflected in the perception that people at work are seen as individuals/groups of individuals involved in the production of services and goods. Such production requires human capital and time; thus, organisations of different types pay people that are involved in the production process providing them with income that is later used to boost economic activity. In macroeconomics, low rates of national employment may signal underdevelopment or long-lasting depression while high rates of national employment may signal economic growth and development. Below is a list of dissertation topics that cover the area of employment economics.

  • Work from home or office and employee wellbeing: The case of the COVID pandemic.
  • A study of how flexible employment affects political support for social policy protection.
  • The impact of gender inequality in employment on economic growth and workforce productivity.
  • The influence of economic cycles on employment, workforce productivity and innovation: a study of manufacturing industries.
  • Local pools on unemployment in the UK: Looking for similarities.
  • Factors determining self-employment in the UK.
  • The effects of minimum wages on British employment.
  • How does technological innovation affect British unemployment? Evidence from the manufacturing industries.
  • A comparison of self-employment across Europe: Where does the UK stand?
  • Government policies in support of self-employment: Evidence from the UK.
  • The effects of immigration on British employment and productivity.

Financial economics concentrates on exchanges in which money of one type or another is likely to appear on both sides of a trade. Financial markets are crucial in facilitating these exchanges at a relatively reduced transaction cost. In many such cases, the amount of money to be transferred in the future is uncertain. Financial economists thus deal with both time and uncertainty. Often the latter is called risk. Financial economics is thus a branch of economics that examines the utilisation and distribution of economic resources in financial markets in which decisions must be made under uncertainty.

The following are examples of dissertation topics on ‘Financial Economics’:

  • How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the UK stock market?
  • How is the FTSE affected by interest rates?
  • Does CAPM measure the risk of stocks listed on the FTSE 100?
  • How does the behaviour of the FSTE 100 affect economic growth?
  • Behavioural finance: A study on the motivation of British investors.
  • The determinants of corporate debt in the UK.
  • The role of private equity and debt market in the finances of SMEs in the UK.
  • Do SMEs achieve higher profitability rates than large corporations in the UK?
  • The financial structure of British firms: A comparison with the European Union.
  • Financial markets and financial intermediation in the UK.
  • Temporary and permanent components of asset prices in the UK.
  • Capital and financial structure of UK companies.
  • Investor protection and corporate governance: Comparison between EU and US financial market.
  • Political uncertainty on asset prices.

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128 Interesting Economics Topics to Write About


Let’s face it; there comes a time in a student’s life when he or she needs to write a lengthy essay about a topic in the economy. This is probably why you are searching desperately for economics research topics. While you may be able to find several economics research paper topics online, most of them are simple and don’t come up with anything new. Your professor won’t be impressed by this kind of research paper topic in economics. He wants something unique – something original!

The Importance of Good Economics Research Topics

You may be wondering why economics research topics for students are so important. The truth is that doing economics research on a trivial topic won’t get you a top grade. To get an A+ or even an A, you need to write a unique economics research paper on a topic that nobody in your class thought of. The topics for an economics research paper you choose must show your professor that you did your homework and that you really struggle to write an exceptional academic paper.

The 128 Economics Research Paper Topics We Promised

We asked our writers to come up with a list of new economics research topics list. These economics topics for the research paper are brand new and can be used in 2022. The list will be updated periodically as well. Our research topics for economics are split into 10 main categories, so you have plenty of different topics to choose from.

Economics Research Topics for Undergraduates for 2022

Finding some good economics research topics for undergraduates is not easy. We’ve put together a list of the 7 most interesting topics. Keep in mind that you can use any of our topics for free:

  • What is fiscal policy?
  • How is the exchange rate set by banks?
  • Describe 3 opportunity costs.
  • Why are certain resources rare?
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis on an action of your choice.
  • How do we achieve profit maximization?
  • What are the ethical rules in the economy?
  • A historical report on economics and its origins.
  • A detailed analysis of Product Markets.
  • Can a future economic crisis be predicted and prevented?
  • Israel’s economic redemption.

Excellent Behavioral Economics Research Topics

Yes, there is such a thing as behavioral economics. To prove it, we’ve compiled a list of 6 behavioral economics research topics that we thing will awe your professors. The topics below are not simple, be warned:

  • What makes most people happy and why?
  • Our brains really are irrational, but predictably irrational.
  • What is the economy of trust?
  • Analyzing Uber as part of the economy of trust.
  • Big data is missing some important human insights.
  • The changes in your brain when you are making a great deal.
  • A long-term analysis of business processes including rising in revenue and competition effectiveness.
  • The issues regarding externalities in microeconomics.
  • Understanding consumer equilibrium.

Quick and Simple Research Topics in Economics

Not all students have ample time to research a topic for days. If you are in a hurry or need to submit the paper in the next 2 days, pick one of these simple research topics in economics:

  • What is economic forecasting?
  • Explaining the methodology of microeconomics.
  • Analyzing the economics of the workforce in the US.
  • What are the matching markets in the United Kingdom?
  • Is privatization a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Explain the structure of a market in the United States.
  • How do wars affect the economy of both sides of the conflict?
  • What the Chilean government do to help save its economy.
  • What is the Laffer Curve?
  • What are the main models of economic regulation?

Microeconomics Topics

Looking at the individual level, microeconomics explores how trade between individuals takes place. It covers the basics of supply and demand. Some of the most interesting research topics in economics are:

  • Explaining the market and competition concepts.
  • What is inflation (sources and consequences)?
  • Explaining the competition’s influence on price.
  • What is the balance between demand and supply in microeconomics?
  • Explain production expenses and profit.
  • What are the opportunity costs?
  • What does “perfect competition” mean in microeconomics?
  • Describe how the stock market works.
  • What does the future hold for the U.S. stock market?
  • How do choose stocks that will be profitable?
  • How does the banking system operate in the U.S?

Microeconomics Term Paper Topics

Macroeconomics may not be the easiest subject to write a term paper on. But picking the right topic is half the battle. Here are some topics on microeconomics that you can use for your next term paper.

  • What is the concept of supply and demand’s balance?
  • An evaluation of a business’s production expenses, income, and pricing.
  • The concept of markets and financial competitors in the economy.
  • A detailed analysis of inflation and its many aspects.
  • How exactly does the stock market operate?
  • The allocation of scarce resources amongst businesses.
  • “Perfect Competition” what does this term mean in microeconomics?
  • The role supply and demand play in a country’s economy.
  • Is there a possibility for private health care businesses to merge with state health care systems?
  • The most effective methods to promote sales both online and in retail.
  • An analytical report on the inflation methods contained in the U.S and Europe.
  • The significance the 2008 – 2009 financial crisis had on small businesses throughout the world.
  • The significance of banks and the part they play in our economy.
  • The regulation of foreign country’s economies.
  • Reasons for the global financial crisis occurring between 2008 – 2009.

Macroeconomics Topics

Macroeconomics is the field of economics that deals with the larger picture. It shows how trade between countries works and how the international economic system functions. Here are the best such economics topics for research enthusiasts:

  • The implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on the United States economy.
  • What are the measures that stimulate GDP growth in the UK?
  • Predicting the future GBP rate in the UK (or the United States).
  • The 3 steps a government can take to diminish the risk of default.
  • What did it take for the Singapore economic miracle to appear?
  • The role of banks in the United States economy.
  • The 3 best ways to reduce the budget deficit in the United Kingdom.
  • Biggest factors contributing to the U.S. state budget in 2019.
  • Lee Kuan Yew and his improvement to Singapore’s economy.
  • How can we increase GDP growth in the country?
  • Does the idea of the U.S. GDP rate rising seem promising?
  • What can the government do to limit potential economic issues from occurring?
  • The U.S has had its lowest unemployment rate since 1969. Can it continue?
  • The effect of tax-cutting signed into law by President Donald Trump.
  • The purpose of the International Monetary Fund and how it helped various countries in Asia and Europe.
  • “Opportunity Costs” What does it mean and what are the differences between and implicit and explicit costs?
  • Can market failures be predicted and what causes them to happen?
  • What is game theory and how can it be implemented in daily life?
  • What are the different components that make up an economic crisis?
  • The pros and cons of going to American and European economic schools.
  • The best possible ways to lower the state budget deficit.
  • What are the factors for cryptocurrency failing in 2022?
  • How does the stock market have indirect control of inflation?

Best Health Economics Research Topics

Even though it may not be clear at first, economies are greatly influenced by peoples’ health. As such, papers on health economics research topics are very interesting to read and offer excellent insight into the causes and effects of some economic problems:

  • Does economics influence world hunger?
  • Perfect competition in the world of pharmaceuticals.
  • 3 ways to optimize revenue collection in a public hospital.
  • How do we justify free health care in the US?
  • Does banning smoking influence the economy?
  • The effect of chronic diseases on the workforce.
  • Health insurance is important, but why?
  • An unhealthy country is equal to a poor country.
  • How can we find the ideal balance between finance and nature today?
  • Inflation in first-world countries and possible solutions to lower the impact.
  • The negative results come from limited commodity availability. Is there a way to prevent a lack of resources?

Challenging Economics Research Paper Topics

It may not be to your liking, but we have to include some challenging economics research topics for students. Some students love a good challenge, so the following topics will keep them busy for some time:

  • Analyzing the economic significance of labor organizations in the UK.
  • An in-depth analysis of the History of Economic Thought.
  • The deficiencies of the economic systems of the former Soviet Union satellite states.
  • Explaining the way a neoliberal reform is implemented.
  • The correlation between food policy, economics, and world hunger issues.
  • How do we create demand in a highly competitive market?
  • Analyzing the complex economics of the military industry.
  • What is Game Theory and how does it affect today’s economic processes?
  • A detailed report on how to conduct neoliberal reforms.
  • What is the purpose and significance of American labor organizations?
  • What does the future hold for economic systems in former Soviet Republics?

Term Paper Economics Topics

When it comes to term papers, you need to pick some research topics in economics that are interesting and that can be researched thoroughly. We find that the following topics have the most potential:

  • The difference between private and public choice.
  • Analyzing consumer behavior.
  • Exploring the concept of demand elasticity.
  • How is wage determined?
  • Does a minimum wage have negative effects on the economy?
  • Do genders influence the economy in the UK?
  • Analyzing the costs of production (the long run and the short run).
  • The 3 most heated debates in macroeconomic policies.
  • Does immigration affect the economy of the United States?

Top Environmental Economics Research Topics

The environment affects the economy more than you think. Changes like global warming and ocean pollution are having a serious effect. Here are some excellent environmental economics research topics:

  • Conduct a benefit to cost analysis on environmental regulation.
  • The importance of analyzing drinking water contaminants.
  • The evolution of institutions considering climate change.
  • Analyzing risk management in natural disaster scenarios.
  • The effect of greenhouse gases on economic growth.
  • The effect of global warming on economic growth in the US.
  • An in-depth analysis of the European Union Emission Trading System.
  • Can waste management be viewed as a rare resource?

Social Security Economic Topics

We are all affected by social security changes, so what better way to prove to your teacher that you’ve really taken the time to find a good topic than picking such a topic? Some excellent economics research topics are:

  • What is the real interest rate and how is it calculated?
  • Personal finance versus corporate finance.
  • How is social security calculated from an economist’s point of view?
  • Analyzing the 4 basic financial calculations.
  • Are pensions affected by an economic decline?
  • What are the futures? (stock market)
  • What are the options? (stock market)

Great Economics Research Topics Are Here!

These economics research topics are exactly what you need if you need to find a good topic quickly. Don’t forget that you can modify the topics as you see fit. But more importantly, don’t forget that even the best topics can’t replace economics research writing skills. You need to learn how to write an amazing essay in the proper academic format if you are to take an A or an A+. Otherwise, seek help from a professional economics writer ASAP!

Are you stuck with writing your thesis? Just enter promo “ mythesis ” – that’s all you need to get a 20% discount for any economics writing assignment you might possibly have!

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Economics Essay Topics: 162 Practical Ideas & Useful Tips

what is a economic thesis topic

Essay writing is an inherent part of the economics studying process. Nevertheless, it is quite a challenging task. Are you a high school or college student who is struggling with an economic essay topic choice? Or maybe you are unsure about your writing skills?

We know how to help you .

The following article will guide you in choosing the best topic for your essay on economics. Here, you can find a variety of ideas for high school or college. The economic essay topics are divided into several categories that will help you with your research. And a pleasant bonus from our team! We have created a great guide on how to write an economics essay.

So, don’t miss your chance to write an outstanding economic paper! Check out our essay ideas, read our tips carefully, and be ready to receive your grade A!

  • ⭐ Best Economic Topics
  • 🤝 Socio-Economic
  • 🗺️ International Economics
  • 🛠️ Labor Economics
  • 🌆 Urban Economics
  • ⚽ Sports Economics
  • 💉 Health Economics
  • 💼 Business Economics
  • 🏤 Globalization
  • 🧮 Economic History
  • 💫 How to Write?

⭐ 15 Best Economic Essay Topics

  • 2008 Economic Crisis.
  • Socio-economic policy.
  • Economic systems – Singapore.
  • Racial pay gap.
  • Economic globalization.
  • History of online trading.
  • Child labor policies.
  • The Economic Naturalist.
  • Foundations of economic theory.
  • Impact of unemployment.
  • Universal Basic Income.
  • The role of consumerism.
  • Healthcare economics – Canada’s Medicare.
  • Reasons for recession.
  • Cryptocurrency & environmental issues.

✨ Excellent Economic Essay Topics

Has economics always been a subject of meticulous research? The question is quite controversial, right? There is no specific time when economics started its rapid progress. Generally, economics remains the topic of interest since the establishment of capitalism in the Western world.

Nowadays, the economy is the main engine that moves our world forward. The way we do business determines the geopolitical situation in the world. Moreover, it influences many other parts of our lives.

The skills developed through studying economics are incredibly versatile.

Economics studying is of utmost importance nowadays. It helps to gain a better understanding of processes that put everything in motion.

Economics is quite broad, so it has a great variety of subfields. And this is a fantastic opportunity for us to generate as many essay ideas as possible. Here, you will find great economic topics for your paper. As mentioned before, we have divided them into several sections to ease your selection process. There’s a wide selection of free college essays samples on economics in our database, too. So be sure to check that out.

🤝 Socio-Economic Essay Topics

  • The economic impact of racial segregation in America in the 1950s.
  • Designing a just socio-economic system.
  • Socio-economic status of Hong Kong in modern-day China. Explain how the city of Hong Kong gained a special status in China. Why did it emerge as one of the most important cities in its economy? Comment on the significance of Hong Kong in the international economic arena.
  • Economic growth in the United States in the post-World War 2 period.
  • Mobile banking in Saudi Arabia: towards understanding the factors that affect the sector.
  • The importance of Dior’s bar suit to the women’s fashion industry.
  • Economic problems in the 1980’s Soviet Union. Talk about the significant problems with the economy the USSR had in the 1980s. What role did they play in its collapse?
  • What socio-economic problems did segregation in South Africa cause?
  • History of economic development in the UAE. Discuss the economic miracle in the UAE and Dubai. Explain how the government could turn the city of Dubai into one of the most famous tourist destinations. What strategies were applied?
  • Gender inequality and socio-economic development .
  • The problem of poverty in Venezuela.
  • How the socio-economic and political position of women changed between 1880 and 1940.
  • The economic impact of COVID-19 on global trade.

World trade is expected to fall due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • How do the three main economic groups interact with each other? There are three critical economic groups: – Consumers – Producers – Government Analyze the interaction of these groups with each other.
  • Extended essay: how the study of economic data helped our society to advance?
  • Western industrialization socio-economic impacts.
  • Inequality at the top: not all billionaires have the same powers. Analyze billionaires’ net worth, liquidity, political power, and wealth security. Explain why they have unequal social status. What factors determine the influence of billionaires?
  • An analysis of systems that help us measure agricultural development in a country.
  • Is social media a useful tool for brand promotion?
  • The phenomenon of dualism in economic development.

🗺️ International Economics Essay Topics

  • Globalization and its impact on international economic relations. Define the term globalization. What role does globalization play in international economic relations? Provide specific examples of globalization’s impact on the global political economy.
  • The lack of justice for the cheap international labor market. Discuss the issue of cheap labor in various countries. Why do some workers often lack fundamental human rights while others abuse moral norms? Analyze the causes and effects of inequality in the workplace.
  • Japan macroeconomics: problems and possible solutions.
  • The issue of mercantilism in the history of Great Britain. Analyze the rise and development of mercantilism in the history of Great Britain. To solidify your ideas, provide persuasive arguments, and appropriate examples of mercantilism.
  • Why does the problem of environmental protection remain unresolved among global economies?
  • Nissan Motor company’s international business.
  • International environmental concerns in economics: the case of China .
  • The issue of international criminal justice in industry. Explain why international businesses often avoid criminal justice after wrongdoings. Select one case of unethical behavior of a company’s CEO or regular employee. Briefly introduce the problem. What were the causes and effects? How was the issue resolved? Express your own opinion regarding the lack of criminal justice in business.
  • The economy of Singapore and its role in international trade.
  • International microeconomics trade dispute case study: US-China dispute on the exportation of raw materials.
  • The phenomenon of the “gig economy” and its impact on the global economy.
  • The effect of population growth in the international economy.
  • International economics in the context of globalization.

Technological and political changes have chipped away at the barriers separating nations.

  • How does Brexit affect the economy of the European Union? Analyze the immediate impact of Brexit on the EU’s economy. Predict future advantages and disadvantages of Brexit for both: Great Britain and the EU.
  • South Africa: international agribusiness, trade, and financing.
  • Historical essay: the economy of the Dutch East India company.
  • The issue of Mozambique’s economy and possible solutions. Investigate the issue of extreme poverty in Mozambique. What are some possible solutions to the problem of poverty? Base your suggestions on the country’s cultural, historical, and geographical aspects.
  • Imbalances in the global economy. Discuss the imbalances between trading countries on the scale of the global economy. What solutions would you suggest to deal with this issue?
  • How will global economies adapt to China’s growing power?
  • Etihad Airways company managerial economics.

🛠️ Labor Economics Essay Topics

  • Ford Motor company’s labor economics.
  • Labor economics: child labor.
  • The UPS firm perspective: the labor market.
  • Gender inequality of wage rate in modern business. Research how and why gender inequality is still an issue in the modern world of economics. What are some ways to deal with the problem? Present your ideas accurately and effectively. Provide solid arguments and appropriate examples to prove your position.
  • What are the best ways to increase labor productivity in business?
  • Labor unions adverse effects on economics.
  • The decrease of the labor force in modern industries. Talk about the rising rates of robotization in the majority of industries. How will it affect the traditional labor force? Comment on the problem of unemployment caused by labor automatization.
  • Violations of labor rights of workers.
  • Modern labor essay: how can an entrepreneur guarantee the minimum wage to their workers?
  • How can labor geography help develop a special economic zone? Talk about labor geography and its effects on developing an exclusive economic zone. How does the geopolitical location of a particular country influence its level of economic development?
  • Entrepreneurship in the organic cosmetics sphere.
  • Gender-oriented labor trade unions. A case study. Discuss the gender-oriented trade unions and analyze their impact on our society.
  • Child labor in the Turkish cotton industry.

The Syrian refugee crisis increased the risks of child labor in Turkey.

  • The connection between economic growth and demography. Analyze the connection between economic growth and its demographic context. Investigate both sides: – The issue of overpopulation – The problem of low birth rate. From an economic perspective, what problem is more dangerous?
  • The issue of sex discrimination in the workplace.
  • The effects of Landrum-Griffin Labor Act. Explore the labor Act of Landrum-Griffin that was passed in the US Congress in 1959. Discuss its implications and consequences. Discuss its implications and consequences.

🌆 Urban Economics Essay Topics

  • Cities and their role in aggregate economics.
  • Urbanization in Hong Kong and its effects on citizens.
  • The urban planning of the city of New York: a critical analysis. Analyze the urban history of NY. How has the city been developing? Discuss revolutionary solutions to the past and problems of modern times.
  • The impact of a city’s design on the local traffic.
  • Dubai’s spatial planning: creative solutions for building a city in the desert.
  • Globalization, urban political economy, and economic restructuring.
  • How do urban areas affect local wildlife? Comment on how modern production technologies in urban areas impact the natural diversity of wildlife. What impact does the rapid economic progress have on the environment? Suggest possible solutions.
  • Urban sociology: does the city make us better people?
  • Why should people be more careful about investing in real estate? Discuss the issues of overinvestment into real estate. Consider the economic crisis of 2008 as an example.
  • How can regional authorities help improve a city?
  • Urban life and its effects on education.
  • The economic development of a city’s metropolitan area: challenges and solutions.
  • Main factors for the emergence of cities in the Middle Ages.
  • The ethics of relocation: is it justified? Talk about the case of relocating locals when building projects of great magnitude. To what extent can it be justified? Mention its economic and ethical side.
  • The difficulties behind the construction of “green” buildings. Discuss the relatively new phenomenon of environmentally friendly buildings. Analyze both sides: the pros and cons. What obstacles lie behind the “green” building? What opportunities do the “green” buildings offer? Elaborate on your ideas by providing clear arguments or counterarguments.
  • What factors play a critical role in the success of retail productivity in cities?

⚽ Sports Economics Essay Topics

  • Do teams with higher budgets perform better on the field?
  • Corruption in European football leagues: a critical analysis. Investigate the corruption issue in the European football leagues. State reasons and solutions for the problem.
  • The managerial catastrophe of Arsenal F.C.

Discuss the football club of Arsenal.

  • The NextG sports company’s communication planning.
  • Roger D. Blair’s Sports Economics literary review. Write a literary analysis of Sports Economics by Roger D. Blair. Discuss his opinion on the economy of sports. Do you agree or disagree with his position? Provide compelling supportive arguments or strong counterarguments.
  • How significant is the impact factor of a local team on a city’s economy?
  • Kinsmen Sports Centre: marketing metrics innovation.
  • What role does statistical data play in sports? Analyze the part of economic statistical data in different sports organizations. How can statistics help to develop an effective financing plan? Comment on the impact of financing on the performance of a sports club.
  • Sports and energy drinks marketing analysis.
  • Is there a connection between the lack of money and any contemporary issues in a sports team?
  • Performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
  • The business of FIFA: a financial analysis. Investigate the finances of FIFA. What economic factors make them so influential in the modern world of football?
  • The global sports retail industry.
  • The Olympics: logistics and economy. Discuss the logistics behind the Olympics Games event. How the Olympic Games impact the economy of the host country?

💉 Health Economics Essay Topics

  • Is bioprinting the new future of medicine? Analyze the new market of organ printing and discuss its challenges. Investigate bioprinting from an economic perspective. Will the outputs cover the inputs? How will bioprinting impact the financial aspect of the health care sector?
  • Cost-effectiveness of pharmaceutical products in the United States. Comment on the immense cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. What do you think is the price of pharmaceutical products reasonable? Is it ethical to set extremely high prices on the medicals?
  • An economic evaluation of the antibiotics market.
  • Health economics-SIC and NAICS.
  • The financial side of cancer treatment: is it too expensive? Analyze the market for cancer treatment programs in various countries. Explore its costs and complications. What are some possible ways to reduce the price of cancer treatment and make it more affordable?
  • The issue of fast food consumption: a multibillion-dollar market . Fast food has always been one of the notable causes of obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. Investigate the economic aspect of the issue. Are high profits from fast food production worth peoples’ health conditions?
  • History and evolution of healthcare economics.

Health has become a dominant economic and political issue over the past years.

  • The financial management of a hospital: a case study.
  • The issue of public healthcare in the USA. Write about the long-standing issue of medical sector operation in the USA. Analyze its history, financial, and social aspects.
  • Demand in healthcare economics.
  • What are the economic outcomes of a global pandemic? Taking the COVID-19 outbreak as an example, conduct research on the effects of a pandemic on the economy. How does it affect local economies? What impact does the quarantine have on the international economy? Provide appropriate examples to support your ideas.

💼 Business Economics Essay Topics

  • When does an advertising campaign become unnecessary?
  • Sustainable development of a nation’s economic stability. Discuss how a country can create a sustainable economy. Provide bright examples to solidify your position.
  • How can a small business compete with monopolies?
  • What are the limitations of the Lewis Model?
  • The phenomenon of inflation: inevitable liability or a land of opportunity for our economies? Explore the process of inflation in modern economies. Does it only have adverse effects on the countries’ economies? Are there any advantages of inflation? Analyze it from a positive perspective.
  • Economics, business, and sugar in the UK.
  • The shadow economy of the finance sector. Dive into the backstage of the finance sector and research various “grey” areas where business can be done.
  • Chinese and Japanese business systems comparison.
  • Oil demand and its changes in the XXI century: a critical analysis. Analyze the oil sector and write about its fluctuation in the XXI century. How did the changes in oil demand affect the global economy?
  • The social and economic impact of mass emigration.

🌠 40 More Good Economic Essay Topics

Scrolled through our ideas, but can’t find a suitable topic for yourself? No worries! We have more issues to share with you.

So, don’t stress out. Take a look at our list of economical essay topics. Here are 40 more ideas focusing on globalization and the history of economics.

🏤 Economic Globalization Essay Topics

  • The impact of globalization on the tourist industry in the Caribbean . Analyze both: the positive and negative effects of globalization on the Caribbean. To make your paper well-structured, explore two advantages and two disadvantages. Don’t forget to improve your essay with strong evidence and appropriate examples!
  • Toyota Motor Corporation: impacts of globalization.
  • What are the effects of globalization on developing countries? To what extent do developing countries profit from globalization? Research the subject by comparing various examples.
  • Defining globalization and its effects on current trade.
  • Economic growth as a result of globalization: proper financial strategies. How can a country successfully achieve prosperity with globalization? Discuss proper economic strategies.
  • The socio-political significance of the IT industry’s globalization.
  • Human trafficking in developing nations as a result of globalization.

Modern-day trafficking of humans has become more rewarding for traffickers due to globalization.

  • Globalization and criminal justice policy.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalization?
  • Globalization challenges and countermeasures.
  • The effect of globalization on worldwide trade and employment rates.
  • Economic integration within the European Union: a critical analysis. Talk about the history of economic integration within the EU. What are the negative and positive outcomes of economic integration?
  • Globalization and food in Japan.
  • Does globalization bring negative effects to cultural heritage and identity?
  • The Industrial Revolution as the first step towards globalization. Focus on the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Discuss its precursors and consequences. Why is the revolution considered to be a starting point of globalization? Provide specific examples of globalization processes that occurred in the economic sector after the Industrial revolution.
  • Globalization 2.0 an analysis of a book by David Rieff.
  • Globalization effects on fundamentalism growth.
  • Does direct investment by foreign businesses come with strings attached? Dive into the shady area of globalization and discuss how to direct foreign investment can bring problems of geopolitical scale.
  • Effects of globalization on sexuality.
  • Alibaba’s globalization strategy: an economic analysis.

🧮 Economic History Essay Topics

  • The rapid economic growth of Europe during the Age of Discovery. Analyze the factors that brought economic growth to Europe during the Age of Discovery. What factors contributed to the dynamic economic progress of that time?
  • Brazil’s economic history.
  • History of capitalism: from the Renaissance to the United States of America. Discuss the origins of capitalism and its centuries-long path towards XXth century America. How the establishment of capitalism impacted the economy of the USA?
  • Max Weber: economic history, the theory of bureaucracy, and politics as a vocation.
  • 2008 Economic Crisis: origins and fallout. Talk about the 2008 Financial Crisis. Discuss its causes and outcomes. What should have been done differently to avoid the global crisis? Comment on the economic strategies countries used to recover from it.
  • The economic marvel of Communist China: from rags to riches.
  • What made world economic growth of the Renaissance possible?

Renaissance Europe had a very diverse economy.

  • The economic history of Canada: how did the settlers facilitate economic growth?
  • What did the major powers of the XIXth century base their economies on?
  • The Rothschilds: political and financial role in the Industrial Revolution. Research the dynasty of Rothschilds and how they came to power. What was their role in Europe’s Industrial Revolution?
  • The link between the “oil curse” and the economic history of Latin America.
  • Roman Empire’s monetary policy: a socio-economic analysis.
  • How did the demand for different goods change their value in the 2000s years? Analyze the demand for goods in the 2000s years and their change in value. Why do these fluctuations in demand for products and services occur?
  • The history of economic thought.
  • Soviet Union’s economic timeline: from the new Economic Policy to Reformation. Discuss the economic issues of the Soviet Union from the historical perspective. Why did the Soviet Union collapse? What improvements in the financial sector should have been done?
  • History of France economics over the past 20 years.
  • The history of economic analysis.
  • The concept of serfdom and slavery as the main economic engine of the past. Dive into the idea of feudalism and serfdom. Discuss its social and economic aspects.
  • The World Bank’s structure, history, activities.
  • The history of Islamic banking: concepts and ideas.

💫 How to Write an Economics Essay?

Generally, essay writing on economics has the same structure as any other essay. However, there are some distinctive features of economic papers. Thus, it is essential to figure them out from the very beginning of your work.

You might be wondering what those aspects of the economic paper are. Well, we have an answer.

An economic essay usually relies on the common essay structure.

Below, you will find a detailed plan that explains the fundamental concepts of the essay writing process. So, don’t hesitate to use our tips! They are indeed helpful.

Pick a topic and dissect it. Picking the right topic is the very basis of writing a successful essay. Think of something that you will be interested in and make sure you understand the issue clearly. Also, don’t forget to check our ultimate economics essay topics and samples list!

Research it. After selecting the right idea from our economical essay topics, research your subject thoroughly. Try to find every fascinating and intriguing detail about it. Remember that you can always ask your fellow students, friends, or a teacher for help.

Come up with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an essential element of your essay. It will determine your focus and guide the readers throughout your paper. Make your thesis secure and try to catch the reader’s attention using context and word choice.

Outline your essay. Never underestimate the power of a well-structured outline! Creating an essay outline can significantly help you to determine your general plan. Evaluate which economic framework you will be using to address the issue. State the main points of your thesis and antithesis. Make sure that they answer the central question of your work.

Write your introduction. First and foremost, a practical introduction should capture the readers’ attention and state the essay’s key topic. So, put enough effort to develop an outstanding introduction. It will create the first impression of your paper.

Moreover, an introduction should include a thesis statement. As we have mentioned above, a thesis plays a crucial role. Thus, make sure it is clearly stated.

Another significant feature of the introduction is its coherence with the body of your essay. Consequently, the introductory paragraph’s last statement has to present the subject of the next section, generically. Also, keep in mind that no more than three key points can be discussed in a paper, even if it is an extended essay.

Thoroughly work on the body paragraphs. Usually, the body of the essay contains several paragraphs. The number of these paragraphs will depend on the nature of your question. Be sure to create one section for every critical point that you make. This will make your paper properly-structured, and the reader will quickly get your ideas. For your convenience, we created a plan to develop your ideas in each paragraph, So, use it and make your writing process easier!

  • Argument. Present your argument in the topic sentence of the paragraph in a way that directly answers the question. A hint: the most effective way to introduce the critical point is to place the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. This will help the readers to concentrate their attention on a specific idea.
  • Comment and discussion. Explain the meaning of your argument and provide an economic analysis. Present clear evidence and persuasive arguments to solidify your position.
  • Connection. Link your comments with the vital point of the paragraph. Demonstrate the coherence of your evidence with the point.
  • Diagrams, tables, charts. If necessary, provide the reader with visual aids. Sometimes, an appropriate diagram or a suitable chart can say more than words. Besides, your paper will look more professional if you use any kind of visual aids.

Conclude your essay. In your conclusion, summarize and synthesize your work by restating your thesis. Also, it is crucial to strengthen it by mentioning the practical value of your findings. Remember to make your essay readable by choosing appropriate wording and avoiding too complex grammar constructions.

Create a reference list at the bottom of your economic essay if you referred to sources.

Thank you for visiting our page! Did you enjoy our article and learned something new? We are glad to help you. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share the article with others!

🔗 References

  • High School Economics Topics: Econlib, The Library of Economics and Liberty
  • Guide to Writing an Economics Essay: The Economics Tutor
  • How to Write the Introduction of Your Development Economics Paper: David Evans, Center For Global Development
  • Senior Essay: Department of Economics, Yale University
  • Developing A Thesis: Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University
  • Academic Essay Writing, Some Guidelines: Department of Economics, Carleton University
  • The Writing Process: Writing Centre Resource Guide, LibGuides at Dalhousie University
  • Research Papers: KU Writing Center, the University of Kansas
  • Unpacking the Topic: University of Southern Queensland
  • Economic Issues: PIIE, Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Areas of Research: EPI, Economic Policy Institute
  • Top 100 Economics Blogs Of 2023: Prateek Agarwal, Intelligent Economist
  • Current Environmental Economic Topics, Environmental Economics: US EPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Hot Topics in the U.S. Economy: The Balance
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Economics Department

Writing a thesis.

Introduction Choosing a topic and an advisor Reviewing relevant literature Collecting data Creating results Finishing the thesis Revisions


Approaching a senior thesis in any major can be an intimidating prospect. However, like most large tasks, the thesis is much more manageable if you take it one step at a time and rely on your advisors to lead you in productive directions. The Economics Department tries very hard to support thesis students in their research and writing. The mid-year mini-orals and the early deadlines for first chapter and first draft all encourage seniors to make steady progress through the thesis year.

In some ways, economics is a particularly intimidating field in which to contemplate a thesis because much of the research literature that you read as an undergraduate makes use of mathematical tools that you are probably barely familiar with and not comfortable using on your own. Most seniors feel as though they are not capable of undertaking research at this level. But writing a senior thesis is quite a different task than getting a research paper published. Although a few economics theses have used the kind of sophisticated mathematical or econometric tools that are common in the journals, most seniors rely entirely on techniques that are learned in Reed's theory and econometrics courses.

What is a senior thesis? You may want to look at some economics theses in the library to get an idea for the scope of projects that recent seniors have undertaken. There is a lot of variation in Reed senior theses, but successful ones are nearly always based on a central question that the author attempts to answer: the thesis of the thesis. Investigating this question may lead you to review the research of others, to synthesize others' work in new ways, or to conduct theoretical or empirical research on your own. Sometimes the outcome of a thesis can be a detailed proposal for further research that the author thinks would provide a better answer than is available at present. In its most basic form, your thesis should be an argument, using tools, research and reasoning appropriate to the field of economics, in response to the central question you have chosen to investigate.

Producing a thesis can be broken down into a series of stages, as outlined below. Each stage involves a substantial amount of work and, to some degree, must be completed before the following stages can proceed. Steady progress throughout the year is crucial to a successful thesis. Students who achieve the benchmarks for progress set by the department and their advisors are usually able to minimize the amount of stress arising at the second-semester deadlines.

Choosing a topic and a thesis advisor

Selecting a good thesis topic is the first step in a successful thesis project. You will be devoting much of your energy over a nine-month period to studying this topic, so it is important to choose an area in which your interest is likely to be sustained through this lengthy research process.

Once you have selected the general area of your research, the choice of the thesis advisor is often obvious. If there is a member of the faculty with expertise in that area, that person should normally advise your thesis. However, many theses are very general or are specialized in areas outside the interests of the faculty. In cases where there is no obvious choice of advisor based on the subject of the thesis, you should request an advisor with whom you are comfortable working and whose advice you respect. Economics majors are asked to express a preference for a thesis advisor. However, if the advising load is excessively unbalanced in a particular year, some students may be asked to work with an advisor other than their first choice. In such cases, the department's decisions about who should be asked to change advisors will be guided mainly by thesis topics and the ability of alternative faculty to provide good advice.

Within your area of interest, the most crucial issue is doability. A major cause of disappointment and frustration for seniors is choosing a thesis topic on which it is difficult to make progress, either because the question is so large that they cannot manage it or because the question/topic cannot be easily investigating using the tools that they command.

While you are the best authority on your own areas of interest, you will have to rely on the faculty, and especially on your advisor, to help you find a specific thesis topic that you can complete on time with the resources that are available at Reed. Specific, focused topics are almost always better than highly general or vague ones. Questions like "How can we reduce water pollution?" or "What determines the rate of technological progress?" are so broad that an adequate answer could not fit into a senior thesis. However, within those general areas the faculty can help guide you to one of many doable theses.

Reviewing relevant literature

All scholars in economics build on the shoulders of others. The first step of your thesis research is to search broadly and deeply to find out what others have discovered about your question and related questions. There are many resources available at Reed to help you with this search. The first is your thesis advisor and other members of the faculty, who may be able to point you to prominent pieces of research that bear on your thesis.

Each of these papers will contain citations to earlier work on related topics. Other references can be found be searching for appropriate keywords in EconLit, which indexes all economics books and journals, or one of the public-affairs or newspaper indexes. These indexes are available online through the Reed Library website. If you cast your net broadly at the beginning, you are less likely to be surprised at the end to find that someone else has done research that diminishes the impact or credibility of your own work.

As you begin reading for your thesis, you should also begin writing. A thesis is usually a much larger project than a course paper and the strategy that has worked well for you on course papers may not work as well for the thesis. Many students write course papers in two discrete stages: the research (input) stage and the writing (output) stage. In the input stage you cram everything that you learn from your reading and research into your brain, then in the output stage you spew it back out in the form of a paper. Since most course papers are written in a couple of weeks and encompass a relatively small body of input, this strategy is often satisfactory. However, the thesis is written over nine months and many students read hundreds of articles and books in the early stages of research. This is too much information and too long a time for your brain to be able to keep track of all the input and save it up until you get to the end and begin outputting.

A better strategy is to begin writing the thesis the same day you begin reading for it. Keep detailed notes on everything you read, including full bibliographic information in the appropriate format. Reed has software available to help you keep a database of references. (Be very sure that your notes distinguish between the author's words and your own. Plagiarism can arise inadvertently if a student uses in the thesis a passage from his or her notes without realizing that it was a near-exact quotation copied into the notes months earlier.) Photocopy all passages you think you might want to quote and any tables that contain useful data. The notes you make as you read can be the basis of your literature-review chapter, which is the first piece of your thesis.

Collecting data (if needed)

If you are doing a thesis that requires empirical data, one of your biggest obstacles is likely to be assembling your data base. Since you cannot proceed with your econometric work until your data are in place, the prompt completion of your data collection is of critical importance. It is important to recognize that data collection is subject to the "90/10 Rule. Ninety percent of the time you spend obtaining data will be devoted to ten percent of the data series. Much of what you need is likely to be easily available through standard published or electronic sources. But there will be other data series for which you will have to search extensively and some you may not ever find. Do not be fooled by the ease with which you obtain the first series; there are almost always snags.

The first step in data collection is to compile a wish list. You should consider the characteristics of the data that are most desirable for your study: the frequency of observation and whether you are looking for aggregate or disaggregated data. List all of the variables that you think you might need. If you have doubts about the availability of some variables up front, formulate strategies for doing without them in case you cannot obtain them.

Once you have your list, start collecting numbers and entering them into your computer data base. Your advisor and other faculty members can probably guide you to sources of data that are relevant to your topic. For other sources, you may need to rely on the data resources discussed earlier in this chapter. The economics librarian can also be a highly useful source of further information.

Generating results

Once you have reviewed the relevant literature and collected the data you need for any empirical work you plan to do, you are ready to get down to the central task of research: generating results. The way that you achieve these results depends entirely on the research methodology you and your advisor have chosen. It may involve theoretical reasoning using economic models, combining and/or comparing the results of others, interpreting numerical data, estimating coefficients and testing hypotheses using econometric methods, or conducting experiments.

About all that can be said in general about the process of generating results is that some aspects of the results are very likely to surprise you. Solutions of theoretical models, regression results, and experimental outcomes usually do not end up exactly as you envisioned them at the beginning. If these results arrive just a few days before the draft of your thesis is due, you are unlikely to have time to develop a satisfactory explanation for them or to conduct the additional research that would resolve them. At a bare minimum, you should plan to have all of your results generated two weeks before the first draft of your thesis is due. This will give you at least a little time to reflect on and refine them in the completed thesis.

Finishing the thesis

The last stage of preparing your thesis draft is the formulation of your conclusions and the preparation of the thesis draft itself. In the euphoria and exhaustion of having completed their research, many students devote too little time to this important step. At this stage, you turn all the work you did during the year into a coherent argument, starting with your central question, explaining how your work builds of that of others toward an answer, describing and interpreting your results, then summing everything up with your conclusions.

Because much of your thesis will have been written months earlier, it is important to leave a week or so before the first draft is due to reread the entire thesis and make sure that the pieces fit together. The argument should flow naturally from a statement of the question to a discussion of the contribution of others to a description of your own research to your formulation of an answer. Each piece should advance the argument, following from the previous piece and leading to the next one. If a section does not relate to the overall argument of your thesis, it should not be in the thesis.

Finally, you need to deal with issues of formatting. The Reed Senior Handbook will give you the basic guidelines for format and spacing. Make sure that your references and citations are in an acceptable and consistent format. Sequence the numbers of your chapters, sections, figures, and tables appropriately. Then make two copies and turn them in to the faculty secretary in Vollum 112 before the first-draft deadline.

Regardless of how good the first draft of your thesis is, your advisor and first-draft reader will probably have extensive comments and suggestions for revision. Arguments that seem clear to you may not be as readable to someone else. Moreover, there may be flaws in empirical work or theoretical arguments that are not apparent until the entire thesis is read in proper sequence. It is not unusual for advisors to have extensive additional comments on the completed draft, even if they have already seen each chapter before.

At the revision stage, it is important to make sure that you understand exactly what your readers mean by each comment. As soon as your advisor and first-draft reader tell you that they have finished their reading, you should pick up your thesis and read through their comments. You should then meet with each of them (separately or together) to discuss the thesis and clarify what revisions they expect. Remember that these are the individuals who are responsible for assigning the thesis grade. It is to your benefit to understand and fulfill their expectations about revisions.

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what is a economic thesis topic

Economics Undergraduate Honors Theses

Examples of honors theses written by economics undergraduate students.

Posted with permission of the author. © 2019-2022 by the individual author. All rights reserved.

  • "The Causal Effect of ACA Subsidies on Insurance Coverage Status Among California Adults"  - William Vereyken
  • "Economic Impacts of Immigration Detention Centers Built Between 1990-2016 on U.S. Commuting Zones"  - Ekaterina Yudina

Spring/Summer 2022

  • "The Impact of Indiv. Mandate on High-Income, Non-elderly Indiv. Health Insurance Coverage Rates and Racial/Ethnic Disparities"  - YeJin Ahn
  • "An Economic Analysis of the 1997 Amhara Land Redistribution in Ethiopia"  - Ezana Anley
  • "Affirmative Action's Effect on Educational and Wage Outcomes for Underrepresented Minorities"  - Vishnu G. Arul
  • "Are the Effects of Racism Really That Black and White? A Study on the Effect Racism Has on the Productivity of Black   Footballers in the Premier League"  - Advik Banerjee
  • "An Empirical Analysis of Industrial Concentration and Prices: Can We Blame Inflation on Corporate Greed?"  - Anton Bobrov
  • "Tax Revenue Cyclicality and Income Inequality: Evidence from U.S. Counties From 1989 to 2019"  - Yiyang Chen
  • "The Impact of Economic Opportunities on African American Migration Patterns in Oakland"  - Fernando Cheung
  • "Impact of Tech Companies on Wages in the Local Economy"  - Niki Collette
  • "Warm Welcome: Evidence for Weather-based Projection Bias in College Choice"  - Maria Cullen
  • "Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Bilateral Trade with China"  - Pedro de Marcos
  • "Renaissance of the Black Homeowner: Impact Evaluation of Michigan's Renaissance Zones"  - Rupsha Debnath
  • "Lockdown Blues: The Effect of Social Norms on the Psychological Cost of Unemployment During the COVID-19 Pandemic"  - Dylan Hallahan
  • "How Education Affects Health Outcomes Across Genders"  - Jessica Li
  • "Is Increasing Diversity Inclusion Effective in Improving Companies' Performance in the Financial Services Industry?"  - Miranda Li
  • "The Future Financial Status of the Social Security Program"  - Chloe Manouchehri
  • "Does Recreational Marijuana Legalization Affect Hard-Drug Use? - Evidence from Cocaine Prevalence and Treatment Admissions"  - Arthur Weiss
  • "Relationship Between Economic Status and Money Spent on Private Education Leading to Economic Inequality in South Korea"  - Jiho Lee
  • "The Impact of Migrant Remittances on Rural Labor Supply: Evidence from Nepal"  - Amanda Wong
  • "Confirmation Bias: The Role of Messages and Messengers"  - Hongyu (Randol) Yao

Spring 2021

  • "Gender Equality and Economic Growth: Solving the Asian Puzzle"  - Zoya Ali
  • "Women in STEM: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?"  - Sophia J. Bai
  • "Time Dependence in Okun's Law at the State Level" - Sarah Baig
  • "Labor Regulation and the Impact on Firm Behavior in India" - Vatsal Bajaj
  • "Gender Representation in Academia: Evidence from the Italian Education System Reform" - Oyundari Batbayar
  • "Money & Marriage on the Elementary Mind: A High-Level Analysis of Inequitable Child Development in LA County" - Matthew J. Chang
  • "Unanticipated Unemployment Rate News on the Stock Market" - David Chi
  • "Should Physicians Be More Collaborative? Determining the Relationship Between Patient Participation and Treatment Plan Confidence Across a Spectrum of Illness Severity in the State of California" - Saif Chowdhury
  • "Modeling Optimal Investment and Greenhouse Gas Abatement in the Presence of Technology Spillovers" - Sabrina Chui
  • "Understanding the Influence of Marginal Income Tax Rates on Retirement Investment Habits"  - Daniel Cohen
  • "Infrastructure in India's Internal War: A District-Level Analysis of the Naxalite-Maoist Conflict" - Krunal Desai
  • "Do Eucalyptus Trees Increase Wildfires?"  - Lila Englander
  • "Understanding the Labor Outcomes of Hurricane Sandy" - Kevin Fang
  • "Does TikTok Show Viewers the Content Relevant to them?" - Ekaterina Fedorova
  • "The Impact of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Care Provision on Long-term Young Adult Labor Market Choices" - Anne Fogarty
  • "Orchestra Sex Disparity: Experimental Evidence from Audience Members" - Richard Gong
  • "The Big Three Medical Price Indexes: A Comparative Review and Analysis"  - Robert Hovakimyan
  • "Effect of Value-Added-Services on Customer Reviews in a Platform Marketplace" - Shankar Krishnan
  • "COVID19 Recession: Gender Layoff Gap Explodes" - Ember Lin-Sperry
  • "The Gender Wage Gap in China: Learning from Recent Longitudinal Data" - Donghe Lyu
  • "Local Graduation Policies as a Tool for Increasing College Eligibility: Evidence from Los Angeles" - Dan L. Ma
  • "Trust in Government and Lockdown Compliance in Sub-Saharan Africa" - Charles McMurry
  • "I Do (or Don't): The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on International Tourism" - Oliver McNeil
  • "International Shipping Consequences of a Navigable Arctic" - Jack Melin
  • "Investigating Dollar Invoicing Trends Using United Kingdom Export Data" - Aneesh Nathani
  • "Micro-Level Impact of Initial Public Offerings on Bay Area Housing Inflation" - Mina Nezam-Mafi
  • "Explaining EU's Oil Dependency Through the Response of the Portuguese Sector Indexes to Brent Oil Prices Fluctuations" - Pedro S. Nunes
  • "Dynamic Incentives and Effort Provision in Professional Tennis Tournaments" - Ruiwen Pan
  • "Examining the Effects of Minimum Wage Laws on Part-Time Employment" - Odysseus Pyrinis
  • "The Great Indian Identity Crisis? Exclusions & Intersectionality in the Indian Aadhaar System" - Aditi Ramakrishnan
  • "The 'Clutch Gene' Myth: An Analysis of Late-Game Shooting Performance in the NBA"  - Can Sarioz
  • "Estimating the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Jobs Within the Healthcare Industry" - Sidharth Satya
  • "Factors Influencing Telehealth Utilization: Evidence from California" - Emily Schultz
  • "Cash and Conflict: Evidence from the Indian Banknote Demonetization" - Nachiket Shah
  • "Determinants of the Number of Anti-Government Demonstrations: Evidence from OECD Countries" - Nina Singiri
  • "Hygiene Heroes: A Process Evaluation of Promoting Hygiene Practices in Tamil Nadu Schools" - Malika Sugathapala
  • "Exploring the Labour Patterns of Women and Mothers Through the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Impact of School Closures and a New Kind of Recession"  - Renee Isabel Utter
  • "How Have Socioeconomic Achievement Determinants Changed in the Past Decade for First-Generation Chinese Immigrants in the U.S." - Haolin Wang
  • "The Impact of Quarantining on School Enrollment: Evidence from the Ebola Epidemic in Sierra Leone" - David Willigrod
  • "Weeding out Needy Households and Welcoming the Better Off? Impacts of Transactional Barriers on SNAP Participation Rates" - Kevin Woo
  • "Are Soccer Teams Being Inefficient? An Analysis of Sunk Cost Fallacy and Recency Bias Using Transfer Fee" - Junru Lyu
  • "The Effects of Access to Family Planning Facilities on Female Labor Market Outcomes"  - Marcus Sander
  • "Macroeconomic Volatility at the Zero Lower Bound: Evidence from the OECD" - Anthony Swaminathan
  • "How are Society's Conditions and Demographics Related to the Popularity of Chief Executive Carrie Lam  and the Hong Kong Government"  - Peter To

Spring/Summer 2020

  • "Parental Involvement: The Differential Impacts of Consent and Notice Requirements for Minors' Abortions" - Angela Ames
  • "Examining Local Price Levels and Income Distribution Over Time" - Josh Archer
  • "Estimating the Effect of Grandparent Death on Fertility" - Jason Chen
  • "Democracy in the Face of COVID-19: Have Less Democratic Countries Been More Effective at Preventing the Spread of This Pandemic ?" - Yi Chen
  • "Understanding the Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Indigenous People in Mexico" - Arushi Desai
  • "Microfinance and Payday Lending: Are they Solving a Problem or Creating One?" - Sophia Faulkner
  • "The Risk-Taking Channel of Monetary Policy and Foreign Banks" - Noah Forougi
  • "Ride of Die? Metropolitan Bikeshare Systems and Pollution" - Sean Furuta
  • "Internet's Important Involvement in Information Industry Integration in Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana (and others): How the emerging internet affected the economic geography of the information industry" - Keming (Alex) Gao
  • "The Relationship between Economic Crises and Long-Run Wealth Inequality" - Renuka Garg
  • "Voter Bias in the Associated Press College Football Poll : Reconducting a 2009 study with new data in a $1 Billion-dollar industry that has seen significant changes in the past decade"  - Brent Hensley
  • "Monopsony Exploitation in Major League Baseball: Using Wins Above Replacement to Estimate Marginal Revenue Product" - Jacob C. Hyman
  • "The Relationship Between Currency Substitution and Exchange Rate Volatility" - Jewon Ju
  • "Efficiency, Bias, and Decisions: Observations from a Sports Betting Exchange" - Alexander Kan
  • "The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Substance Use Disorder Treatment Utilization: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act" - Christy Kang
  • "Analyzing the Relationship between Personal Income Tax Progressivity and Income Inequality" - Gevorg Khandamiryan
  • "The Effects of Occupancy Taxes on the Short-Term Rental Market: Evidence from Boston" - Alan Liang
  • "Corporate Types and Bank Lending in Contractionary Era: Evidence from Chinese Listed Companies" - Zishen Liu
  • "Financial Constraints on Student Learning: An Analysis of How Financial Stress Influences Cognitive Function in Children" - Simone Matecna
  • "The Effect of Workplace Inspections on Employment and Sales - A Regression Discontinuity Analysis" - Jeseo Park
  • "Lending Sociodynamics, Economic Instability, and the U.S. Farm Credit Crisis" - Erfan Samaei
  • "The Effect of Intangible Assets on Value Added: Evidence from microdata across small and large firms in Europe" - Tamara Sequeira
  • "Price Efficiency Differences Between Public and Private Utilities: An Empirical Analysis of US Electric Utilities" - Yechan Shin
  • "Effect of Campus Shootings on Academic Achievement: Examination of 2014 Isla Vista Killings" - Min Joo (Julie) Song
  • "First-Degree Price Discrimination: Evidence from Informal Markets in India" - Rishab Srivastava
  • "Who Benefits From Gentrification? A Case Study of Oregon Public High Schools" - Namrata Subramanian
  • "Estimating the Economic Impacts of Wealth Taxation in France" - Jeffrey Suzuki
  • "Transit-Oriented Development or Transit-Oriented Displacement? Evaluating the Sorting Effect of Public Transportation in Los Angeles County" - Yeeling Tse
  • "How State Abortion Policy Restrictiveness is Associated with Unintended Pregnancy Outcomes in the United States from 2014-2018" - Ruhee Wadhwania
  • "Global Food Security and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation"  - Aidan Wang
  • "The Relationship Between Pharmaceutical R&D Spending and NME Development" - Taylor Wang
  • "The Role of Individual Risk Attitude in Occupational Inheritance" - Yi Wang
  • "Labor Market Segmentation: Evidence from U.S. Janitorial Jobs Advertised in English and Spanish" - Zijun Xu
  • "Bias on the Brain: How Patient Gender Influences Use of Emergency Room Diagnostic Imaging" - Abigail Zhong
  • "Age Effects, Irrationality and Excessive Risk-Taking in Supposedly Expert Agents" - William Aldred
  • "Pricing Disparities for Minority Communities in Chicago: Rideshares and Taxis" - Matthew Cleveland
  • "Where My Negros At? Evaluating the Effects of Banning Affirmative Action on Black College Enrollment" - Ellie Koepplinger
  • "Race and Recession: How Minorities May Affect Downturns" - Alexander Szarka
  • "Understanding the Effects of Canadian International Food Aid on Production and Trade" - Patrick D. Tagari
  • "Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru: Heterogeneity Analysis by Gender and Educational Attainment" - Juan Sebastián Rozo Vásquez
  • "Effect of High-Speed Rail on City Tourism Revenue in China: A Perspective on Spatial Connectivity" - Lingyun Xiao

Archives (2009-2019)

The Young Economist’s Short Guide to Writing Economic Research

Attributes of writing economics.

  • The discourse is often mathematical, with lots of formulas, lemmas, and proofs.
  • Writing styles vary widely. Some authors are very dry and technical while a few are quite eloquent.

Economics writing is different from many other types of writing. It is essentially technical, and the primary goal is to achieve clarity. A clear presentation will allow the strength of your underlying analysis and the quality of your research to shine through.

Unlike prose writing in other disciplines, economics research takes time. Successful papers are not cranked out the night before a due date.

General Guidelines for Quality Research

Getting started.

The hardest part of any writing assignment is starting. Economics research usually begins with a strong understanding of literature, and papers require a section that summarizes and applies previous literature to what the paper at hand. This is the best way to start.

Your writing will demonstrate that you understand the findings that relate to the topic.

Economists use the first few paragraphs to set up research questions and the model and data they use to think about it. Sure, it can be dry, but this format ensures the write and reader have strong grasp on the subject and structure of the work that follows.

Clear and Concise Work

Clarity is hard to achieve, but revising and reworking a paper ensures it is easy to read

  • Organize your ideas into an argument with the help of an outline.
  • Define the important terms you will use
  • State your hypothesis and proceed deductively to reach your conclusions
  • Avoid excess verbiage
  • Edit yourself, remove what is not needed, and keep revising until you get down to a simple, efficient way of communicating
  • Use the active voice
  • Put statements in positive form
  • Omit needless words (concise writing is clear writing)
  • In summaries, generally stick to one tense

Time Management

Poor time management can wreck the best-planned papers. Deadlines are key to successful research papers.

  • Start the project by finding your topic
  • Begin your research
  • Start and outline
  • Write a draft
  • Revise and polish

The Language of Economic Analysis

Economic theory has become very mathematical. Most PhD students are mathematicians, not simply economics majors. This means most quality economic research requires a strong use of mathematical language. Economic analysis is characterized by the use of models, simplified representations of how economic phenomena work. A model’s predictions about the future or the past are essentially empirical hypotheses. Since economics is not easily tested in controlled experiments, research requires data from the real world (census reports, balance sheets), and statistical methods (regressions and econometrics) to test the predictive power of models and hypotheses based on those models.

The Writing Process

Finding a topic.

There are a million ways to find a topic. It may be that you are writing for a specific subfield of economics, so topics are limited and thus easier to pick. However, must research starts organically, from passive reading or striking news articles. Make sure to find something that interests you. Be sure to find a niche and make a contribution to the subfield.

You will also need a project that can be done within the parameters of the assignment (length, due date, access to research materials). A profoundly interesting topic may not be manageable given the time and other constraints you face. The key is to just be practical.

Be sure to start your research as soon as possible. Your topic will evolve along the way, and the question you begin with may become less interesting as new information draws you in other directions. It is perfectly fine to shape your topic based on available data, but don’t get caught up in endlessly revising topics.

Finding and Using Sources

There are two types of economic sources: empirical data (information that is or can be easily translated into numerical form), and academic literature (books and articles that help you organize your ideas).

Economic data is compiled into a number of useful secondary sources:

  • Economic Report of the President
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
  • National Longitudinal Survey
  • Census data
  • Academic journals

The Outline

A good outline acts as an agenda for the things you want to accomplish:

  • Introduction: Pose an interesting question or problem
  • Literature Review: Survey the literature on your topic
  • Methods/Data: Formulate your hypothesis and describe your data
  • Results: Present your results with the help of graphs and charts
  • Discussion: Critique your method and/or discuss any policy implications
  • Conclusions: Summarize what you have done; pose questions for further research

Writing a Literature Review

The literature review demonstrates your familiarity with scholarly work on your topic and lays the foundations for your paper. The particular issues you intent to raise, the terms you will employ, and the approach you will take should be defined with reference to previous scholarly works.

Presenting a Hypothesis

Formulate a question, problem or conjecture, and describe the approach you will take to answer, solve, or test it. In presenting your hypothesis, you need to discuss the data set you are using and the type of regression you will run. You should say where you found the data, and use a table, graph, or simple statistics to summarize them. In term papers, it may not be possible to reach conclusive results. Don’t be afraid to state this clearly and accurately. It is okay to have an inconclusive paper, but it is not okay to make overly broad and unsupported statements.

Presenting Results

There are essentially two decisions to make: (1) How many empirical results should be presented, and (2) How should these results be described in the text?

  • Focus only on what is important and be as clear as possible. Both smart and dumb readers will appreciate you pointing things out directly and clearly.
  • Less is usually more: Reporting a small group of relevant results is better than covering every possible statistical analysis that could be made on the data.
  • Clearly and precisely describe your tables, graphs, and figures in the text of your results section. The first and last sentence in a paragraph describing a result should be “big picture” statements, describing how the results in the table, graph or figure fit into the overall theme of the paper.

Discussing Results

The key to discussing results is to stay clear of making value judgments, and rely instead on economic facts and analyses. It is not the job of an economist to draw policy conclusions, even if the research supports strong evidence in a particular direction.

Referencing Sources

As with any research paper, source referencing depends on the will of a professor a discourse community. However, economists generally use soft references in the literature review section and then cite sources in conventional formats at the end of papers.

This guide was made possible by the excellent work of Robert Neugeboren and Mireille Jacobson of Harvard University and Paul Dudenhefer of Duke University.

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130 Excellent Economics Research Topics To Consider

Table of Contents

Are you an economics student searching for good topics for your research paper? If yes, then keep on reading this blog. To make the topic selection process easier for you, here we have suggested a list of the best economics research topics on various areas associated with the subject. In addition to that, we have also presented a brief overview of economics research paper topic selection and writing.

Quickly explore the entire list and choose any ideal topic for composing your economics thesis or dissertation.

Economics Research Paper Topic Selection and Writing

Have your professor asked you to submit an economics research paper? If yes, then topic selection is the first step you should do. In case, your supervisors had not suggested any research ideas, make sure to choose a unique economics research topic that you are interested in. The topic you choose should be understandable for you and your readers, and it should also have a wide research scope with the necessary information for crafting a comprehensive research paper or essay.

After you have selected a research topic for your economics assignment, sketch an outline with the research ideas that you have gathered. Then, with the help of the essay outline you have prepared, draft the research paper in a well-structured manner by including the essential elements such as the introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction paragraph of your research paper should have a catchy opening sentence, brief background information on the topic, and a strong thesis statement addressing the purpose of your research paper. After the introduction, in the body paragraphs, you should include innovative topic sentences and explain your arguments with supporting evidence in a way to persuade your reader. Then, you should finally close your research paper with an engaging conclusion that contains a brief summary of the main points.

List of the Best Economics Research Paper Topics

You may think that it is easy to choose a research topic for your economics research paper. But actually, it is not. As economics is a complex and broad subject, choosing a perfect research topic from it is a daunting task.

If you are asked to write an economics research paper or essay, then you can prefer to choose a topic from economics research areas such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, behavioral economics, agricultural economics, development economics, financial economics, and so on.

Here, we have sorted different categories of economics topics and have recommended a list of excellent economics research topic ideas for you to consider. Go through the entire list and pick a topic that is ideal for writing academic papers as per your instructor’s requirements.

Economics Research Topics

Agricultural Economics Research Topics

  • Farmer’s contribution to agricultural social capital.
  • Agricultural economics and agribusiness.
  • An analysis of economic efficiency in agriculture.
  • Agricultural and resource economics.
  • Agricultural economics and environmental considerations of biofuels.
  • Analysis of food security and poverty status among households in Ehime Mbano
  • Role of bank loans and credit facility in financing Nigerian agriculture sector: a case study of Nigeria agricultural cooperative and rural development bank
  • Evaluation of the impact of micro-finance banks on the South African agriculture sector
  • How poultry farming is becoming a veritable tool for the economic empowerment of South Africa?
  • Critical analysis of the problems and prospects of agriculture financing in rural India

Behavioral Economics Research Paper Topics

  • What does the economy of trust mean?
  • How does the brain change when a person is striking a great deal?
  • The impact of economic stability on the social life of a person
  • The buying capacity and gender
  • How does race relate to economic power?
  • Big data and its implications for behavioral economics
  • The impact of behavioral finance on investment decisions.
  • Cognitive and behavioral theories in economics.
  • Behavior implications of wealth and inequality.
  • Using behavioral economics to help in reducing substance abuse

Development Economics Research Topics

  • The relation between development and incentive for migration.
  • The economic consequences of population growth in developing countries.
  • The determinants of high-performing institutions in emerging economies
  • The impact of globalization on income distribution in emerging economies
  • The problems of tax and taxation in connection with economic growth.
  • The economic impact of terrorism on developing markets.
  • Investigate the relationship between family planning, labor force, and income fluctuations.
  • The impact of natural disasters on the economy and political stability of emerging markets.
  • Budgeting and decision-making by low-income earners in emerging economics
  • The impact of multinational commodity trading through the development of economic perspective.
  • Compare and contrast the impact of demand-pull inflation and cost-push inflation on a country’s economy
  • Discuss the impact of multinational commodity trading through the perspective of development economics
  • Discuss the concepts of mercantilism, linear stages of growth model, economic nationalism, and structural-change theory
  • Investigate the relationship between unemployment and fluctuations in national income
  • Compare and contrast the economic patterns of villages across Papua New Guinea

Environmental Economics Research Paper Topics

  • Explain the energy markets’ economic potential.
  • How does global warming affect economic growth?
  • How technological advancement leads to economic growth
  • Evolution of economic institutions concerning climate change
  • Cost-benefit analysis of the regulation of the environment
  • The economic perspectives of the distribution of natural resources across boundaries
  • The relationship between financial subsidies and the generation of eco-friendly products
  • Detailed analysis of the European Union Emission Trading System
  • Why it’s important to analyze the economics of clean drinking water
  • How wildlife protection affects the economy

Read more: Outstanding Environmental Science Topics for You to Consider

Financial Economics Research Topics

  • Risk-taking by mutual funds as a response to incentives.
  • Financial economics for infrastructure and fiscal policy.
  • Managerial economics and financial accounting as a basis for business
  • The analysis of the global financial crisis of 2020
  • Stock market overreaction.

Health Economics Research Ideas

  • How do chronic diseases affect the workforce and the economy?
  • How can public hospitals optimize their revenue collection?
  • The economics of the pharmaceutical industry
  • How an unhealthy country translates into a poor country
  • Is the world’s hunger affected by economics?
  • How does perfect competition work in the pharmaceutical world?
  • How does an infectious disease outbreak affect the economy?
  • Is health insurance important?
  • How is the economy affected by a smoking ban?

Research Paper Topics on International Trade

  • What are the gains and losses of international trade for developing countries?
  • The importance of international trade in developing countries
  • The relationship between economic growth and international trade
  • The impact of Brexit on small and middle businesses in the UK
  • To what extent does a currency union affect trade?
  • The roles of exchange rate and exchange rate regime in the US export.
  • To what extent are the gains of less developed countries from trade liberalization exaggerated?
  • Foreign direct investment in the United States: Determinants and impact
  • The relationship between foreign direct investment and wages
  • The effects of the banana crisis on the Jamaican and British economies

Macroeconomics Research Topics

  • Global recession and factors that contribute to it.
  • The relationship between Internet connectivity and productivity in the workplace.
  • The relationship between economic growth and unemployment in your country.
  • Income Dynamics and demographic economics.
  • What should our government do to minimize the risks of future default?
  • The connection between politics and economics.
  • The world problems through macroeconomic analysis .
  • US Market Liquidity and Macroeconomics.
  • The structure, history, and activities of the World Bank.
  • Economics of education in developing markets.
  • Public policies and socio-economic disparities.
  • Banks and their role in the economy.
  • Problems and possible solutions for Japan macroeconomics.
  • State regulation of the economy in foreign countries: main models of regulation.
  • The effect of currency devaluation on small and medium firms
  • A comparison of the United States unemployment to the rest of the world
  • The relationship between common stock prices and inflation in your country.
  • Macroeconomics and self-correction of the economy.
  • Analysis of Africa’s macroeconomics and its performance.
  • The implications of Internet banking on bank profitability.

Read more: Best Macroeconomics Research Topics and Ideas for Students

Microeconomics Research Topics

  • Explain how competition influences the price.
  • Opportunity costs explained from a microeconomics perspective
  • Inflation sources and consequences explained
  • The impact of demonetization on small and medium businesses
  • The connection between the minimum wage and market equilibrium.
  • Perfect competition in microeconomics
  • Theories in microeconomics
  • The effect of labor force participation on the economy and budget
  • Economic inequality as a result of globalization.
  • Explain the balance between supply and demand in microeconomics
  • Dynamics of the Gini index as a reflection of the problem of inequality in income
  • Privatization of Public Enterprises and its implications on economic policy and development
  • How does the stock market work?
  • The impact of game theory on economic development.
  • The changes in oil prices: causes and solutions.
  • Marketing uses in microeconomics.
  • The economic explanation of political dishonesty.
  • How company mergers and dissolutions impact the economy
  • The role of tax collection agencies in microeconomics
  • Different microeconomic models and how they face the effect of industry conditions

A Few More Microeconomics Research Ideas

  • How exactly does Uber fit into the economy of trust?
  • How does a person’s brain alter when they hit a big deal?
  • missing practical human insights from big data and how this affects the economy.
  • explaining how supply and demand are balanced in microeconomics
  • Changes in economic institutions with regard to climate change
  • Effects of greenhouses on economic growth
  • Effects of climate change on economic growth
  • Analysis of the European Union Emission Trading System in great detail
  • Is resource management for waste scarce? A microeconomics explanation of opportunity costs
  • Effects of wildlife protection on the economy

Interesting Economics Research Topics

  • What role does entrepreneurship play in economic development?
  • How do automation and artificial intelligence affect the labor market?
  • Discuss the Economics of healthcare systems and policies in developing countries.
  • Explain the effects of trade agreements on income distribution.
  • How does foreign aid affect economic development?
  • Explain the impact of monetary policy on financial markets and inflation.
  • Discuss the effects of income inequality on social mobility.
  • How does tax reform impact business investment?
  • Explain the role of microfinance in alleviating poverty.
  • How does behavioral economics impact personal savings habits?

Final Words

From the list of economics research topics recommended in this blog, choose any topic of your choice and craft a top-quality research paper or essay. It is not necessary that you need to use the suggested topic as it is, you can also modify the research topic and write your academic paper. In case, you are unsure how to select the right topic and write a persuasive economics research paper, get in touch with us immediately.

We have a team of professional writers who are experts in the field of economics to assist you in drafting a plagiarism-free economics research paper on the best topics as per your requirements on time. Moreover, by taking our economics assignment help service online, you can also submit flawless and well-structured research papers deserving of an A+ grade.

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50+ Economics Dissertation Topics in 2024

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Manali Ganguly ,

Feb 20, 2024

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The most popular economics dissertation topics in 2024 are economic development, economic policy and planning, impact of globalisation on economy, money and rates of interest, and international finance among others.

50+ Economics Dissertation Topics in 2024

The economics dissertation topics include impact of globalisation on economy, international finance, economic development, the macroeconomic features of international trade, and many more. A student who has enrolled in a BA Economics course or who is pursuing a PhD in Economics must be aware of the topics that are popularly selected to prepare economics dissertation.

Economics can be said to be a social science associated with the production, distribution, and the consumption of services. The subject analyses the efforts made by the country, organisation, or individual for the allocation of resources.

Economics covers a vast number of topics. These are macroeconomics, microeconomics, international economics, managerial economics, labour economics, behavioural economics and many more.

Top 50+ Economics Dissertation Topics

The list of economics dissertation topics that have been listed below are the most popular ones picked up by the students. These topics cover varied theories, laws, and principles of economics. The list has been categorised under various heads, which are as follows:

  • Macroeconomics Dissertation Topics
  • Microeconomics Dissertation Topics
  • Economic Geography Dissertation Topics
  • Labour Economics Dissertation Topics
  • Environmental Economics Dissertation Topics

1. Macroeconomics Dissertation Topics

This branch of Economics studies the performance, behaviour, structure, and decision-making of an aggregate or the whole economy. Long term growth in the economy and short termed cycles in business are the two major areas of macroeconomics.

The economics dissertation topics for macroeconomics are:

  • Is the system of economics practicable for all sections of a society?
  • How do interest rates affect consumption in a country?
  • Effect of Covid-19 on industrial production?
  • Using big data in behavioural economics at macro level
  • Has Brexit influenced the rate and quality of consumer spending?
  • Division of tax between a buyer and seller
  • How to mitigate the space between theory and practise of behavioural macroeconomics?
  • FDI and interest rates in India
  • Is it necessary to revise neoclassical growth according to the modern world conditions?
  • Housing prices and the macroeconomics determinants

Also Check: Thesis Vs. Dissertation - Meaning, Differences and Similarities

2. Microeconomics Dissertation Topics

Microeconomics is the branch of economics that deals with the study of households, firms, and individual’s ' behaviour in allocating resources. It applies to goods and services and deals with economic and individual issues.

The dissertation topics on macroeconomics are:

  • A macroeconomic study of the energy sector
  • The relationship between merger and acquisition and productivity
  • Inequality of income in the Indian workforce
  • The antitrust regulations and horizontal mergers
  • Impact of the new supermarket stores on local economy
  • The impact of cryptocurrency on economy
  • The concept of minimum wage for the daily wage wage earners
  • Relationship between the game theory and decision theory
  • Impact of eCommerce on small and medium enterprises
  • Is the profit percentage made by a firm directly proportional to the size of the firm? Shed light on the telecommunication sector

Also Check : Skill Development Courses List for Students 2024

3. Economic Geography Dissertation Topics

Economic geography can be said to be a part of human geography and the economic activities that affect it. This is a subfield of economics.

The economics dissertation topics related to economic geography are:

  • How is local proximity being affected by the networks? Difference between co-localized and dispersed networks
  • The effect of Covid-19 on the economic life in the cities
  • The role of local and regional cultures in the shaping of economic development of the entrepreneurs
  • Indian economy in the post pandemic era
  • National, regional, and local policies for an environment conducive to local cluster
  • How does local culture help promote regional innovation networks?
  • What is regional divergence? Poorest and richest areas in India in terms of wealth distribution.
  • The difference in entrepreneurial behaviour between the rural and urban areas
  • How can natural calamities affect the economy and resources of a localised region or state or country?
  • How has recession affected the economic geography of India in the past?

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4. Labour Economics Dissertation Topics

The Labour Economics studies the role of the labour force in the production process. The labour force refers to the whole gamut of the industry, i.e., the employers and the employed.

The distinctive labour economics dissertation topics are:

  • A critical and analytical assessment of a collective bargaining practice
  • The role of gender inequality in the staggered growth of economy and productivity within the context of work-culture
  • The impact of digitization on the labour market
  • How practical are the economic labour laws in India?
  • Government policies in favour of self-employment
  • The impact of ‘Vocal for local’ on local and regional economies in India
  • Immigration policies in India and its impact on the local labour market
  • Labour exploitation in China and its impact on the labour laws of the country
  • How Brexit has impacted the policy outcomes shaping the local economy of the cities in the United Kingdom.
  • Cheap labour: An exploitation of the labour laws in India

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5. Environmental Economics Dissertation Topics

Environmental economics is a branch of economics that deals with the cost-effective use, allocation, and protection of the natural resources of the world.

The most popular environmental economics dissertation topics are:

  • The impact of a company running on an eco-friendly model on its competitiveness in the market
  • The economic and cultural impact of the of the maintenance of heritage cities on a country’s economy
  • A qualitative study of the paying for recycled products
  • Biological invasion and its impact on a country’s economy
  • Analysing the impact of risk aversions in the context of goods and services
  • Climate change and its impact on natural production and thereby on the national economy
  • Does drinking clean water really impact the GDP of a country?
  • The impact of greenhouse effect on the global and local economy
  • Waste management procedure: implication on the environmental economy
  • Economic environmental policies in the lights of natural disasters: An impact on the national economy
  • Is the growth of new industries impacting the environment economy of India?
  • Preservation of natural resources and its impact on the economy

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51+ Economics Project Topics [Updated]

economics project topics

Economics may sound like a daunting subject, but it’s all around us, influencing every aspect of our lives. Economic projects delve into various aspects of how societies produce, distribute, and consume products or goods and services. Whether you’re a student looking for compelling economics project topics or someone curious about the world of economics, this guide will walk you through some fascinating areas to explore.

How Do You Write An Economic Project?

Table of Contents

Writing an economic project involves several steps to effectively research, analyze, and present your findings. Here’s a general guide on how to write an economic project:

  • Choose a Topic: Choose an economic subject that captures your interest and is in line with the requirements of your assignment or the objectives of your research. It could be a macroeconomic trend, a microeconomic analysis, or a specific area like environmental economics or development economics.
  • Conduct Research: Collect pertinent data and information from credible sources like scholarly journals, government reports, economic repositories, and literature. Make sure to critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of your sources.
  • Outline Your Project: Create an outline that organizes your ideas and arguments logically. Include sections such as introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Write the Introduction: Begin with an introduction that provides background information on your topic, states the purpose of your project, and outlines the structure of your paper.
  • Review the Literature: Perform a thorough examination of existing literature and theories pertinent to your subject matter through a literature review. Identify any deficiencies or areas lacking sufficient research that your project intends to fill.
  • Develop a Methodology: Describe the methods you used to collect and analyze data. This may include quantitative techniques such as econometric modeling or qualitative approaches like case studies or interviews.
  • Present Your Findings: Present the results of your analysis in a clear and organized manner. Use tables, charts, and graphs to illustrate key findings and trends.
  • Discuss Your Results: Interpret the implications of your findings and discuss their significance in relation to existing literature and theoretical frameworks. Address any limitations or constraints of your study.
  • Draw Conclusions: Provide a condensed overview of your project’s key discoveries and derive conclusions from your analysis. Consider the broader implications of your research and suggest areas for further study.
  • Write the Conclusion: Conclude your project by restating the main points and highlighting the contribution of your research to the field of economics. Discuss any practical implications or policy recommendations arising from your findings.
  • Cite Your Sources: Make sure to cite all sources properly used in your project according to the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
  • Proofread and Edit: Finally, carefully proofread your project to check for errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and coherent.

By following these steps, you can effectively write an economic project that demonstrates your understanding of economic concepts, analytical skills, and ability to communicate research findings effectively.

51+ Economics Project Topics: Category Wise

Macroeconomic topics.

  • The Impact of Fiscal Policy on Economic Growth
  • Analyzing the Effects of Monetary Policy on Inflation
  • Evaluating the Relationship Between Exchange Rates and Export Performance
  • Assessing the Role of Government Spending in Stimulating Aggregate Demand
  • Examining the Causes and Consequences of Economic Recessions

Microeconomic Topics

  • Market Structure Analysis: A Case Study of the Smartphone Industry
  • Consumer Behavior and Preferences in the Fast Food Industry
  • The Impact of Price Elasticity on Revenue in the Airline Industry
  • Producer Surplus and Profit Maximization in Competitive Markets
  • Analyzing Market Failures and the Need for Government Intervention

International Economics Topics

  • The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Developing Countries
  • Exchange Rate Volatility and Its Impact on International Trade
  • Globalization and Its Effects on Income Inequality
  • Trade Policies and Their Influence on Foreign Direct Investment
  • Comparative Advantage and Specialization in International Trade

Environmental Economics Topics

  • The Economics of Renewable Energy Adoption
  • Carbon Pricing and Its Implications for Climate Change Mitigation
  • Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services
  • Environmental Regulations and Firm Behavior: A Case Study Approach
  • The Role of Economics in Biodiversity Conservation Efforts

Development Economics Topics

  • Microfinance and Poverty Alleviation: Lessons from Case Studies
  • The Impact of Education on Economic Development
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs
  • Gender Inequality and Economic Development: An Empirical Analysis
  • The Role of Foreign Aid in Promoting Sustainable Development

Behavioral Economics Topics

  • Behavioral Biases in Consumer Decision-Making: A Experimental Study
  • Nudge Theory and Its Applications in Public Policy
  • Prospect Theory and Risk Preferences in Investment Decisions
  • The Influence of Social Norms on Economic Behavior
  • Behavioral Economics Approaches to Addressing Climate Change

Econometrics and Quantitative Analysis Topics

  • Time-Series Analysis of Stock Market Volatility
  • Regression Analysis of Factors Affecting Housing Prices
  • Forecasting Macroeconomic Indicators Using Machine Learning Techniques
  • Panel Data Analysis of Regional Economic Disparities
  • Causal Inference Methods in Economic Research

Policy Analysis and Evaluation Topics

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Infrastructure Projects
  • Evaluating the Impact of Minimum Wage Policies on Employment
  • Welfare Effects of Tax Reform: A Microsimulation Approach
  • Policy Responses to Economic Shocks: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in Developing Countries

Monetary Economics Topics

  • The Transmission Mechanism of Monetary Policy
  • Central Bank Independence and Inflation Targeting
  • Quantitative Easing and Its Effects on Financial Markets
  • The Role of Interest Rates in Determining Investment Decisions
  • Digital Currencies and the Future of Monetary Policy

Labor Economics Topics

  • The Economics of Immigration: Impacts on Labor Markets
  • Gender Wage Gap: Causes and Policy Implications
  • The Effects of Automation on Employment Patterns
  • Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployment Duration
  • Evaluating the Impact of Minimum Wage Laws on Poverty

Health Economics Topics

  • The Economics of Healthcare Financing Systems
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Healthcare Interventions
  • The Impact of Health Insurance Coverage on Healthcare Utilization
  • Behavioral Economics Approaches to Promoting Healthier Lifestyles
  • Healthcare Market Competition and Patient Outcomes: Evidence from Empirical Studies

What To Avoid For Economics Projects?

When working on economics projects, it’s essential to be aware of common pitfalls to avoid. Here’s a list of things to steer clear of:

  • Lack of Clarity in Research Question: Ensure your research question is clear, specific, and well-defined. Avoid ambiguity or broad topics that make it difficult to focus your research.
  • Poor Data Quality: Avoid using unreliable or outdated data sources. Ensure your data is accurate, relevant, and obtained from reputable sources.
  • Ignoring Assumptions: Be transparent about the assumptions underlying your analysis. Ignoring or glossing over assumptions can weaken the validity of your findings.
  • Overly Complex Models: While sophisticated models can be impressive, avoid unnecessarily complex models that obscure key relationships or make interpretation difficult.
  • Ignoring Alternative Explanations: Consider alternative explanations for your findings and address potential counterarguments. Ignoring alternative explanations can weaken the credibility of your analysis.
  • Misinterpreting Correlation as Causation: Be cautious when interpreting correlations as causation. Correlation does not imply causation, so ensure you have robust evidence to support causal claims.
  • Ignoring Feedback Effects: Consider feedback effects and dynamic interactions between variables in your analysis. Ignoring feedback effects can lead to biased or misleading conclusions.
  • Ignoring Heterogeneity: Recognize heterogeneity within the population or sample under study. Ignoring heterogeneity can lead to overgeneralization of results.
  • Overlooking Endogeneity: Be mindful of endogeneity issues, where the relationship between variables is bidirectional or influenced by unobserved factors. Addressing endogeneity requires careful modeling and appropriate techniques.
  • Inadequate Literature Review: Conduct a thorough literature review to situate your research within the existing literature. Avoid overlooking relevant studies or failing to acknowledge prior research.
  • Inadequate Discussion of Limitations: Acknowledge the limitations of your study and discuss their implications for the validity and generalizability of your findings.
  • Poor Presentation and Organization: Ensure your project is well-organized and clearly presented. Avoid cluttered or confusing visuals, inconsistent formatting, or unclear writing.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can enhance the quality and credibility of your economics projects and contribute meaningfully to the field of study.

Economics is a dynamic and multifaceted field, offering endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you’re interested in understanding the forces shaping the global economy or seeking solutions to pressing social issues, there’s a wealth of topics to explore.

By delving into these areas, you’ll gain valuable insights into how economies work and how they can be improved for the benefit of all. So, don’t hesitate to dive into economics project topics and start exploring the fascinating world of economics.

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102 Best Econometrics Research Topics

econometrics research topics

College and university professors require students to write about econometrics research topics to gauge their comprehension of the relationship between mathematical economics, statistics, and economics. The purpose of this integration is to provide numerical values to economic relationships and parameters. Usually, econometrics involves economic theories and their presentation in mathematical forms and the empirical study of business. Perhaps, this integration explains why some students struggle to choose topics for research in econometrics.

What Is Econometrics?

As hinted, econometrics is an economics branch that focuses on the relationships between economics, statistics, and mathematical economics. Ideally, econometrics entails the quantitative application of mathematical and statistical models using data to test hypotheses and develop economic theories while forecasting future trends based on historical data. Econometricians subject real-world data to various statistical trials while comparing and contrasting the results against the idea under examination.

Writing an econometric research paper is a process that starts with the selection of an interesting topic. Once you’ve chosen a title and the supervisor approves it, embark on extensive research using the prompt from your teacher. Proceed by gathering and analyzing all relevant information from different sources. Engaging in in-depth study and comprehensive analysis will enable you to write an informative paper that will compel the educator to award you the best grade in your class. Below are the steps to follow to write a high-quality econometric thesis or essay.

Write the introduction: Introduce your econometrics topic and tell the audience why it’s crucial. Also, include a thesis statement summarizing the entire paper. Describe the theoretical model: Tell the readers about the theoretical models to structure the empirical work. Present the data: Describe the data, whether time series or cross-sectional. Use descriptive statistics data and graphics if possible. Present the empirical model: Explain the model you intend to estimate and the functional form you intend to use. Present your empirical results: This section presents empirical results using a table to summarize them. Conclude the paper: Describe lessons from the research and state whether it supports the theory. Also, suggest approaches for future research on the topic.

Your paper should also include a reference section comprising the information sources you used to gather data.

Interesting Econometrics Paper Topics

Maybe you know the process of writing a paper on an econometrics topic but don’t have an idea to explore. If so, consider these exciting econometrics paper ideas.

  • How privatizing public enterprises could affect economic development and policy
  • Cashless economy: How demonetization affects medium and small businesses
  • How Gini index dynamics reflect the income inequality problem
  • Consumption evolution over the last decade: Consumer behavior and trends
  • Investigating salary inequalities and the forces behind them
  • How income changes affect consumer choices
  • How does allowing the labor force to participate in public budgeting affect the economy
  • How the marital status affect the labor force composition
  • How consumption attitudes have changed over the last decade
  • How economic convergence relates to salary levels
  • How income affects life insurance
  • The consequences of leaving the rat race
  • Testing Okun’s Law in the U.S
  • Analysis of spending on disposable income and imports
  • Comparing the unemployment rate in the United States to the rest of the world
  • Regional labor mobility and unemployment
  • Stock market evolution: Analyzing the causes and effects
  • How internet productivity relate to connectivity in the workplace
  • How currency devaluation affects medium and small companies
  • How government spending and inflation relate in an economy
  • The relationship between stock prices and inflation in a country
  • How income tax revenue affects a developing economy
  • How government expenditure affects economic growth
  • Factors contributing to the global recession
  • How a country’s unemployment rate relates to economic growth

Any of these topics can be an excellent basis for an econometrics paper. However, you require extensive research about any of these topics to develop a winning thesis.

Undergraduate Econometrics Project Ideas

Maybe your school or faculty requires you to write an econometrics paper to graduate from university. In that case, consider these econometrics research topics for undergraduates.

  • Analyzing the impact of income inequality on the poverty level
  • Analyzing gender differences in education between developing and developed countries
  • How immigration affects unemployment in the European Union
  • How economic growth relates to trade
  • Are immigrants more in countries with a high income?
  • How high taxations affect GSP
  • Analyzing the relationship between local income level and house prices
  • How income, education, and life expectancy affect the human development index
  • How inflation affects national savings
  • How life expectancy relates to national income
  • How financial development affects the economic growth of a country
  • Crime index versus the average education years
  • Investigating the correlation between youth unemployment and minimum wage
  • How economic prosperity relate to government systems
  • Economic factors that affect housing prices in the United States
  • Economic factors contributing to homelessness in the U.S
  • Socioeconomic and economic determinants of infant mortality
  • Econometric analysis: Impact of trade barriers
  • Why matching methods are essential in econometrics
  • How a randomized experiment can aid econometrics
  • Why instrumental variables matter in econometrics
  • Can experts predict the future using econometrics?
  • Econometrics as a numerical estimates source for economic relationship variables
  • Ways of testing economic theories that econometricians present
  • Regression discontinuity: Describe its application

These are great ideas to consider for an econometrics project. Nevertheless, you require sufficient time to research any of these topics and write a winning essay or dissertation.

Easy Econometric Research Topics

Perhaps, you need an easy topic for an econometrics paper. Maybe you have a short time to complete your assignment. In that case, these econometrics topics are ideal for you.

  • Theory suggestion- The initial econometrics methodology step
  • Why estimating variables is important
  • The importance of Proof-reading once you have evaluated the variables
  • Why testing a hypothesis matters
  • The impact of poverty on education
  • How poverty relates to childhood obesity
  • Human development and income inequality
  • The link between religion and ideologies on a country’s economy
  • Income and importation- How do they connect?
  • Personal income and life expectancy- What is the connection?
  • The effects of minimum wage on unemployment
  • Investigating monetary policies and bank regulations
  • A study of the economies of scale
  • The impact and relevance of comparative institutional economics
  • Analyzing the effect of making a company international
  • Studying the macroeconomics of rare events
  • Investigating customer behavior towards green products
  • Trade patterns: Investigating different trade patterns and their applications
  • Different stochastic processes concepts
  • Accurate stochastic processes prediction

Any of these topics can be a sound basis of a simple paper. Nevertheless, you still require time to research the idea and analyze data to develop a quality paper.

Financial Econometrics Research Paper Topics

Perhaps, you want to write an academic paper about a financial econometrics topic. If so, consider these ideas.

  • How does bank regulation affect the economy?
  • A critical look into the loan markets
  • How a cashless policy affects the economy
  • Structure and implementation of the monetary policy
  • Lessons to learn from financial crises
  • Investigating regression models
  • Statistical tools in the financial econometrics

These are good topics to explore in financial econometrics. However, follow the prompt from your teacher to write an impressive paper.

Econometrics Empirical Project Ideas FExor Ph.D. Level

Maybe you’re pursuing your Ph.D. and want to write a dissertation about an econometrics topic. In that case, this category comprises excellent ideas for you.

  • Analytical statistics versus theoretical statistics
  • The effects of the low and high demand of labor on an economy
  • The arbitrage pricing theory
  • How goods production and productivity affect econometrics at a national level
  • Applied econometrics- Its essence in turning qualitative economic ideas into quantitative ones
  • Definition, relevance, and application of the general line model
  • Theoretical econometrics’ study and application
  • The macro behavioral theory
  • Panel data methods applications- A microeconomics subsection
  • The impacts of the spillover effect on econometrics
  • The impact of labor supply on a local economy
  • Why labor markets are essential to econometrics
  • What is micro-econometrics modeling?
  • Micro-econometrics methods and applications
  • Statistical tools and their use in financial econometrics

This list also has fantastic economics paper topic ideas. But like the topics in the other sections, each of these notions requires extensive research to write a quality paper.

Exciting Econometrics Questions

Maybe you need a question to serve as the basis of your econometrics research. In that case, here are exciting queries to inspire you.

  • What is the current state of your country’s economy?
  • What’s the difference between the current state of the local and international trades?
  • What are the latest forecasts for the global economy?
  • How do the foreign exchange market and the local businesses relate?
  • What’s the impact of exportation and importation on the local economy?
  • How do businesses monopolies affect a country’s economy?
  • What are the effects of international banks on the local banking sector?
  • How does population growth affect economic development?
  • How can a natural disaster affect an emerging economy?
  • What techniques do companies use to “nudge” consumers into spending more?

This comprehensive list has some of the best econometrics ideas for essays and research papers. Nevertheless, having a topic is not a guarantee that you’ll write a good essay. You might still need help with your assignment after choosing a topic.

Get Help With Thesis About Econometrics Topic

Our crew comprises the most skilled, talented, and experienced econometrics writers. These professionals have helped many students complete their econometrics papers on varied topics. If stuck with an econometric essay or an MBA thesis , for example, and require a cheap dissertation writing service , our native, educated experts can help you. We’re the most knowledgeable econometrics writers online. Contact us now to get a custom, high-quality research paper on any econometrics topic!

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Circular economy: definition, importance and benefits

The circular economy: find out what it means, how it benefits you, the environment and our economy.

what is a economic thesis topic

The European Union produces more than 2.2 billion tonnes of waste every year . It is currently updating its legislation on waste management to promote a shift to a more sustainable model known as the circular economy.

But what exactly does the circular economy mean? And what would be the benefits?

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption , which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible thanks to recycling. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value .

This is a departure from the traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a take-make-consume-throw away pattern. This model relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy.

Also part of this model is planned obsolescence , when a product has been designed to have a limited lifespan to encourage consumers to buy it again. The European Parliament has called for measures to tackle this practice.

Infographic explaining the circular economy model

Benefits: why do we need to switch to a circular economy?

To protect the environment.

Reusing and recycling products would slow down the use of natural resources, reduce landscape and habitat disruption and help to limit biodiversity loss .

Another benefit from the circular economy is a reduction in total annual greenhouse gas emissions . According to the European Environment Agency, industrial processes and product use are responsible for 9.10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, while the management of waste accounts for 3.32%.

Creating more efficient and sustainable products from the start would help to reduce energy and resource consumption, as it is estimated that more than 80% of a product's environmental impact is determined during the design phase.

A shift to more reliable products that can be reused, upgraded and repaired would reduce the amount of waste. Packaging is a growing issue and, on average, the average European generates nearly 180 kilos of packaging waste per year . The aim is to tackle excessive packaging and improve its design to promote reuse and recycling.

Reduce raw material dependence

The world's population is growing and with it the demand for raw materials. However, the supply of crucial raw materials is limited.

Finite supplies also means some EU countries are dependent on other countries for their raw materials. According to Eurostat , the EU imports about half of the raw materials it consumes.

The total value of trade (import plus exports) of raw materials between the EU and the rest of the world has almost tripled since 2002, with exports growing faster than imports. Regardless, the EU still imports more than it exports. In 2021, this resulted in a trade deficit of €35.5 billion.

Recycling raw materials mitigates the risks associated with supply, such as price volatility, availability and import dependency.

This especially applies to critical raw materials , needed for the production of technologies that are crucial for achieving climate goals, such as batteries and electric engines.

Create jobs and save consumers money

Moving towards a more circular economy could increase competitiveness, stimulate innovation, boost economic growth and create jobs ( 700,000 jobs in the EU alone by 2030 ).

Redesigning materials and products for circular use would also boost innovation across different sectors of the economy.

Consumers will be provided with more durable and innovative products that will increase the quality of life and save them money in the long term.

What is the EU doing to become a circular economy?

  In March 2020, the European Commission presented the circular economy action plan,  which aims to promote more sustainable product design, reduce waste and empower consumers, for example by creating a right to repair ). There is a focus on resource intensive sectors, such as electronics and ICT , plastics , textiles and construction.

In February 2021, the Parliament adopted a resolution on the new circular economy action plan demanding additional measures to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050, including tighter recycling rules and binding targets for materials use and consumption by 2030. In March 2022, the Commission released the first package of measures to speed up the transition towards a circular economy, as part of the circular economy action plan. The proposals include boosting sustainable products, empowering consumers for the green transition, reviewing construction product regulation, and creating a strategy on sustainable textiles.

In November 2022, the Commission proposed new EU-wide rules on packaging . It aims to reduce packaging waste and improve packaging design, with for example clear labelling to promote reuse and recycling; and calls for a transition to bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics.

Find out more

  • Infographic on the circular economy

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A man walks draped in a mashup of the United States and Mexico flags in a tropical place at the end of a big procession.

Immigrants do work that might not otherwise get done – bolstering the US economy

what is a economic thesis topic

Professor of Economics, Stockton University

Disclosure statement

Ramya Vijaya does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Although Congress is failing to pass laws to restrict the number of migrants arriving in the U.S., a majority of Americans – about 6 in 10 – believe there’s an immigration crisis along the Mexico-U.S. border. Politicians who want fewer people to move here often cast those arriving without prior authorization as a burden on the economy .

As an economist who has researched immigration and employment , I’m confident that economic trends and research findings contradict those arguments.

The U.S. is experiencing a labor market shortage that is likely to last well into the future as the U.S.-born population gets older overall, slowing growth in the number of workers .

Rather than a drain on the economy, an uptick in immigration presents an opportunity to alleviate this shortage. Data from my own research and studies conducted by other scholars show that immigrant workers in the U.S. are more likely to be active in the labor market – either employed or looking for work – and tend to work in professions with the most unmet demand.

Help really wanted

The U.S. had 9 million job openings in December 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government agency also found that there were 6.1 million unemployed people actively seeking paid work.

Economists generally compare the two numbers to calculate the labor shortage. It currently stands at nearly 3 million workers, and the bureau expects this gap to grow as the population ages and people have fewer children over the next decade.

In other words, the U.S. faces a long-term shortage of people looking for employment.

That shortfall would be much bigger without foreign-born workers, who accounted for a record high of 18.1% of the U.S. civilian labor force in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More likely to be active in the workforce

Another reason why immigrants can help fill that big hole in the U.S. labor market is that so many of them tend to be employed or are looking for work.

About 65.9% of all people who were born elsewhere were either employed or actively looking for work as of 2022, in comparison to 61.5% of people born in the U.S.

This difference has been consistent since 2007 , according to research by the Peterson Foundation, a think tank that focuses on long-term budget problems.

In a study I conducted a few years ago , I found that immigrants who arrive in the United States as refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries are eventually more likely to be employed or looking for work than people who are born in the U.S.

More home health aides and janitors

Some of the labor market’s biggest shortages are especially acute in professions that tend to attract immigrants, such as home health aides .

The health care and social services sector as a whole has about 1.8 million open jobs, the largest number of job openings currently available.

This is followed by professional and business services with 1.7 million open jobs. This category encompasses everything from legal services to janitorial work , including cleaning and grounds maintenance.

Currently, about 22% of employed immigrants work in one of those two high-demand categories or another service occupation.

Making it easier to age in place

A team of economists has found that the cost of home health care and support services is lower than average in places with large numbers of immigrant service workers. This in turn makes it more likely that older adults can avoid institutionalization and stay in their own homes.

But, to be sure, immigrant workers providing these vital community support services often endure exploitative working conditions.

The labor market data not only makes it clear that the U.S. economy can absorb large numbers of immigrants, but it shows that these newcomers could be a much-needed solution to a labor supply crisis.

And yet people arriving in the U.S. as political asylum applicants are enduring backlogs and facing hurdles in securing employment authorization , which is delaying their entry into the workforce.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for Congress to expand pathways for legal employment access for migrants? From an economic perspective, that seems to be the most prudent course of action.

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  • Growth and Jobs at Davos 2024: What to know
  • How using genAI to fuse creativity and technology could reshape the way we work

1. Generative AI boosts productivity, unevenly

In 2024, most chief economists surveyed by the Forum believe generative AI will increase productivity and innovation in high-income countries. But for low-income countries, just over a third think this will be the case.

Productivity boosts are expected in knowledge-heavy industries, including IT and digital communications, financial and professional services, medical and healthcare services, retail, manufacturing, engineering and construction, energy and logistics.

These potential benefits are in "sharp contrast with concerns about the risks of automation, job displacement and degradation", says the report.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of chief economists surveyed "do not foresee a net positive impact on employment in low-income economies".

what is a economic thesis topic

2. Digital jobs keep growing

By 2030, the number of global digital jobs is expected to rise to around 92 million. These are generally higher-paid roles, according to the Forum's white paper, The Rise of Digital Jobs .

Digital jobs could help to balance skill shortages in higher-income countries, while boosting opportunities for younger workers in lower-income countries: "If managed well, global digital jobs present an opportunity to utilize talent around the world, widening the talent pool available to employers and providing economic growth pathways to countries across the income spectrum."

3. Unemployment levels could rise

The labour market showed resilience in 2023, with employment remaining high, said Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), in the Davos session ' What to Expect From Labour Markets '.

But he said ILO projections in early January suggested the global unemployment rate could rise from 5.1% to 5.2% in 2024, with an extra two million workers expected to be looking for jobs.

In the US, the jobs market remained stronger than expected for the first month of the year, with more than 350,000 new jobs added. The unemployment rate for January was 3.7%, close to a 50-year low, according to The Guardian .

Houngbo said ILO data shows inequalities persist between low- and high-income countries, while young people are 3.5 times more at risk of being unemployed than the rest of the adult population and "many workers are struggling to pay bills, which is very worrisome".

The impact of AI on jobs was not going to be "an employment apocalypse", but that reskilling, upskilling and lifelong learning would be key to managing the transition to augmentation, he stressed.

4. More pop-up offices

LinkedIn has seen a drop in the number of fully remote job postings, from a peak of 20% in April 2022, to just 8% in December 2023, said co-founder Allen Blue, speaking in a Davos session ' The Role of the Office is Still TBC ' .

But employee interest in taking remote or hybrid jobs remains high, at around 46% of applications.

"The office is going to be in competition with working from home ... that’s a good thing for the office," he said, as management would need to innovate and create a workplace environment that "emphasizes dynamic human interaction".

Young people taking their first job want human connection, so they're more interested in hybrid than remote roles.

Martin Kocher, Austria's Federal Minister of Labour and Economy, said that some Austrian villages are actually paying for pop-up community office spaces, because people don’t want to work from home, and they can make use of other amenities close by.

He predicted the development of more pop-up office spaces away from company headquarters.

Have you read?

  • Davos 2024: 6 innovative ideas on reskilling, upskilling and building a future-ready workforce
  • From hierarchy to partnership: rethinking the employee/employer relationship in 2024

5. Skills will become even more important

With 23% of jobs expected to change in the next five years, according to the Future of Jobs Report, millions of people will need to move between declining and growing jobs.

Coursera CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda and Denis Machuel, CEO of Adecco Group AG, joined the Davos session ' The Race to Reskill ' to discuss the transferability of skills, and the potential of AI to help with personalized learning and productivity, which also levels the playing field for job opportunities globally.

But the key is in learning how to use AI and digital technologies, as Code.org Founder and CEO, Hadi Partovi, pointed out in the session ' Education Meets AI '.

When people think about job losses due to AI, he said, the risk isn't people losing their jobs to AI: "It's losing their job to somebody else who knows how to use AI. That is going to be a much greater displacement.

"It's not that the worker gets replaced by just a robot or a machine in most cases, especially for desk jobs, it's that some better or more educated worker can do that job because they can be twice as productive or three times as productive.

“The imperative is to teach how AI tools work to every citizen, and especially to our young people."

6. More women enter the workforce

In 2020, the World Bank found that potential gains from closing economic gender gaps could unlock a “gender dividend” of $172 trillion for the global economy.

But the Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 found that the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap has only closed by just over 60%.

Several sessions at Davos looked at how inclusion could benefit the economy , particularly by helping mothers return to the workforce, which could close skills gaps.

“There are 606 million women of working age in the world who are not working because of their unpaid care responsibilities, compared to 40 million men," Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Moms First, explained in a session on the ‘ Workforce Behind the Workforce ’.

“At Moms First, we're working with over 130 companies in every sector, who are saying, ‘I don't have enough workers’. We are working with them to redesign their childcare packages and increase their subsidies.

“Childcare pays for itself. When you offer childcare to employees, you get higher worker productivity and lower rates of attrition, and greater rates of retention. We have to look at care as an economic issue that world leaders must actually do something about.”


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Is China’s Economic Dominance at an Inflection Point?

  • Allen J. Morrison
  • J. Stewart Black

what is a economic thesis topic

Six reasons why its position at the top may have been short lived.

In 2023 China lost the top spot on the list of countries whose companies populate the Fortune Global 500 list, a position it had held since toppling the USA in 2019.  Is this an inflection point or will the US (one core at the top) and China exchange the position as they struggle for global economic domination in the decades ahead?  This article presents six reasons for believing that China is unlikely to recover the top spot and suggests ways in which US, European, and Japanese firms can exploit China’s fundamental weaknesses in the years ahead.

In 2019, we predicted that China would likely account for more companies on the Fortune Global 500 list than any other country. That seemed like a bold prediction at the time, given that American firms had held the number one position since the list’s inception in 1995 and the U.S. economy was 50% larger than China’s. But just one year later, in 2020, China did indeed top the list, with its 124 firms edging out the U.S. at 121 (see here for the Fortune Global 500 data).

  • AM Allen J. Morrison is a professor of global management at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and a coauthor of Competing in and with China: Implications and Strategies for Western Business Executives (Thinkers50). Email: [email protected]
  • JB J. Stewart Black is a professor of global leadership and strategy at INSEAD and a coauthor of Competing in and with China: Implications and Strategies for Western Business Executives (Thinkers50). Email: [email protected]

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How to Save for Retirement—and Why Most of Us Haven’t (or Can’t) Save Enough

Video via iStock/D-Keine

Whether it’s because of a broken Social Security benefits system, pervasive economic inequality, or poor retirement advice, not everyone’s later years will be so golden

People say getting old isn’t for the faint of heart. Well, neither is retirement—financially speaking, anyway. Saving is hard. Few jobs offer traditional pensions anymore. A 401(k) puts the burden of financial management largely on the employee. And Social Security is a labyrinth of complex regulations and difficult calculations, administered by a seemingly indifferent bureaucracy.

Retirees and those getting ready to retire must navigate all of this at a time of life when they may not be at their strongest, physically, mentally, or emotionally. But they need to be. As the last of the 73 million baby boomers turn 65 in the next seven years, challenges to the system will only increase.

“You’re probably going to have an increase in the poverty rate,” says retirement planning evangelist Laurence Kotlikoff , William Fairfield Warren Professor of Economics in the Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. “People are retiring, some quite early, and retiring with very little. Baby boomers just don’t have enough savings. And Social Security is just not gonna be that big for lots of people.” 

what is a economic thesis topic

Twenty-seven percent of adults in 2021 considered themselves to be retired, even though some were still working in some capacity, according to the Federal Reserve . Some 92 percent of retirees over the age of 65 collected Social Security, and two-thirds drew from retirement accounts or pensions. 

A look at the stats covering the number of older people living in poverty seems to provide good news, having declined from one in three people in the 1960s to only about 10 percent of older people today. Still too many, but a big improvement.

But within that picture is a cautionary tale, says Deborah Carr , a CAS professor of sociology and director of the Center for Innovation in Social Science .

“If you look at just that 10 percent, 3 percent of white married men live in poverty, but over a third of women of color living on their own are in poverty,” Carr says. “So, 10 percent is a good news story overall, but we want to recall that there are some deep pockets of poverty among older people.”

Of course, millions of Americans retire just fine, but BU researchers are working to identify the challenges that keep many others from fully enjoying what are supposed to be their golden years.

Conventional Retirement Advice: A “Bait and Switch”

For most people, it all starts with saving, whether in a bank, under a mattress, or, most commonly today, with an individual retirement account. But Kotlikoff says most middle- and working-class people simply don’t save enough.

“Even after Social Security contributions, and after 401(k) contributions, they should probably be saving another 15 percent of their take-home pay, which is very tough,” Kotlikoff says, noting that perhaps 40 percent of those eligible for a 401(k) don’t take advantage. “Most people are saving nothing.”

Total US personal savings, exclusive of Social Security contributions and 401(k)s, only accounted for 4.1 percent of disposable personal income as of April 2023, according to Forbes Advisor , roughly a third below the 6.2 percent a decade earlier. And Kotlikoff says too much of that money is going in the wrong places.

Conventional planning is an elaborate bait and switch designed to sell you investment products that are highly expensive and overly risky. Laurence Kotlikoff

“Everyone who expects to sustain their living standard through retirement needs to do economics-based financial planning,” Kotlikoff says. Where conventional retirement planning involves setting financial and lifestyle goals, then trying to hit them—sometimes through risky investment strategies—he says the economics-based approach is about determining a sustainable living standard based on your resources, and adjusting your spending as your circumstances change, so you don’t outlive your savings.

“Conventional planning is an elaborate bait and switch designed to sell you investment products that are highly expensive and overly risky,” Kotlikoff says.

5 Tips for Smarter Retirement Savings

what is a economic thesis topic

Plan Within Your Means

Base your calculations on your assets and calculated benefits, not the lifestyle you’d like to have, to determine a sustainable living standard.

what is a economic thesis topic

Save, Save, Save

Save in addition to your retirement program, as much as 15 percent of your salary.

what is a economic thesis topic

Use Planning Tools

The information in this article and others like it is only for informational purposes, so make sure you use a financial planning tool or work with an expert on a routine basis to do lifetime financial planning. MaxiFi Planner , is available for free to all BU staff and faculty .

what is a economic thesis topic

Collect Benefits Later

Collect Social Security and other benefits at the right time—usually later than you think—to save thousands. Kotlikoff has developed software that can help you find your sweet spot.

Inequality Doesn’t Start at 65

Many people cannot save enough, no matter how hard they try. “The economic inequalities we see among people 65 and older are just a continuation of things that have happened earlier,” says Carr.

In 2020, women’s annual earnings were 82.3 percent of men’s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, no surprise that among people invested in a 401(k) plan for at least 10 years, the average balance for women was just under three-quarters of men’s. And life events can take a toll, too, says Carr: a woman who gets divorced at an early age—living on her own, paying for a child, perhaps not receiving a lot of child support—is already taking potentially insurmountable financial hits. 

“It starts really that early. When you’re living check to check you cannot amass wealth, so you have no buffer as you move along,” says Carr, a life course sociologist who uses survey data and quantitative methods to study social factors affecting health and well-being in later life. Her books include Aging in America (University of California Press, 2023) and Golden Years? Social Inequality in Later Life (Russell Sage, 2019).

Most working-class people don’t have a pension now, Carr says, “and if they do have a pension, they can’t afford to put anything in it. And so that’s part of the reason why they just amass less over time. So, it’s the intersection of gender inequality, race inequality going back to much earlier years.”

Our Retirement Safety Net Is Full of Holes

Social Security is supposed to be the great retirement safety net, and for many it is. But decisions about when to retire or take Social Security can be difficult—and so can getting good advice.

“Social Security is broke beyond belief,” says Kotlikoff, whose research focuses on macroeconomics and public finance, as well as economic inequality and Social Security. “Its unfunded liability is $65.9 trillion—twice the size of official government debt. Paying for all projected benefits through time requires an immediate and permanent hike in the combined employer-employee FICA tax [Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a federal payroll tax] from 12.4 percent to 17.0 percent.”

But even if the government somehow manages to fully fund its obligation, simply figuring out when and what you should collect and making it happen is a challenge.

“For far too many of America’s seniors with any but the simplest situations, negotiating the complexities and outright scams of the Social Security system on their own is nigh impossible,” says Kotlikoff. “Kafka could not have designed a more complex set of provisions with hidden catch-22s that can haunt you— in the form of clawbacks —decades after you start collecting benefits.” Not to mention that wrong answers are epidemic for those who ask the Social Security Administration for help making their way through the labyrinth.

Kotlikoff recommends waiting longer to retire and to begin collecting, often until age 70, which can deliver a much larger monthly payout than starting at 62 or 65. In one of his regular Forbes columns , Kotlikoff wrote that, “Your Social Security retirement benefit rate will climb by at least 8 percent for each year that you wait to start collecting until you reach 70.” He offers MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com to households for $39 a year, which provides specific plans to maximize benefits.

what is a economic thesis topic

But even careful saving won’t change Social Security’s formulas, or the basic demographic facts.

“Social Security is complex as Larry has told you. And even beyond that, Social Security doesn’t benefit all people or all women in similar ways,” Carr says. A widow can get 100 percent of their late spouse’s benefits, for example, but a divorcee only gets half and only if they were married for more than 10 years.

“We know that divorce is something that historically was more common among low-income people,” she says. “We can’t think about late-life economic inequalities as instantly appearing on your 65th birthday.”

And those inequalities are already having devastating consequences, particularly when it comes to where older Americans call home.

Photo: A young white man wearing a collared shirt and tie poses for a formal portrait headshot

“There is clear evidence that we are in the midst of a growing crisis of homelessness and housing insecurity among older adults,” says Thomas Byrne , a BU School of Social Work associate professor of social welfare policy whose research focuses on the causes, consequences, and policy solutions to homelessness and housing insecurity. “This crisis is driven in part by the substantial rise in housing costs throughout the country over the past decade or so, which have far outstripped overall inflation and increases in income.”

In other words, a rent hike can throw older adults who have been stably housed their entire lives into a housing crisis, especially people who worked in lower-paying jobs, collect less from Social Security, and may not have a pension or private retirement plan, says Byrne.

There is clear evidence that we are in the midst of a growing crisis of homelessness and housing insecurity among older adults. Thomas Byrne

“We should be very concerned about what this means for society as a whole, since research shows that older adults experiencing homelessness have geriatric conditions that are on par with members of the general population who are 20 years older,” Byrne says.

How Cognitive Financial Skills Change with Age

Society also needs to factor how older Americans manage (or don’t) those critical financial decisions. Literature on the topic is pretty sparse, says Preeti Sunderaraman , a BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine assistant professor of neurology. Under a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, she has begun to study financial decision-making by older adults—both those with dementia and a control group of healthy individuals.

what is a economic thesis topic

Her interest evolved out of earlier work with people who had traumatic brain injuries and often did poorly managing their money. “I’m not looking at investment decisions or retirement decisions, I’m looking at how people make everyday financial decisions,” Sunderaraman says. Things like having a budget when shopping at the store.

“We really don’t have a good way to gauge a person’s financial abilities,” she says. “So, I started thinking, how do we make this assessment more objective and in sync with today’s technological advances. At the same time, I also found in my research that different cognitive abilities are related to different aspects of finances. There’s not one ability like memory that is the only factor related to good decision-making, you need attention, you need numeracy.”

Sunderaraman’s latest research involves presenting older adults with a simulated credit card task developed in collaboration with computer scientists, economists, geriatricians, and psychologists. Subjects get an online account and are asked to log in and download and review a statement. There are errors embedded in the statement, and she records how people do on the task and their level of financial awareness.

The type of errors you make may be driven by where the pathology is in your brain, Sunderaraman says. If you have Alzheimer’s disease pathology, you’re going to make certain types of financial errors, such as forgetting to pay bills, whereas if you have frontotemporal dementia, you might buy things excessively. 

“We talk about the baby boom generation, right? And this is exactly what is happening,” says Sunderaraman. “This wave is going to go on for another two decades at least. People as they grow older are at higher risk for cognitive decline.”

What Families Can Do to Help Older Relatives Flourish

The implications are important not only because of the costs to society of bad planning, but also to each individual’s life.

“You’re not just dealing with everyday finances,” Sunderaraman says. “You’re dealing with, OK, I have this whole pot of money because of [my] retirement fund, life insurance, what do I do with that money? Should I sell the house? Should I get a reverse mortgage? What happens when I have to go into a facility? All of that stuff. And who do I trust at that stage to help me with my money?”

5 Tips for Making the Best Financial Decisions as You Age

what is a economic thesis topic

Know what you’ve got: conduct a comprehensive assessment of your assets and expected expenses.

what is a economic thesis topic

Name a power of attorney who could manage your funds in the event you no longer can.

what is a economic thesis topic

Keep a trusted family member informed about key financial details, like where to find your account numbers, so they can step in if your health fails.

what is a economic thesis topic

Family members of older adults should also be proactive in discussing financial issues, like advanced care plans and wills, early and often.

Carr, who studies how and why human beings flourish in their lives, says families need to be proactive at that stage.

“These things have to be part of the family conversation, what you discuss at Thanksgiving,” she says. “Do your aging parents have a will? Do they need advanced care planning help? And underscoring [that] you’re not asking because you want their inheritance, this is not a ploy to grab the money.”

The goal, after all, is the same one that motivates the years of retirement planning—all that number crunching and sifting through Social Security rules—which is being able to enjoy our later years.

“If we can take financial worry out of the equation, that absolutely frees up people’s mental space and time to focus on the relationships and experiences that enable flourishing, whether it is time with friends or hobbies or family,” Carr says. “Whatever can be done to minimize economic strain and suffering enables people to pursue their passions even at later ages.”

This Series

Photo: Two stacks of coins, one large and one small. Depicts wealth inequality

The Ingredients of Unequal Aging: Housing, Income, and Health

Aging reimagined.

February 21, 2024

The Secrets of Living to 100

Rethinking our idea of “old age”, can we find a cure for alzheimer’s disease.

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