Student Research

The Department of Economics provides several avenues for students to become researchers.

Students may elect to do independent study in economics, and majors in pursuit of honors will take the Economics Research Seminar as part of their coursework.

2020 Case Summer Fellows Program

Launched in the summer of 2015, the Case Summer Fellows Program fosters research collaboration between Economics faculty and student research assistants. The virtual program is 6 weeks long beginning June 8, 2020. Student researchers are paid for their work through the Karl E. Case Fund.

The Economics department is interested in hiring several 2020 Case Summer Fellows. Fellows will provide research assistance and curricular support for one or more members of the economics faculty and will provide general department support as needed.

Students will be expected to work full time (35 hours) for 6 weeks and will receive $3000.

Applicants should send a resume and a one-paragraph statement of interest to Prof. Olga Shurchkov (email: and Ms. Sheila Datz (email: Applications received by Friday, March 13th will receive full consideration. A first round of decisions can be expected by the end of March with additional positions possibly opening up thereafter.

The Case Summer program is only open to current Wellesley College students. Contact Olga Shurchkov for additional information. Note that you may apply to work with one or more different faculty members, and we will match you to the best of our ability.

Summer 2020 Case Projects

Baafra Abeberese:

Place-based policies are being increasingly used to reduce geographic economic disparities in developing countries. However, the economic opportunities generated by these policies may have the unintended effect of attracting migrants to the areas that receive the policies. This migration could, in turn, temper the effects of the policies for the intended beneficiaries. We provide empirical evidence on whether migration responds to place-based policies by studying a policy in India that provided tax exemptions for newly-created firms in eligible districts, with the aim of stimulating economic growth. We exploit the eligibility threshold for the policy by using a regression discontinuity design in conjunction with several sources of data to assess the impact of the place-based policy on migration.

Courtney Coile:

My first priority is to get help creating new teaching materials for Econ 203. I am teaching 3 sections in 2020-21 and some of my materials are 20 years old, so it seems time for an upgrade! I would really need someone who has already taken 203 so that they can create and work with data extracts, run regressions, etc.  There is also an opportunity to work on Prof. Coile's new research ideas.

Casey Rothschild and Akila Weerapana:

The successful applicant will assist Professors Casey Rothschild and Akila Weerapana in developing and curating materials for the WISE program. This may include: writing case studies; curating materials for in-class debates; crafting solutions to in-class exercises; researching related programs at peer institutions. 

Pinar Keskin: 

I am an applied micro-economist focusing on public policy issues, with a particular emphasis on issues of gender, ethnicity and resource access in developing countries. This summer I, along with my coauthor, plan on analyzing a recently acquired data set to investigate the impacts of industrial water use directly on groundwater scarcity and indirectly on day-to-day decisions of rural farmers in India. Econ 203 is a prerequisite for this position.

Gauri Kartini Shastry:

This project studies the impact of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (previously known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) on vaccine coverage rates and child health in developing countries. Founded in 2000, Gavi focuses on improving access to vaccines through subsidies and negotiating lower prices with pharmaceutical companies and on bolstering health and vaccine delivery infrastructure. Using data on more than 10 different vaccines, over 160 countries, and birth cohorts spanning almost 40 years, we examine trends in vaccine coverage rates before and after Gavi introduced support. We compare these trends for vaccines supported by Gavi to vaccines not supported by Gavi, as a placebo test. I am looking for a student who is familiar with Stata (taught in Economics 203), is willing to learn more Stata, and has good communication and organization skills.

Kyung Park:

The goal of this project is to examine the role that speech patterns play in racial and gender discrimination. We would like a student to conduct an extensive literature review on this topic. The literature would span multiple disciplines. The student would then help us use this information to help to craft an experimental design that would allow us to parse out the role of speech more rigorously. This is joint work with Olga Shurchkov.  Qualifications include excellent communication, organizational, and critical thinking skills.  Preference to students who have completed 200-level coursework in Economics.

Phil Levine:

Research for his new book project on financial aid.

Joe Joyce:

Research with cross-country data on Foreign Direct Investment and remittances.




Research Opportunities for Students and Alumnae

The economics department offers the Peggy Howard Fellowship for advanced study or research. Students may also apply for research fellowships such as the Jerome A. Schiff Undergraduate Fellowship. They may be interested in the multdisciplinary approach of The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute and apply for a fellowship (and further internship) there. Outside organizations also offer possibilities for economics students, such as The Fulbright Program or The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, among many others.

Internships are also available via the Wellesley Department of Economics Audrey Freeman '51 Summer Internship in Economics , general College internships that can be pursued with an economics focus, such as Wellesley Internships in Latin America , or internships through other academic or research organizations such as The Brookings Institute .

Career Education as well as economics department faculty can help guide students to promising internships and fellowships for their own research.

The Ruhlman Conference

Made possible by the Barbara Peterson Ruhlman Fund for Interdisciplinary Study, the Ruhlman Conference takes place each spring semester and is intended to foster collaboration among students and faculty across the disciplines and to enhance the intellectual life of the College. The conference celebrates intellectual life by sponsoring a communal, public event where students have an opportunity to present their work to an unusually wide audience. By providing an opportunity for public presentation of what is often a private, isolated activity, the conference demonstrates that research can be part of the ongoing conversation in a community of scholars.

Students in the Economics Department frequently participate in this conference as an invaluable opportunity to present the findings of their  thesis research.