Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


This course is for students interested in conducting original research on economics questions. There will be an emphasis on choice of research topics, primary sources, data sources, and research methods. The primary activities are oral presentations, the preparation of a paper, and providing constructive feedback on classmates' research projects.


The goal of this course is to create a collaborative forum that helps students formulate economic hypotheses, test them rigorously and communicate the results orally and in writing. The workshop format will provide a forum to present ideas and solicit suggestions from peers, as well as the professor and teaching assistant. The interaction with your peers is an important part of the course. The end results should be a high quality, original economics research paper.


Grades are based on full participation in all aspects of the course. The specific breakdown is:

Participation in Discussion of Classmates' Research 20%
One Problem Set 10%
Presentation of Preliminary Ideas 5%
Research Plan (2 Pages) 10%
First Draft of Paper 10%
Final Presentation 15%
Final Paper 30%

The main project will be a paper that should be 10-15 pages of text (12 point Times New Roman with 1 inch margins), plus tables and figures. The paper will report on original economic research that you perform over the course of the semester. There will be a number of opportunities to make presentations on your research throughout the course of the semester.

There will not be any exams and the final paper is due in week 13.


It is expected that all students have successfully completed 14.30 and 14.32 (or their equivalents), as well as courses in basic microeconomics and macroeconomics. Students may find it useful to take at least one economics field course and perform a UROP before taking this course, but these are not requirements.


The suggested texts are Writing of Economics by Donald McCloskey and Writing Economics by Neugeboren and Jacobson. These books are not available from the bookstore, although the McCloskey book can be borrowed from my assistant. I am working to get a copy of the other book. Other texts you might want to consult are:

Buy at Amazon Johnston, John. Econometric Methods. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1971. ISBN: 0070326797.

Buy at Amazon McCloskey, Donald N. The Writing of Economics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986. ISBN: 0023795204.

Buy at Amazon Neugeboren, Robert H. Students Guide to Writing Economics. New York, NY: Routledge, 2005. ISBN: 0415701228.

Buy at Amazon Pindyck, Robert S., and Daniel L. Rubinfeld. Econometric Models and Economic Forecasts. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1997. ISBN: 0070502080.

Buy at Amazon Strunk, William Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Boston, MA: Longman, 1999. ISBN: 020530902X.

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Thomson, William. A Guide for the Young Economist. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN: 0262700794.

Stata manuals.

The MIT Undergraduate Journal of Economics.

Academic Policies

  1. You are encouraged to discuss all course material with other students in the class. However, discussion with others is intended to clarify ideas, concepts, and technical questions, not to derive group papers. Each student must hand in their own problem set and, obviously, their own research plan, first draft, and final draft of their paper.
  2. In fairness to students who complete assignments on time, there will be no extensions for the problem set, research plan, and first draft. There will be no extensions and later assignments will receive a zero. The location to turn in each of the assignments will be discussed in class.
  3. We will accept late versions of the final paper, but their grades will be penalized a half a letter grade for each day that the paper is late.
  4. Cheating or academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated and will result in swift punitive action. This includes but is not restricted to copying material from other students, lying, or plagiarizing from any source. See Citing and Using Sources for clarification on what constitutes plagiarism. Any student found to have cheated or behaved unethically or dishonestly will be given a grade of F on the assignment involved and referred to the appropriate MIT disciplinary committees for further action.