Stay tuned for the 2020 competition. We expect to open registration within the next few weeks.
Last year's winners:
For all essay competition enquiries:
Open to: High School Students, Grade 9-12 (International), Year 10-13 (UK) or students aged between 15 and 18
The Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA), in collaboration with the Harvard College Economics Review (HCER), is delighted to announce the commencement of a new annual essay competition. This essay competition will be open to high school students of any year and is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate an accomplished level of writing and to also demonstrate a convincing and well-argued essay. The competition is also an excellent opportunity to display, to colleges and universities, your high level writing skills on Common Application and UCAS personal statements.
The utilization of economic theory and real-world examples is strongly emphasised upon constructing a convincing argument. This essay should focus more on argumentation supported with facts and references, as opposed to rigorous data-based support (therefore more of a summary paper as opposed to a research paper).
There will be four questions that will be posted on the HUEA website on February 3rd. Entrants must choose one of these questions 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 $5 fee which must be paid upon submission of the essay. The deadline for submitting the essay will be 11:59pm April 30th 2019. There will be a $1,000 grand prize as well as prizes for second and third place.
The essays will be judged by the boards of the HUEA and HCER, with the top 15 submissions being adjudicated by the esteemed Harvard professor and 2016 Economics Nobel Prize winner Oliver Hart.
Entry is $5 and is open to high school students from any country and any school. Submissions without payment will not be considered.
1. Make the $5 payment via Paypal or Venmo at the top of this page (email us if you have any issues with this)
2. Only once you have paid the $5 registration fee, fill in the registration form which is also at the top of the page. (You need to have filled in "Yes" to the payment question or your submission will not be counted)
3. Submit an essay in the box "Add Essay Here"
4. Note: You will not receive confirmation of receipt of essay. We will email you if it is missing
Each essay should address only one of the questions in your chosen subject category, and must not exceed 1500 words (not counting diagrams, tables of data, footnotes, bibliography or authorship declaration). Please submit your essay to the form below, saved in pdf format. The title of the pdf attachment should read Last Name_First Name_Question Number (e.g. Smith_John_2).
1st Prize: $1000
2nd Prize: $250
3rd Prize: $100
A finalists list of the top 15 submissions will be published online and adjudicated by 2016 Economics Nobel Prize Winner Oliver Hart. The above essays will be published (with the authors' permission) and be available for general purchase in a special edition of the Economics Review.
A further 20 names will receive honors of “Highly Commended” and their names will be published online
The judges' decisions are final.
11:59pm EST Sunday 3rd February 2019 – Essay titles released
11:59pm EST Tuesday 30th April 2019 – Essay deadline
Late May – Highly Commended and Finalists notified
Late May – Winners notified, results published on the website
2019 Essay Questions
Q1: Behavioral economists have demonstrated that the ability to choose from several options can produce sub-optimal decisions. Under what conditions do people make bad decisions when there are too many options? What are the behavioral implications?
Q2: International trade has been subject to trade barriers, which include tariffs, licenses, and quotas. These trade barriers are a lightning rod for macroeconomic debate. What is the effect of these trade barriers? Is there a good case for having them?
Q3: It is hypothesized that with the advancement of artificial intelligence and robotics techniques, manual labor and other blue-collar jobs may mostly be eliminated from the economy. What are the economic implications of this shift in the United States and to what extent will labor flexibility and quantity be reduced?
Q4: As more economists discuss the possibility of an upcoming recession in light of indicators like the yield curve inversion, what can central banks world wide and fiscal policy leaders do if a recession does occur?
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 who declared they wrote it, and any outside assistance must be declared in the submission form
Only your first submission will be accepted, any further submissions will not be read
References must be included, and significant plagiarism will lead to disqualification
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.
Please direct any questions to
Denise Hui Jean Lee