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Winners of the 2024 economics short paper competition announced

Students competed to win up to $300 and have their work published.

Renee Joseph

This spring, students had the opportunity to participate in the second annual short paper competition sponsored by the Department of Economics. Eight economics students received cash prizes and had their work published in an ASU student-run journal.

Kelvin Wong, clinical associate professor and executive director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Economics, says this year's contest was another success.

“All of the papers submitted (not just those that won) were quite good,” Wong says. “Our hope through this contest was to help students see that economics is applicable everywhere, and I think the breadth of topics and papers show that.”

Winning entries were published by the Economics Review at ASU, a peer-reviewed undergraduate economics publication, and can be found here.

There were two divisions for submissions. Division A included students who had only taken introductory economics courses. Division B included students who had completed the intermediate microeconomics course (ECN312).

Division A winners:

  1. Catherine Jiang
  2. Peyton Jergenson
  3. Anushayana Pant
  4. Shankar Raman

Division B winners:

  1. Rachel Etebari
  2. Sona Shah
  3. Abdulaziz Alqurashi
  4. McKenzie Woodhead

The first prize for each division was $300, the second was $175, the third was $100, and the fourth was $50. Funding for the prizes came from the Centennial Professorship Award that Wong received in 2022.

All submissions were reviewed by the board of the Economics Review at ASU, then by several economics professors, and judged on the quality of their analysis, writing, and originality. Each winner was interviewed to confirm they were familiar with their work to ensure winning papers were not produced with artificial intelligence or paid services.

Many students brought fresh and unique perspectives. "It's great to see students apply economic concepts to many different areas of life,” says Wong.

Below, each winner shares key takeaways from the competition:

Catherine Jiang

Catherine Jiang: Participating in the Economics Review competition at ASU has been eye-opening. I've always found economics fascinating because of its relevance to our daily lives. But through research, writing, and editing, I've gained a deeper understanding of the complexity of economic issues and their effects on the real world. The best part about it: being part of a community of students who share my passion for economics. This experience has been inspiring and fulfilling, and I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity made possible by the exceptional economics professors and the Economics Review faculty.

Peyton Jergenson

Peyton Jergenson: Exploring the implications of the supply and demand of student housing and costs, highlighted the importance of the need for more affordable and financially sustainable housing options on and around campus. My research is derived from my experience trying to find affordable housing near campus while attending school. I hope my piece will encourage students, ASU, ASU partners, and surrounding off-campus housing to develop more affordable and sustainable housing opportunities and draw connections to how it not only leaves students extremely cost-burdened but how it also affects overall well-being, education, and enrollment rates, and the community as a whole.

Anushayana Pant

Anushayana Pant: Writing the article "The Ripple Effect: Understanding Interest Rates' Impact on the Property Market" has been a new experience for me. As I delved into how fluctuations in interest rates throughout 2023 influenced the housing market, I gained a deeper understanding of this side of economics. The project connected me with the stories of people trying to buy homes in a shifting financial landscape, which made the abstract principles of economics feel incredibly real and immediate. This process not only fueled my passion for economics but also made me more empathetic toward those facing tough decisions about homeownership. Personally, the research and writing were both challenging and immensely satisfying, gaining more in-depth knowledge of the housing market.

Shankar Srinivasan Raman

Shankar Srinivasan Raman: Writing this paper was an experience that gave me valuable insight into the world of economic reports. I have always had a keen interest in economic theory, and thanks to my dad, I have developed an interest in electricity pricing. The ideas I have learned in my classes so far have assisted in my understanding of energy markets, which relies heavily on the fundamental principles of economics. I had a great time putting this paper together, and I am excited to do more economic research in the future.

Rachel Etebari

Rachel Etebari: This was my first experience researching and writing about an economics topic, and the entire process was extremely fun and valuable. I am a pre-medical student, interested in health economics, so I knew I wanted to implement the economic principles that I have learned in the classroom to analyze the effects of a policy on health outcomes. From this process, I have learned that economics is a very versatile academic discipline that allows for in-depth quantitative analysis of situations and policies, and it has solidified my passion for studying economics. Advocating for patient populations is important to me and utilizing economic theory is a great way to reason through how health-related policies affect patients.

Sona Shah

Sona Shah: Writing this research paper was a fun and rewarding experience. As I thought about different topics, I tried to find something that interested me and affected many people, which is how I landed on economics in the entertainment industry. This paper significantly deepened my interest in the topic, as it was something I study as much in school. However, I was able to combine the data analytics skills I learned through my degree with the economic concepts I learned through my minor to produce this paper. From finding the data to interpreting it to visualizing it, I went through the process of writing a mini-research paper, and I was able to tell a story about the economics of a powerful artist in the music industry!

Abdulaziz Alqurashi

Abdulaziz Hassan Alqurashi: Questioning a policy that impacted me directly was the start of the idea. Then, I tried to understand the basis of this policy and the motives behind it. I learned how to abstractly analyze the possible implications and draw connections to economic theories. Working on this paper made me realize the importance of scrutinizing policies that affect my daily life since many are potentially nonsensical.

McKenzie Woodhead

McKenzie Woodhead: I selected my topic because I had recently completed an internship with the U.S. Department of State Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, which made me interested in exploring the intellectual property economy. It was really interesting to research how AI disrupts norms in the IP economy and how different groups might be economically affected. In writing, I learned to follow the simple logic of answering the natural next question. I enjoyed following my curiosity in the research process and honing my written communication skills; my enjoyment of the process reinforced my interest in economics communication/journalism

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