Honors and Prizes
Each spring the department nominates several of our graduating seniors for departmental honors. The college makes the final decision as to which students will receive honors. To be nominated by the department, there are two formal requirements:
• GPA: Your departmental GPA must be at least a 3.7. You must have this GPA when you begin your senior year and at the end of the senior year. Your departmental GPA includes all of your grades in economics courses and the required statistics and mathematics requirements.
• Senior Honors Thesis: You must also receive a grade of at least A- in W4999 Senior Honors Thesis. This is a year-long course which you may substitute for your senior seminar requirement.
Senior Honors Thesis
• If you register for the Senior Honors Thesis, then unlike the other senior seminars you will not be attending a weekly seminar with the other prospective honors students. Instead, you will be working one-on-one with your individual faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor will establish the exact form of your thesis but the thesis should represent an original contribution to economics and should not simply be a literature review. Frequently the thesis contains original empirical work.
• The senior honors thesis is a full year course, and you will not receive a grade until you have completed both semesters. If you complete both semesters, then you will have also satisfied your senior seminar requirement in the department. If you do not complete both semesters, then you must take a senior seminar to graduate as a major, and the course W4999 Senior Honors Thesis will be removed from your transcript.
• Your chosen topic should be one that you have a genuine interest in studying and one that you have spent some time thinking about during your time at Columbia. The topic can be one that arose from a class or an assignment that you have already completed here or from a work or research experience that you have had recently. For example, suppose that you took an environmental economics course where you learned about the numerous ways that the government can intervene in a market to correct the distortion caused by an externality (e.g. pollution). A starting point for the topic of your senior thesis might be the study of the success or failure of one or more of these government interventions in a particular market.
• During the spring semester of your junior year you should begin to think formally about the topic. One good idea would be to read a little background material on the topic (e.g. your class notes or a book that generated your initial interest). By the end of the spring semester you should be able to write a couple of paragraphs about the topic and why it interests you and you should be able to speak with a faculty member about your proposed topic.
• You will work one-on-one with your senior thesis advisor. He or she will have the primary responsibility for advising you on your work, as well as establishing a schedule for you so that you can complete your thesis on time. He or she will also grade the final paper.
• You may work with any member of the Economics Department, the Barnard Economics Department and the Economics and Finance division of the Business School. At the beginning of the process (in the spring of your junior year) when you speak with the director of the honors program, he or she will ask you if there is a faculty member that you would like to work with. To answer this question, you have to be familiar with the faculty members and their interests. Ideally, the topic that you have chosen was generated in a class at Columbia, so that one natural choice would be the professor of that class. Another ideal situation would be one where the idea arose from working with a professor as a research assistant. In less than ideal circumstances you can check the Faculty Information page as well as the personal websites of the faculty to see who might be interested in your topic. Please pay particular attention to those faculty members that you are already familiar with. Faculty members are more likely to work with a student that they know than one that they do not know. Finally, the director of the honors program might be able to suggest some names when you come in to speak with him or her.
• Once you have a list of names of possible advisors you should either contact those advisors directly or provide the list to the director of the honors program. Hopefully we will be able to match you up with your advisor before the end of your junior year.
Timeline for the Senior Honors Thesis
Spring Semester Junior Year
• Choose a topic that you would like to study
• Think of possible advisors
• Speak with the director of the honors program
Summer between Junior and Senior Years
• Begin background reading on your topic
Fall Semester Senior Year
• Speak again with the director of the honors program
• Register for the senior honors thesis
• Speak with your advisor early in the semester to set up a schedule with your advisor. Please note that the schedule that you establish with your advisor is independent of the schedule outlined here. The schedule here pertains only to your correspondence with the director of the honors program.
• Midterm of fall semester: you should submit a one page proposal for your thesis topic and a bibliography (not necessarily complete) to the director of the honors program
• End of fall semester: you should submit a 5 page summary of your work to date to the director of the honors program
Spring Semester Senior Year
• In mid-April, you must submit a bound copy of your senior thesis to the director of the honors program. The exact date will be established during the spring semester.
The department awards 3 prizes annually: the Parker Prize and two Romine Prizes.
Sanford S. Parker Prize
• The Parker prize is a cash prize ($2500) that is awarded to a member of the graduating class who majored, joint majored or concentrated in economics that is planning on attending graduate school in economics. Any student that intends to pursue a Ph.D. in economics within two years of graduation is eligible. However the department may give preference to students that will be attending graduate school in the year following graduation. The award is announced at the annual award ceremony held in the rotunda of Low Library during the week of graduation.
• To be considered for this prize you must notify the director of undergraduate studies in the spring semester of your senior year of your intention to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.
• Please note that all students thinking of going to graduate school in economics should mention this to their faculty advisor as early as possible. In addition please read the graduate school section of the FAQ page for more information about graduate school in economics.
David Estabrook Romine Prizes
• The two Romine Prizes are cash prizes ($1,000 each) that are awarded annually to two members of the graduating class who majored or joint majored in economics. One prize is awarded to the student that wrote the best paper in a senior seminar. The other prize is awarded to the student that wrote the best senior thesis. The awards are announced at the annual award ceremony held in the rotunda of Low Library during the week of graduation.
• To be considered for the prize awarded to the best paper in a senior seminar you should speak with the instructor of your senior seminar. He or she will decide whether to nominate you for the award. If you are nominated by your instructor then you will submit a copy of your paper to the director of undergraduate studies.
• Please note that in the spring semester the deadline for choosing the prize recipients is before the end of the semester. So if you are in a spring seminar and would like to be considered for this prize then you should speak with your instructor no later than the first week of April about the possibility of being nominated. At that time your instructor will be able to tell you when the deadline is for submissions of papers to be considered for the prize. The deadline is late in April but prior to the end of classes.
• All students that write a senior honors thesis are automatically nominated for the Romine prize.
Departmental Honors Recipients
The following students have written senior theses in economics and received departmental honors in recent years.
Agglomeration Economies & Provincial Convergence in Thailand's Manufacturing Sector
Housing Equity and Real Consumption Effects: An empirical anlaysis of housing equity as a determinant of consumption
The Windy City and Urban Gentry: Does Gentrification Explain the Integration of Chicago?
Asher Hecht Bernstein
The Effects of a System of Restricted Migration on Population Distributions: Analysis of the Chinese Houkou System from 1949-2009
~ Parker Prize Recipient ~
The Effect of HIV on Human Capital Investment and Fertility Choice in Zambia
Contagion in the European Sovereign Debt Crisis
Revisiting the Predictive Power of Spreads for Economic Growth
Who Should Plan Subways? Public vs Private Planning in Urban Transit Development: A Brooklyn case Study
Abandonment and Crime
Free Riding or Competition? Analyzing the Choice of Compensation Structure in New York City Restaurants
~ Romine Prize recipient ~
Market Reaction to Patent Litigation Verdits and Patent Appeal Results
The Yasuni-ITT Initiative: An Effective Approach to Sustainable Development?
Shaping US Cities, 1790-2000: Insights for Urban Growth Theory
Option Implied Default Probabilities
The Efficiency Gain of Joint Estimation with a Binary Dependent Variable
Size matters, and so does time
Assessing the Impact of the Increasing Government Debt to GDP Ratio and the Growing Elderly Population on Fiscal Sustainability in Japan
Responses to Climate Shocks in a Low-Income, High-Risk Setting: A Study on Pastoralists in Kenya
A Public Policy Patch: Cigarettes, Addiction and the Role of Self-Control
The Politics of Money in the Early Federal Reserve Period: 1913-1921
Accommodating Housing Bubbles: Monetary Policy Ease and Housing Activity
The Impact of Professional Delivery Care on Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from Kenya.
Chinese Foreign Direct Investment and GDP Growth in Developing Economies
The Utility of Simulation Techniques in Merger Analysis
Investigating the Determinants of Carpooling in the US
The Dynamics of Peruvian Inflation: Cagan's Hyperinflation Model Re-Visited Once Again
Skinniness equals Success? An Empirical Investigation of the Media-Body Image Connection
The Impact of the Basic Act on Low Carbon Green Growth on Top 200 Korean Companies
Monetary Non-Neutralities in the Long Run
Asymmetric Information of Charitable Giving: An Examination of How Scandals Impact Public Charities
A study on the effectiveness of state mandated health insurance coverage for young adults under parental plans
What Makes a Baseball Manager?: The Link Between Managerial Human Capital and Compensation in a Post-Moneyball Era
The Impact of School Based Performance Awards on Student Outcomes: A case study from New York City Public Schools
The Effects of a Monetary Policy Shock on Hedge Fund Returns
Trade Liberalization and Productivity in India
The Effect of Market Features on Consumer Experience in the Mobile Phone Market: An Empirical Analysis of the Price and Penetration Effects of Government Ownership, Number Portability, Market Concentration, and Calling Party Pays
Quantitative Effects of Transparency in the Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve
The Impact of Middle-Size Enterprise Sector on Economic Growth
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (REDD) in the Brazilian Amazon: An Opportunity Cost Analysis
Why Do Lawyers Certify? Certification As a Signal
Seasoned Equity Offerings on the Nasdaq: New Evidence on the Asymmetric Information Discount
Non-Loan Financial Services and Business Diversity
A Cartel in Name Only? An Analysis of OPEC's Influence on Crude Oil Prices
When Do They Take the Risk? Generic Challenges to Pharmaceutical Patents
Hurricanes, Climate Change, and the Externalities of Coastal Living
The Stimulus of Baby Booms on Domestic Innovation
An Unintended Consequence: The Effect of Social Security on Elderly Health
Globalization and Monetary Policy
How Much is Central Park Worth?
Educating Away the Jobs Lost to International Outsourcing
Rational Inattention and the Allais Paradox
Seduced and Scorched? Banking’s Risky Bets on Commercial Real Estate
The Effects of the Dual Monetary System on Consumption Inequality in Cuba
Seasonal Energy Consumption and the Permanent Income Hypothesis
Do Risky Individuals Choose Risky Majors?
Diagnosing Tuberculosis in India: An analysis of three strategies
Advisor: Miguel Urquiola and Susan Elmes
A question of Rank: An Empirical investigation of law school rank maximizing strategies, with a focus on admissions decisions
Advisor: Eiichi Miyagawa
Convertible Bond Valuation. Incorporating Credit Risk using Credit Default Spreads
Advisor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori
Bigger Houses or Bigger Cities? Exploring the Link between the Preferential Tax Treatment of Owner-Occupied Housing and Urban Sprawl
Advisor: Dan O'Flaherty
The American Pastime and the American Way: Talent Valuation and Baseball’s Double Output Quandry
Advisor: Sunil Gulati
Consumer Demand for Fuel Efficient Automobiles
Advisor: Graciela Chichilnisky and Kate Ho
Incentives to Self Report: Regulatory Treatment of “Voluntary Disclosures
Advisor: Alex Pfaff
In Search of Spillovers: the Effect of FDI on Domestic Firm Productivity in the Czech Republic
Advisor: Shari Spiegel
The Currency Board Arrangement: Removing Barriers to Economic Growth rather than Being One. Evidence from Bulgaria
Advisor: Bruce Preston
The Large Market Advantage? An Economic Inquiry into the financial structure of the MLB and NFL
Advisor: Sunil Gulati
Bully in the Playground? The Implications of UEFA Champions League Revenues on Competitive Balance in Domestic European Soccer Leagues
Advisor: Sunil Gulati
An Investigation into the Effect of Corruption on Total Factor Productivity and GDP Growth Rates
Advisor: Christian (Kiki) Pop-Eleches