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Harvard International Economics

Essay Contest (HIEEC)

HIEEC provides students the opportunity to demonstrate an accomplished level of writing and understanding of economic theory. Through the contest, students hone their academic and professional skills and exhibit their knowledge. 

HIEEC 2023
Registration for HIEEC 2023 will open in October of this year. Please check back here at that time for more details. 
HIEEC 2022
HUEA thanks all those who participated in HIEEC 2022. The submissions were incredibly well researched, developed, and argued. Congratulations to our Finalists and Highly Commended Essays!
Professor Hart has concluded the final adjudication process, and we are proud to announce our three winners, listed below. Regarding the finalists, Professor Hart remarked:
“As in previous years I was impressed by the high quality of the finalists’ essays, which covered inflation, the environment, China’s birth rate, and housing shortages. It was very hard to pick the three winners as all eleven would have been worthy of a prize.”  
Click below to view each winner's essay
Ashwin Telang  *  Nanxi Jiang  *  Duncan Wong

Jiayun Li
Nanxi Jiang
Duncan W
Felicity W
Alex Coiov
Jessica Yi
Ashwin Telang
Aditya Swamy

Ethan Tian
Natalie Wong
Yechan Kim

Highly Commended

Kitty Sun
Sungjoo Kim
Ethan Huang
Kim Minjun
June Lee
Atharva Khetan
Mason Han
Nicholas Li
Ariyan Mishra
David Rhee
Jason Fu
Vaasav Gupta
Eric Liu
Chengqi Ma
Yuanheng Yue
Daniel Minsoo Choi
Seohyun Choi
Evan Merkov
Claire Tsai
Rahul Menon


The 2022 Harvard International Economics Essay Contest is sponsored by the Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA) in conjunction with the Harvard College Economics Review (HCER). This essay competition is open to high school students of any year and is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate an accomplished level of writing and understanding of economic theory. Through the contest, student competitors hone their academic and professional skills and exhibit their knowledge to future employers and academic programs. 

Competitors must construct a convincing argument using economic theory and real-world examples. Winning essays will be published in the Harvard Economics Review and will be available for the greater Harvard community to read. Essays should focus on argumentation supported with facts and references, although data-based support is also welcome.


2022 Essay Questions

  1. In recent years and decades, many countries have seen fertility rates drop, potentially leading to falling populations. Currently, China has a fertility rate of 1.3, one of the lowest in the world. However, in 2021, China experienced GDP growth of 8% with output totaling $17.7 trillion. Will this lowered fertility rate (with potential to fall further) affect China’s economic growth and policy? How so? What, if anything, can the Chinese government do to limit the risk of falling fertility rates?

  2. U.S. mortgage rates recently passed 7%, making the purchase of a new home increasingly unaffordable. Meanwhile, the United States has suffered from a chronic shortage of available housing for decades, particularly in urban areas, leading to what many scholars and advocates call an affordability crisis. Why is housing so unaffordable in the U.S.? What can (or should) be done by private actors, state and local governments, and the federal government to alleviate the affordability crisis?

  3. It is often suggested that a tradeoff exists between economic growth and the health of the environment, especially now as the threat of climate change becomes more dire. What economic risks does a changing climate pose? Can economic growth be consistent with a healthy environment? What policies, either market-based or otherwise, should governments enact to protect the environment while posing the least danger to economic efficiency? 

  4. Central banks such as the Federal Reserve in the U.S. and the Bank of England in the UK manage their nation’s macroeconomies with the goal of ensuring price stability and maximum employment. Globally, inflation rates are rising to levels not seen since the 1980s, particularly in the U.S. and European countries. To what extent should the monetary policies of central banks in various Western countries differ or resemble one another as a reaction to the specific causes of inflation facing their economies?

Key Dates

10th November 2022 – Essay titles released

11:59pm EST 7th January 2023 – Essay submission deadline

Early February – Highly Commended and Finalists notified

Early March – Winners notified, results published on the website


Entrants must choose one of the four prompts and write a response to it with a strict limit of 1500 words. Submission must be via the HUEA website and entrants are limited to submitting one essay with only the first submission being considered. Each essay submission will have a $20 reading fee which should be paid upon submission of the essay. If this fee will impose a significant financial burden on your family, please email us. The deadline for submitting the essay is 11:59pm EST January 7th, 2023. ​

Please submit essay submissions via this form.

If the above link does not work, use:


The essays will be judged by the boards of the HUEA and HCER, with the top 10 submissions being adjudicated by the esteemed Harvard professor and 2016 Economics Nobel Prize winner Oliver Hart.


The top three winning essays will be published (with the author’s permission) on the Harvard Economics Review online Publications. A finalists list of the top 10 submissions will be published online and adjudicated by 2016 Economics Nobel Prize Winner Oliver Hart. A further 20 names will receive honors of “Highly Commended” and their names will be published online​. The judges' decisions are final.



Terms and Conditions

  • The word limit of 1500 must be strictly adhered to. Any words past the limit will be truncated. This limit excludes references, footnotes, titles, headers and footers.

  • Essays must be written only by the entrant. Any outside assistance must be declared in the beginning or end of the essay.

  • Only your first submission will be accepted. Any further submissions will not be read.

  • References must be included, and any plagiarism will lead to disqualification.

  • References must be in Chicago or APA format. 

  • The only accepted document formatting is PDF. Any other format will not be accepted, nor will refunds be given to those who do follow this rule.

  • No refunds are granted.

  • Grades 9-12 are permitted.

  • The essay must not be entered in any other competition nor be published elsewhere.

  • No individual feedback of essays will be granted.

  • The decisions made by the HUEA, HCER and by the final round of adjudication are final.

  • All winners agree to their names being published on the HUEA website.

Past Winners


2019 Winner

2020 Winners

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