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.

2018 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 4, 2018. 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 2018 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 for 9 weeks and will receive $3875 plus a $1350 allotment for housing. Timing of the 9 weeks is flexible. Housing is available on Wellesley College Campus. [Arrangements can be made by contacting the Housing Office (phone 718.283.2809)]

Applicants should send a CV and a one-paragraph statement of interest to Prof. Casey Rothschild (email: and Ms. Sheila Datz (email:  Applications received by Wednesday, March 14th will receive full consideration. A first round of decisions can be expected by Wednesday, March 21st, but there will likely be additional positions opening up thereafter.

Contact Prof. Rothschild for additional information. 


Projects for the summer of 2018:

Susan Skeath Projects:

  1. Editing a microeconomic theory textbook (201 level), writing problems, and writing solutions to those problems.
  2. Course preparation for Econ 341 (Industrial Organization)

Requirements: Econ 201.


Kartini Shastry potential projects:

  1. How do people make financial decisions? Prof. Shastry is studying the impact of financial training workshops on the decisions of migrate mineworkers in South African and the impact of similar workshops on the financial decisions of female migrant workers in Singapore.
  2. How do school nutrition programs impact child health? Prof Shastry is studying two school nutrition interventions in India to evaluate the impact of these programs.
  3. Prof. Shasty is also working on a project with Prof. Shurchkov about gender differences in response to feedback for students at community colleges.


Joe Joyce potential projects:

Prof. Joyce’s research deals with financial globalization. His current work looks at the foreign assets and liabilities of nations, and the investment income that these yield in the form of profits, interest and dividends. As capital flows have increased, so has the investment income that they pay out. Prof. Joyce is looking for an assistant to help him finish two papers on investment income flows from emerging and markets and advanced economies.

Requirements: working knowledge of Excel.


Baafra Abeberese projects:

Firms under Dictatorship and Democracy: Evidence from Indonesia's Democratic Transition
After the unexpected collapse of President Soeharto’s regime in Indonesia in 1998, the Soeharto-era district mayors were allowed to complete their five-year terms instead of being immediately replaced by democratically-elected mayors. Prof. Abeberese is exploiting the resulting variation in political regimes across districts over time to analyze the behavior of firms in democracies versus autocracies.

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. Prof. Abeberese plans to 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.


Dan Fetter project:

Prof. Fetter is looking for a student assistant who will work on projects relating to the expansion of social insurance in the United States. His current and anticipated future projects focus on how social insurance has affected family relationships and the distribution of population and economic activity across space.


Pinar Keskin project:

In the past 5 years around 3 million Syrians, fleeing war, have found refuge in Turkey. Using the latest rounds of the Turkish Labour Force Surveys, Prof. Keskin’s work shows that Turkish women experienced a net displacement from the labor market (both in the formal and informal sectors) and declining earning opportunities as a result of refugee influx. She and co-authors are now interested in understanding the potential impacts of this decline on household dynamics and the prevalence of domestic violence in Turkish households.

Requirements: Econ 203


Kristin Butcher project:

It is well known that the U.S. population is aging.  The Census Bureau predicts that there will be about 19 million Americans aged 85 and up in 2050.  Estimates suggest that about 40 percent of 80 year olds are living with some type of disability, and this rises to 80 percent by age 95.  Currently, the foreign born are about 18 percent of the workforce overall, but they comprise 22 percent, 26 percent, and 47 percent, respectively, of health service providers (health aides etc.), health diagnosticians (MDs etc.), and home service providers (housekeepers, gardeners etc.).  Demand for these services is likely to rise as the population ages.  This project will use several different data sources to estimate how many workers in occupations that disproportionately serve the elderly will be needed in the next 30 years, and how many additional foreign-born workers will be needed in the U.S. in the coming years to fill those positions, assuming current trends continue.

Requirements: Econ 203   



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.