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 2023-2024 is now live. Please read below for the rules and submission guidelines.
The 2023-2024 Harvard International Economics Essay Contest is sponsored by the Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA). 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 on our website 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.
2023-2024 Essay Questions
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to affect growth, inequality, productivity, innovation, and employment. OpenAI’s ChatGPT, in particular, has greatly increased public awareness about the significance of AI and its implications for the future. What impact will the development of AI have on economic inequality, the composition of the workforce, and economic output as a whole? How can nations prepare for the micro and macroeconomic changes brought about by AI?
Measuring national and global economic activity allows us to understand how economies change in size and structure—how they grow and contract. In addition to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), government budgets, and the money supply, alternatives like the Human Development Index (HDI) and Gross National Income (GNI) are used to assess economic progress. What are the advantages of our current economic indices, including GDP, HDI, GNI, government budgets, and the money supply, and in what areas are they lacking? Which of these indices do you find most helpful, and how can we enhance or combine them to improve our understanding of economic measurement?
Proponents of income redistribution support the idea that redistribution policies will increase economic stability and give more opportunities to the less wealthy. Others, however, are more skeptical and believe it could have negative consequences for economic growth. Current methods of redistribution include taxation, welfare, public services, and other monetary policies. What strategies for income redistribution should the U.S. adopt from other countries? What economic impacts could a wealth tax or super millionaire tax have? What type of redistribution is most effective and feasible? What would be the impacts of the U.S. enacting universal basic income? Discuss the implications of any of these issues and feel free to expand on other areas of economic redistribution.
As the United States weighs the impacts of China’s rise to global prominence, economics and national security have become increasingly intertwined. As a result, the United States government has imposed both tariffs and investment restrictions on China to limit the nation’s access to both US markets and intellectual property (specifically in sensitive industries such as semiconductors). What are the economic implications of these policies for United States firms, consumers, and workers? Discuss the most important perspectives of the US-China trade war and provide suggestions on how both countries can manage the prospect of a changing economic order.
2nd November 2023 – Essay titles released
11:59pm EST 5th January 2024 – Essay submission deadline
Early February 2024 – Highly Commended and Finalists notified
Early March 2024 – 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 5th, 2024.
Please submit essay submissions via this form.
*Be sure to read all the details in the submission form carefully before submitting, as failure to complete any of the steps correctly may result in your submission not being considered.
The essays will be judged by the board of the HUEA, 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 our website. 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 not 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 HUEA by the final round of adjudication are final.
All winners agree to their names being published on the HUEA website.
Click below to view each winner's essay