Economics Research Experience for Undergraduates

June 25–July 14

More than 50 undergraduate students expanded their economic knowledge and research skills in this series of summer seminars .

Designed for University of Chicago students in the College working as research assistants over the summer, the program featured research presentations by leading faculty and practical, hands-on software tutorials that demonstrated common research software.

Only at Chicago would undergraduates enjoy the opportunity to hear Institute chair and Nobel laureate Gary Becker's guiding principles for great research and his approach to his current research interest in socioeconomic inequality. Encouraged to ask him questions on any topic, they inquired about research on income trends among immigrants and how matching theory applies to modern marriage trends.

They saw Institute Research director Lars Peter Hansen model his latest work on how uncertainty and risk are incorporated in asset pricing – work he presented to officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston shortly afterward. Lectures by Matthew Gentzkow and Steven Davis lectures demonstrated how applying economic analysis to the vast stores of digital data available today can help us understand political bias in the news and the impact of uncertainty on financial markets. Research Scholar Scott Kominers introduced matching theory and market design, then put the principles into practice in an exercise where students helped design an improved online dating service.

In tutorial sessions, they learned ways to extract useful data from the Internet to study economic questions and learned useful techniques for turning statistical data into reports for publication.

The pilot program was developed in collaboration with the Department of Economics' Undergraduate Program. Based on feedback from faculty and participants, the Institute aims to refine and potentially expand the program in the future.  


Faculty Presentations

Perspectives on Economic Research Applied to Intergenerational Inequality

  • Gary Becker (UChicago Department of Economics, Sociology, Chicago Booth, and Law School)
  • View Presentation »

Thinking About Risk Using Financial Data, Macroeconomics, and Some Econometrics

Theory, Practice, and Engineering in Market Design

Research Employing Text as Data

Research That Uses GIS/ARCGIS

Empirical Finance

Working Sessions

Four different working sessions demonstrated STATA, MATLAB, GIS software applications, and programming tools for collecting and analyzing data (including text) from the web. UChicago Graduate student mentors leading these sessions were Trevor Gallen, Mark Hendricks and Joern Boehnke.

Macroeconomic & Finance Applications using MATLAB

  • Mark Hendricks

Microeconomic Applications using STATA

  • Trevor Gallen

Acquiring Data from the WWW: Programming, Ethics, and Practice

  • Jorn Boehnke