Honors & Independent Study

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Honors

The Undergraduate Honors Program in Economics (Econ 4990-4991) is an opportunity for students who have demonstrated academic excellence in the major to pursue an independent research project. The program runs for the entire senior year, and the research is conducted under the close supervision of a faculty advisor.

Admission to the Honors Program is selective, and it is based upon the following criteria:

  1. the content of and performance in coursework, both in economics and in general,
  2. a description of the proposed research question,
  3. a letter of recommendation from a member of the faculty, and
  4. prior research experience if any. Students typically develop empirical projects, but it is also possible to do experimental, theoretical, or historical work.

To complete the honors program, the student must successfully complete the sequence ECON 4990 followed by ECON 4991. The honors program candidate takes ECON 4990 "Honors Program Prep." in the fall semester of their senior year. In this course, the candidate articulates their research question by developing a thesis proposal, surveys the relevant literature, and assesses the relevant data. This is a 4-credit hour course and is taken as S/U only and thus cannot be counted as one of the 12 courses required to complete the economics major. If the thesis proposal is approved, the candidate is permitted to enroll in ECON 4991 "Honors Program" for the spring semester. This is a 4-credit hour course which must be taken for a Letter Grade. ECON 4991 can be used as one of the 12 courses required to complete the economics major (though it will not count as one of the 3 required 4000-level courses). Students who succesfully complete the two-course program are eligible for Latin Honors. The level of honors awarded-- cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude-- is based on thesis quality as well as performance in the major and other factors. 

Application:

Application forms can be found here and are also available from Allison Barrett (aeb238@cornell.edu). Admissions are on a rolling basis. Please note that, while highly unlikely, it is possible for the program to fill before the final application deadline. Applications are due by Friday, April 2, 2021.

Funding Resources

Students participating in the honors program are eligible to apply to the College of Arts & Sciences  for funding to reimburse expenses related to their research: https://as.cornell.edu/research/undergraduate-research#applying-to-einhorn-and-undergrad-research-fund

Honors Theses Samples:

2021

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Shilpy Agarwal Stephanie Thomas Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Re-Examination of the Relationship Between Female Labor Force Participation and the Real Minimum Wage
Jillian Bernstein Donald Kenkel, Eleonora Patacchini Cum Laude The Role of Price Transparency in the Market for Generic Over-the-counter Drugs
Victor Besse Tommaso Denti Cum Laude Media Interests and Information Costs in Probabilistic Voting with Rationally Inattentive Voters
Darren Chang Eswar Prasad Magna Cum Laude Simple Models of Central Bank Digital Currency in Small Open Economies
Sydney Eisenberg Max Kapustin, Eleonora Patacchini Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Evaluating the Camden, NJ, Police Restructuring: Analyzing Novel Police Reform in the Context of the Policing Production Function
Nicole Krisztinicz Philipp Kircher Cum Laude Teleworking and Labor Market Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States
Xiangru Li Michael Lovenheim Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Effect of Student Loan Debt on Household Investment Decisions in Stock & Bond Markets
Dylan Nezaj Nicolas Sanders Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Life in the Fast Lane: The Efficacy of New York State's Clean Pass Program
Zebang Xu Kristoffer Nimark Summa Cum Laude Crisis-Induced Technological Change
Steve Yeh Tommaso Denti Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Costly Monitoring and Moore Machines in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma
Linchen Zhang Kristoffer Nimark Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects How Do Retail Investors Respond to Stock Movements?--- Evidence from Robinhood
Kaitlyn Zhao Douglas McKee Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Household Registration, Housing Quality, and Wellbeing: A Comparative Mediation Analysis of Vietnam and China

2020

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Tasha Barnes Douglas McKee Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Greek or Geek: Assessing the Impact of Greek Membership on College Academic Performance
Jennifer Catalano Stephanie Thomas Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Role of Displacement Risk in the U.S. Women's Labor Market
Alexander Cha Alex Rees-Jones Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Tangible Impact of Physician Burnout Drivers on U.S. Physician Supply Levels
Ludvig Cedemar Evan Riehl Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Long-Run Economic Effects of Affirmative Action in College Admissions
Nicholas Hansen Francesca Molinari Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Arguments for Campaign Finance Reform: Using Instrumental Variables to Estimate the Effects of Campaign Spending
Ben (Jianda) Liu Eleonora Patacchini Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Impact of Technological Change on Employment
Michael Pinelis Yongmiao Hong and David Ruppert  Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Machine Learning Portfolio Allocation
Josue Sanchez Douglas McKee Magna Cum Laude On Migration in the Island of Hispaniola: Haitian Migrants in the Dominican Republic
Sameer Ziaee Scott Yonker Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Analyzing Trustee Recovery Rates in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies and Unsecured Credit Markets
Ann Zhang Eswar Prasad Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Equity Prices and the U.S.-China Trade War

2019

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Rebecca Cardinali Eleonora Patacchini, Hyuncheol Bryant Kim, Yae Eun Han, Seollee Park, Doug McKee Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Maternal Misperceptions of Child Height and Weight Status: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Ethiopia
Michael Gates Doug McKee Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Violent Conflict and Marital Fertility during the U.S. - Iraq War
Todd Lensman Maxim Troshkin, David Easley Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Nonlinear Income Taxation with General Preferences
Samuel Markiewitz Eleonora Patacchini Magna Cum Laude Family Socialization: A Critical Analysis of Family Composition and Congressional Roll Call Behavior
Sean McCulloch Stephanie Thomas, Colleen Carey Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Medicaid Expansion's Effect on Opioid Mortality
Jamil Rahman Matt Baron Cum Laude Credit Expansion and Asset Price Bubbles from 1870-2016
Yibo Sun Panle Barwick, Francesca Molinari, Marco Battaglini Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Insurance Coverage, Cost Sharing and Healthcare Utilization
Seongheon Yoon Eleonora Patacchini Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Systematic Risk in Scale-Free Interbank Credit Networks: Simulation on Default Cascades using the Barabasi-Albert Model

2018

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Daniel Holod Seth Sanders, Alison Chatrchyan, Chris Barrett, Kaushik Basu Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects In Love with the Cocoa: An Economic Analysis of the Adoption of Climate Smart Cocoa Farming in South Sumatra
Aixin Allison Jiang Francesca Molinari Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Economic Returns of Bilingualism: The Effects of Foreign Language Proficiency on Labor Market Outcomes in the United States
Pulkit Kashyap Eleonora Patacchini Magna Cum Laude Alumni Networks in the House of Representatives; Connecting Legislators through Educational Backgrounds
Karna Malaviya Michael Lovenheim Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Scoring the Scorecard: Estimating the Short-Term Effect of the College Scorecard on Application and Enrollment Behavior
Destin Royer Stephanie Thomas, Panle Barwick Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Revisiting the Changing Task Content of Jobs using Onet Data
Linfeng Shen Julieta Caunedo Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Allocation of Talent and Urban Economic Growth in China
Robin Wang Michael Waldman, Sean Nicholson Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Autism Prevalence and Precipitation in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland Local Authorities
Lala Xu Martin Wells Cum Laude The Effect of Race and Gender in Risk Assessment Algorithms

2017

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Yiheng Huang Panle Barwick Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all Subjects Detecting Collusion in Singapore's Automobile Industry
Noah Kwicklis Francesca Molinari Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Poverty, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents
Kenneth Lipke Eleonora Patacchini Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Measuring the Attenuation of Knowledge Spillovers: Geographic Versus Technological Proximity
Emma Sahn Sean Nicholson Magna Cum Laude The Effect of Physician Reimbursement on Colorectal Chemotherapy Treatment Decisions and Patient Survival
Eric Schulman Eleonora Patacchini, Eva Tardos, David Easley, Julieta Caunedo Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Food Networks
William Shao Matthew Baron, Wei Xiong Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects A New Approach to Identifying Banking Crises using Bank Equity Performance
Nivedita Vatsa Rachel Dunifon Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Family Income and Child Cognitive Development: Estimating the Short-Run and Long-Run Impact of Family Income on Achievement Test Scores
Fangfang Wan Ravi Kanbur Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Relationship between General Health Status and Household Economics in China
Yifei Wu Stephanie Thomas Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Family Income Background and the College Earnings Premium: Empirical Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979

2016

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Hyungjin Choi Hyunseob Kim Cum Laude  Are Founder CEOs Entrenched? Evidence from CEO Turnover
Hahyun Hwang Byoung Hyoun Hwang Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  The Relationship Between Tenure and Forecast Accuracy and Bias in Sell Side Research
Jin Han Kim Tatiana Homonoff Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Prospect of Upper Mobility: Overconfidant Expectations and Implications for Redistributive Preferences
Shohini Kundu Eswar Prasad Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects A Study on Foreign Allocation Bias: Portfolio Concentration in Emerging Markets and Advanced Economies
Zi Xian Sheryl Lim David Sahn Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects  Birth Order and Educational Attainment in Indonesia: Does Gender Matter?
Tianwang Liu Robert Masson Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The Pass-Through of Minimum Wages in the Fast Food Industry
Christopher Mills Chris Barrett Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Status Seeking in Rural Ghana
Kritika Oberoi Edward O'Donoghue Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects A Case Study on the Effectiveness of Female-Targeted Cash Transfers in Morocco
Rittik Rao David Easley Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects ETF Fair Valuation and Market Liquidity
Yixi Yang Joerg Stoye Magna Cum Laude Exploring the Chinese-U.S. Credit Ratings Gap

 2015

Name Advisors Honors/Distinction Thesis Title
Kushagra Aniket Eswar Prasad, Kristoffer Nimark, Karel Mertens, Yongmiao Hong, Joerg Stoye Summa Cum Laude, Distinction in all subjects, and Uri M. Possen Memorial Award The Yield Curve as a Predictor of Economic Growth and Inflation: Evidence from India
Shengmao Cao Panle Barwick Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects The SO2 Tax System in China and Its Effects on SO2 Emissions
Feng Hui Dileen Ee David Easley Summa Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Evidence of Moral Hazard in Online Banking and Payment Security
Grace Gorenstein George Hay Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Edgeworth Cycles in Seven Metropolitan U.S. Retail Gasoline Markets: REgular Price Cycles with Inconsistent Market Characteristics and Undetermined Antitrust Implications
Jeevan Gyawali Robert Masson, Francesca Molinari, Joerg Stoye Magna Cum Laude Are Particular Groups of Consumers at a Disadvantage in the Financial Products Market?
Yuezhou Huo Ronald Ehrenberg, Kevin Hallock, Richard Mansfield Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Finding Last Name Initial Bias in Economic Publications
Connor Rossner Jura Liaukonyte, Thomas Lyons Cum Laude The Problem of Cornell Cinema: Demand Analysis, Movie Curating, and the Uniform Pricing Puzzle
Arnav Sahu Eswar Prasad Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects Beverage Curves and Pent Up Wage Deflation: Industry Analysis
Matthew Vitha Scott Yonker Cum Laude Quantifying the Impact of Regulatory Reforms on the Market for OTC Derivatives: The Effect of Central Clearing on European Credit Default Swap Indices and Counterparty Risk
Wenhai Yang Hassan Enayati, Shengmao Cao, Jianing Ying, Dan Peng Magna Cum Laude and Distinction in all subjects School Starting Age and Mental Health
Kaiwen Zhong Lourdes Casanova Cum Laude Local Media Coverage and Its Relationship with China's Outbound Mergers and Acquisition in Developed Countries: Evidence from Canada, The United Kingdom, and The United States

Independent Study

This program is less selective and less formal than the Honors Program, but also offers Economics majors an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and to conduct original research. Students participating in this program enroll in Econ 4999, Independent Study in Economics; this course carries variable credit, and is available both fall and spring semesters. Before enrolling in Econ 4999, the student must submit a proposal for independent study, approved by a member of the Economics Department. ECON 4999 will not count toward the 12 required courses for the Economics major.

To apply for A&S independent study, you will need to complete an online form which you can access via data.arts. The form should be completed within the first two weeks of the semester.  

For further information, see any member of the Economics Department, and visit the College of Arts & Sciences Academic Advising Center, G17 Klarman Hall.