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.

2021 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 8 weeks long beginning June 7, 2021. Student researchers are paid for their work through the Karl E. Case Fund.

The Economics department is interested in hiring several 2021 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 8 weeks and will receive $4000.

Applicants should apply via Handshake and provide resume, unofficial transcript and a 250-word max statement of interest. 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. Applications received by Friday, March 26th will receive full consideration.

To adhere to US LABOR LAWS, The Summer Case Fellows Program is only open to current full-time Wellesley College students living in the US during the summer. Students assisting with a faculty member's active research need to be treated as student employees. Student employees who will be located outside of the United States may not work for the College this spring or summer. Please contact Student Financial Services for more information.
 

Summer 2021 Case Projects
 

Baafra Abeberese and Joe Joyce

Case Fellowship: Research on three projects in international economics

Examples of projects the fellow will assist with:

  1. (Prof. Abeberese) This project provides empirical evidence on the effect of trade liberalization on consumer prices, taking into account the impacts of both output and input tariffs and differences across goods with respect to the scope for quality differentiation. The project uses consumer expenditure data together with data on tariff changes induced by an Indian trade reform.
  2. (Prof. Abeberese) This project provides 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 policy on migration.
  3. (Prof. Joyce) Advanced economies and developing economies differ in a number of aspects, including their relative factor abundance. The advanced economies are capital abundant, and the developing economies are usually labor abundant. Consequently, multinational firms based in the advanced economies establish operations in the developing economies through foreign direct investment, while workers in the developing economies migrate to the advanced economies. These activities generate income for their respective home countries: FDI profits for the advanced economies, remittances for the developing economies. In the past thirty years both income flows are grown substantially, although the pandemic has caused each to fall. I am studying the impact of these income flows on both the advanced and developing economies, as well as studying the size of their recent declines.

    Qualifications: proficiency in Excel and Stata.
     

Eric Hilt
Case Fellowship: The Choice of Organizational Form Among American Investment Banks, 1900-1975

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, it was commonly argued that the financial stability of investment banks was imperiled by their organization as corporations, rather than partnerships. Yet the role of the corporate form in the near-collapse of many investment banks in 2008 is impossible to analyze, since there were no longer any major investment banking partnerships to use as a basis for comparison. This project will use newly collected data to study the choice of organizational form among investment banks from 1900 through 1975. During that period, the partnership was the dominant organizational form in the industry, but beginning in the 1950s, the corporate form became more common. The study will analyze the transition to the corporate form in the industry, and its consequences for the capital adequacy and survival rates of investment banks during earlier financial crises. The project will involve substantial data collection and analysis from primary sources.

Qualifications: proficiency in Stata

 

Kartini Shastry and Olga Shurchkov
Case Fellowship:  Gender differences in persisting

This project builds on previous work studying gender differences in how women and men respond to noisy feedback. In a previous paper, “Luck or Skill: How Women and Men React to Noisy Feedback” we conducted a lab experiment online and found that women are more likely to attribute negative feedback (even when due to luck) to their own ability on a male-stereotyped task, relative to men. Women then choose not to compete in a subsequent task, even though it would pay more. In future work, we are planning to study the impact of randomized feedback on gender differences in persisting in a male-dominated field. Students working with me will either assist on this project or a similar project.

We are looking for a student who is familiar with Stata (taught in Economics 203), is detail-oriented, is willing to learn Qualtrics and more Stata, and has good communication and organization skills.

 

Casey Rothschild and Akila Weerapana
Case Fellowship: Wellesley Initiative for Scholars of Economics (WISE) Case Study Development

Fellows will work with Casey Rothschild and Akila Weerapana to develop and refine materials related to the Wellesley Initiative for Scholars of Economics (WISE) -- and possibly related to some other nascent initiatives.

Experience with WISE is preferred but not required; a commitment to and passion for fostering inclusive excellence is a must.  No other qualifications are required.

 

Kyung Park
Case Fellowship:  Exploring topics of race and gender inequality in America.

Case Fellow will work on projects related to racial and gender inequities in America. Tasks will involve qualitative research and possibly quantitative research using Stata, R, or another program to analyze data. Research questions/projects range from trying to understand the relationship between race and residential choice, small business visits during the coronavirus pandemic, and the internment of Japanese persons in the 1940's.

 

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.