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.

2019 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 program is 9 weeks long beginning June 3, 2019. Housing is available on the Wellesley campus. Student researchers are paid for their work and housing through the Karl E. Case Fund.

The Economics department is interested in hiring several 2019 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 9 weeks and will receive $4140 and campus housing. Housing is available on Wellesley College Campus. [Arrangements can be made by contacting the Housing Office (phone 718.283.2809)]

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 15th 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. 

Potential faculty projects for Case Summer 2019 Fellows:

Olga Shurchkov

Examples of projects I would need help with include the following (although other related ones might come up):

  1. Effect of career outcome information from role models on educational attainment decisions
  2. Effect of feedback on beliefs about ability and subsequent economic decisions
  3. Help prepare macroeconomics content modules for EdX

I am looking for students who are familiar with Stata, and are willing to learn more Stata. Great attention to detail, communication and organization skills are a must.


Ama Baafra Abeberese

  1. The Impact of Trade on Linkages Between the Formal and Informal Sector

This project will analyze the impact of openness to trade on firms in the informal sector in developing economies.  The focus will be on the implications of foreign competition for the role of informal firms as suppliers of inputs to formal firms. We will use data on Indian firms and exploit variation in exposure to trade induced by a trade reform program in India in 1991 and the expansion of Chinese exports in India following China’s accession to the WTO.

  1. Input Tariff Liberalization and Consumer Prices

This project analyzes the effect of trade liberalization on consumer prices using consumption expenditure data and data on tariff changes induced by an Indian trade reform program. Taking into account both output and input tariff changes, we examine how the impacts vary with the product's scope for quality differentiation.

Successful applicants need working knowledge of Stata (acquired in ECON 203 or beyond).


Kartini Shastry

  1. One of my research interests relates to how people make financial decisions. I am studying the impact of financial training workshops on the decisions of migrant mineworkers in South Africa and the impact of similar workshops on the financial decisions of female migrant workers in Singapore. Another research project is examining the impact of Financial Literacy Centers on financial outcomes in India. 
  2. A second research interest relates to child nutrition. I am studying two school nutrition interventions in India to evaluate the impact of these programs. Another related project is looking at the long term impact of increases in agricultural productivity in India on health. 
  3. Finally, I am also working on a project with Professor Shurchkov about gender differences in reactions to feedback when the feedback is based partly on luck.  

Students working with me will either assist on one of the projects described above or a similar project. 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.

Joseph Joyce

My research deals with the foreign direct investment of multinational corporations, and the income it generates for them. Most of these firms are based in a few advanced economies, and consequently the income flows to those countries from emerging market economies. I will work with a student to obtain data from different public sources and then to undertake the empirical analysis.

Knowledge of Excel is a prerequisite, and preference will be given to those who can use Stata. Some knowledge of international macro is also helpful.


Casey Rothschild and Akila Weerapana

The summer Case Fellow would help us draft cases based on faculty research for the Wellesley Initiative for Scholars of Economics (WISE) program.

No specific background is required, but past participation in WISE is a plus. 


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 .

The Center for Work and Service 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.