Economics Undergraduate Research Projects

What is Undergraduate Research In Economics?

Undergraduate research typically involves an in-depth investigation, in the form of a research project, that is conducted by an undergraduate student being supervised by a faculty mentor. As such, Undergraduate Research provides an excellent opportunity for students to:

  • work on an issue or question that they are interested in.
  • learn how economists actually do research:- how they analyze and investigate questions of interest.
  • learn how to think critically by investigating a topic.
  • gain additional skills by being exposed to and mastering more advanced analytical and quantiative skills beyond what they might learn in a classroom.
  • work more closely in a collaborative and mentoring context with a professor.
  • improve their presentation skills by presenting their results at a conference

On top of the academic and collaborative benefits that come from undergraduate research there are tangible benefits, as well. The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) provides grant opportunities that support undergraduate research. In addition, the Department of Economics and the College of Business and Economics offers competitive grants that support the dissemination of results of the research.

How to Pursue Undergraduate Research in Economics

The Department of Economics provides a number of ways for interested students to pursue undergraduate research. For example, some students pursue an undergraduate research project through an independent study (ECON 498) course for credit, working under the mentorship of a faculty member. The other way that students typically become involved in undergraduate research is through working in the Fiscal and Economic Research Center. Students interested in the latter should contact Professor Russ Kashian.

Examples of Undergraduate Research Projects by Economics Students

2012  2011  2010  2009  2008


# - Presented research at conference (NCUR/UGR Day/Professional Conference)

% - Received an Undergraduate Research Grant

* - Won award

2012 - 2013

  • Jeremy Peterson% (2012 - 2013) "The Demand for Supermarkets in the Food Deserts of Wisconsin"

2011 - 2012

  • Jaeger Nelson#* (2011-2012) "Does the Gender Composition of Executive Boards Affect Corporate Profits?" - winner of most Outstanding Social Science and Business Oral Presentation award at UW-Whitewater's Undergraduate Research Day
  • Margo Lang (2011-2012) "The Effects of Taverns and Liquor Licenses on Traffic Safety"
  • Kyria Smith# (2011-2012) "Christianity and Crime: A Study on Religiosity's Impact on Crime Rates"
  • Mitchell M. Klink (2011-2012)  "The Effects of Native American Casinos on Wisconsin Communities"
  • Michael Babington#% (2011-2012) "How Does Minnesota's Open Enrollment Program Affect Student Performance"
  • Taylor Warden% (2011-2012) "Does a High Percentage of Jewish Adherents in a County Affect Income Equality?"
  • Steven Rockwell# (2011 - 2012) "Determinants of Persistence in Cyclical Unemployment"
  • Neil Lockwood% (2011 - 2012) "Times of Uncertainty and Flight to Safety"
  • Neil Lockwood% (2011 - 2012) "Certificates of Deposit: Normal or Inferior Good?"

2010 - 2011

  • Eric Cramer# (2010-2011) "Coefficient Changes in a Taylor Rule: Did the Pre-Volcker Fed Cause the Great Inflation?"
  • Eric Cramer# (2010-2011) "Revisiting Hoxby's Findings on Competition in Michigan Schools: The Result of the Cap"
  • Ben Brenton#% (2010-2011) "The Effects of Digital Piracy on DVD Sales"
  • Quinton Baker (2010-2011) "An Examination of Same and Opposite Gender Instruction in Primary Schools"

2009 - 2010

  • Kyle Halweg#% (2009-2010) "Does Racial Discrimination Exist in the Head Coaching Ranks of the NFL?"
  • Justin Kasper# (2009-2010) "A State and Country Analysis of Homelessness in the U.S."
  • Joseph D. Carroll Jr. (2009-2010) Sex Offender Registries: Rational Interpretation of Available Data"


2008 - 2009

  • Amanda N. McClain*#% (2008-2009) "Effects of Extracurricular Opportunities on ACT Scores" - winner of most Outstanding Physical and Social Science Oral Presentation award at UW-Whitewater's Undergraduate Research Day
  • Mathew LeDonne#% (2008-2009) "Taxation's Effects on the Number of Businesses in Wisconsin Counties"
  • Robert Shepard (2008-2009) "The Political Business Cycle"