Economics 384: Research Project in Economics

"A course that mirrors today's work world." Those are the words of an economics graduate. Here's more of what was said:

I am working as an analyst for a global reinsurance brokerage firm .... I remember sitting in ... your classes ... listening to ... stories of graduates who explained ... how their economics courses helped them in their careers. To tell you the truth, being the inexperienced college kid that I was ..., it was difficult to perceive how the application of the textbook models and theories could actually be used in the "real" world. However, now I look back on those stories you told and realize you were right!

I am applying skills ... acquired in my economics career to my job each and every day. It began in the interview when the senior brokers became impressed with my explanation of the process of the 384 project. I later found out, the process of my research into the "Asian Financial Crisis" for my 384 project is much like the one in being a part of a broker team and getting a reinsurance deal placed. A problem exists (the client or insurance co., needs reinsurance), then analytical Excel work is used to examine the risk the client is taking on and developing a thesis as to which reinsurance program would be most efficient, and then a PowerPoint presentation of your thesis and solution to the problem takes place, but instead of presenting to a group of professors, now it is to the senior management of insurance companies and reinsurer markets from around the world.

I am only in my third month here ... and have a lot to learn, however, as a new college year begins, and fresh econ classes come to life, I thought that this year it was my turn to be the one dropping you a line letting you know you were right. And Thanks.

The Research Project in Economics is designed to be a capstone research experience for senior economics majors. The course focuses on students conducting their own economic analysis, the results of which are then presented orally and in writing.

In ECON 384, each student develops an economic question, which is then analyzed using an appropriate economic framework and evidentiary support. Guided by the professor of record as well as the entire economic department, students apply their knowledge from previous coursework as they "do" economics.

The following is a general guideline of assignments with approximate deadlines that are due during the semester:

  1. Develop a topic, research question, and analytical framework: Weeks 1 - 3
  2. Initial Proposal and Faculty Panel: Weeks 4 - 5
  3. Expanded Written Proposal: Weeks 5 - 6
  4. First Draft: Weeks 7 - 8
  5. Formal Oral Presentation: Last 2 weeks of semester
  6. Final Draft: At end of semester. [This draft will incorporate ideas and questions asked during the formal oral presentation.]