Honors and Prizes

Departmental Honors
Senior Honors Thesis
Departmental Honors Recipients

Departmental Honors

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 GU4999 Senior Honors Thesis. This is a year-long course which you may substitute for your senior seminar requirement.

• Joint Majors and Financial Economics Majors are eligible for departmental honors in economics. To receive departmental honors you must meet the same criteria as an economics major.

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Senior Honors Thesis

Honors Seminar
• The honors seminar is a full year course, and you will not receive a grade until you have completed both semesters.  Completing both semesters satisfies your seminar requirement in the economics department.  If you do not complete both semesters, however, you must take a senior seminar to graduate as a major.  In this case, you will receive the grade of R for the fall semester of the seminar.

• Like other seminars in economics, you will be expected to present your research and discuss the work of other students periodically throughout the year.  Unlike those other seminars, the honors seminar does not meet weekly.  The instructor of the honors seminar will provide a meeting schedule at the beginning of each semester.  In addition to attending the seminar, you will  be working one-on-one with an individual faculty advisor.

Timeline for the Senior Honors Thesis
Spring Semester Junior Year
• Choose a topic and think of possible advisors.
• Attend an information session.
• Submit a preliminary proposal for your thesis.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
• Begin background reading on your topic.
• Submit the final proposal for your thesis.
Fall Semester Senior Year
• Speak with your individual faculty advisor early in the semester to set up a meeting schedule. Please note that the schedule that you establish with your advisor is independent of the schedule outlined here. The schedule below pertains only to your correspondence with the instructor of the honors seminar.
• Midterm of fall semester: you should submit a 3-4 page report. The report should include a brief literature review and identify the data that you will be using (if any) in your thesis.
• End of fall semester: you should submit a 10 page summary of your work to date to the director of the honors program. Your report should include descriptive statistics and one or two motivating graphs.
Spring Semester Senior Year
• At the beginning of the semester, you should submit a 15 page report.
• Early in March, you will submit 25-35 pages.  This report should include some results and will be the last draft that you submit prior to your final thesis.
• In mid-April, you must submit a capy of your senior thesis to your individual faculty advisor, the instructor of the honors program, and the director of undergraduate studies. Your paper will be graded by all three of the readers, and your grade on the honors thesis will be the average of the three grades. This grade will be recorded for both the fall and spring semesters.
• Your topic should be one that you have a genuine interest in exploring 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 some general advice regarding finding a suitable topic click here.
• You will work one-on-one with your individual faculty advisor. He or she will have the primary responsibility for advising you on your work.
• For more information regarding finding an advisor click here.
• You will submit both a preliminary and final proposal to be admitted to the honors seminar. In both, you will be exprected to formulate one or more questions that you hope to answer in your thesis. Each question would be the basis of a hypothesis that you would test in your thesis.
• The preliminary proposal will be due in April of your junior year. The purpose of the proposal is to give you feedback on your topic before the summer.
• The final proposal is due in August prior to your senior year. This proposal will be reviewed by the faculty committee. Selection for the honors seminar is based on both an evaluation of your academic record and the quality of your final proposal. The final proposal must include one or more questions that hope to address as well as an identification of the method (including data sets if relevant) you will be using.
• The Harvard economics  department has posted a good writing guide for undergraduate thesis writers.  You can find it here. There is some Harvard specific informatino at the beginning of the document, but most of the guide is applicable to any thesis writer in economics. All Columbia thesis writers are encouraged to read it.
• Most economics theses will be empirical. As such, having strong programming skills prior to starting your thesis is a great advantage. Which language you use will depend on your background as well as the general subject area of your topic. It is recommended that you spend some time during the summer months prior to senior year improving your programming skills.
• You will find links to some recent senior theses in the list of departmental honors students below. Many of these theses won the Romine Prize for the best senior thesis.
• Here is some advice from previous thesis writers.
• Here is the experience of one recent thesis writer. 

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The department awards 3 prizes annually to graduating seniors: the Parker Prize and two Romine Prizes and it awards 5 Parker Summer Research Prizes to underclassmen. Requests for applications for all of these prizes are sent out on the major listserv.

Sanford S. Parker Prize

• The Parker prize is a cash prize 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.

• 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.

• Recent winners of the Parker Prize can be found here.

David Estabrook Romine Prizes

• The two Romine Prizes are cash prizes 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.

• 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. The department will contact seminar instructors regarding the best papers in their individual seminars. In addition, the department will send out a request for submissions on the major listserv at the end of the fall semester and around spring break for submissions. A faculty honors committee will review all of the submissions to select a winner.

• 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. You will be required to submit a polished draft of your paper before the end of the semester to be considered for the Romine Prize.

• All students that write a senior honors thesis are automatically nominated for the Romine prize.

• Recent winners of the Romine Senior Seminar Prize can be found here.  Recent winners of the Romine Senior Thesis Prize are indicated in the list of Departmental Honors Students below.


Parker Prize for Summer Research

• The department of economcis provides financial support for Columbia College students who take unpaid summer internships that focus on research. By introducing students to original research, a summer internship can provide the foundation for an honors thesis or develop an interest in pursuing a graduate degree.

• Five underclassmen (juniors preferred but it is open to all economics students) will receive a stipend of $2500. This money is meant to support research, so the internship must be research in nature and cannot focus on office or clerical tasks. Preference will be given to students working with Columbia University faculty (the faculty need not be in the economics department).

• If you are working with a faculty member as an RA during the academic year, you should speak with that faculty member regarding the possibility of continuing your research during the summer. If the faculty member agrees, then you should apply for the Parker Prize.


Departmental Honors Recipients

The following students have written senior theses in economics and received departmental honors in recent years.


Raghav Bansal
A Machine Learning Approach to the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate
Advisor: Simon Lee
Jakob Brounstein
~GS Dean's Prize~
The Colonial Origins of Inflation: A Study of Institutions and Monetary Outcomes
Advisor: Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe
Jeremy Cooper
Winning and Losing: The Socioeconomic Impact of Sports on Crime
Advisors: Sunil Gulati and Dan O'Flaherty
Jeff Gortmaker
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Agents Who Know Their Principals: Social Connections, Institutional Investment, and Executive Compensation
Advisors: Jose Scheinkman and Harrison Hong
Bo Yeon Jung
The Effect of North Korean Military Incidents on South Korea's Economy
Advisor: Suresh Naidu
Derek Li
The ENSO Cycle and US State Output Performance
Advisor: Wolfram Schlenker
Colin Pating
Testing Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibrium Play in Baseball's Pitcher-Batter Game
Advisor: Pierre Andre Chiappori
Luis Sanchez
~Parker Prize Recipient~
Ambiguity in Social Learning: A Test of the Multiple Priors Hypothesis
Advisor: Alessandra Casella
Rafael Shwalb
The Effects of Large Scale Asset Purchases on Corporate Bond Yields: Drivers and Channels
Advisor: Mike Woodford
Jesse Silbert
Approximate Competitive Equilibrium from Equal Incomes with Required Objects
Advisor: Yeon Koo Che



Emily Corning
A Tale of Two Markets: An Empirical Analysis of WIC Infant Formula Contract Rebate Auctions Using Non-Parametric Estimation
Advisor: Kate Ho
Adriano Fernandes
~ Parker Prize Recipient ~
Salience Distortions and Asset Prices in Dynamic Economies
Advisor: Michael Woodford
Siran Jiang
Romine Prize Recipient ~
Advisor: Steven Olley
Chate Khemakongkanonth
Verizon's FiOS Deployment: A Case Study of Investment
Advisor: Michael Riordan
Qui Linan
Bitcoin Volatitily Predictions using Big Data: An Attention and Sentiment Analysis Approach (2015)
Advisor: Jose Scheinkman
Omeed Maghzian
~Parker Prize Recipient~
Sparsity-Based Bounded Rationality and Adjustments to Anticipated Fiscal Payments
Advisor: Michael Woodford
Eitan Neugut
The Elasticity of Distilled Spirits Consumption
Advisor: Christopher Conlon
Shen Qui
Mostly Contagion in 2008 Global Financial Crisis
Advisor: Martin Uribe


Meir Brooks
Poverty and Growth in Ethiopia
Advisor: Jonas Hjort
Ashwath Chennapan
Determinants of Crimes against Dalits in India
Advisor: Suresh Naidu
Rishab Guha
~ Parker Prize Recipient ~
Advisor: Jose Scheinkman
Ryan Rivera
Sovereign Bond Yield Response to ECB Announcements in a Negative Nominal Interest Ratte Environment
Advisor: Jon Steinsson
Adam Stansell
Information Weighting in Predicting Soccer Outcomes
Advisor: Sunil Gulati
Quitze Valenzuela Stookey
Migration, Risk Sharing, and Social Capital: Household Risk Dynamics in Developing Countries
Advisor: Dan O'Flaherty and Joe Stiglitz

Preeti Varathan
Work, Learn, Train, or Search? The Response of Mothers, Fathers, and Potential Parents if Chidcare Were Free
Advisor: Bernard Salanie
Harry Wheeler
Romine Prize Recipient ~
Advisor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori


Nicole Dussault
The Impact of Hospital Closure on Emergency Room Rates and Community Health in New York, 2006-2012            
Advisor:  Kate Ho

Marlon Francisco
The Behavior of Salaries in Portugal        
Advisor:  Ricardo Reis

Yiming He
Road Pricing in New York City     
Advisor:  Brendan O'Flaherty

Evan Munroe
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Joonwoo Park  
~ Parker Prize Recipient ~
Labor Supply Shock and Jobless Recovery
Advisor:  Serena Ng
Zeller Samantha
A Study of the Effect of the Internet on the Globalization of Knowledge Production in Academic Economics          
Advisor:  Donald Davis

Adam Xu
Effects of Rainfall Shocks and Cash Transfers on Microenterprise Development  
Advisor:  Christopher Blattman

Rui Yu
Persistence of Memory? Waning Experiences, Anchored Expectations
Advisor:  Ricardo Reis



Travis Baseler
Agglomeration Economies & Provincial Convergence in Thailand's Manufacturing Sector
Advisor: Ronald Findlay

Ravi Bhalla
Housing Equity and Real Consumption Effects: An Empirical Anlaysis of Housing Equity as a Determinant of Consumption

Hadi Elzayn
The Windy City and Urban Gentry: Does Gentrification Explain the Integration of Chicago?
Advisor: Donald Davis
Asher Hecht Bernstein
The Effects of a System of Restricted Migration on Population Distributions: Analysis of the Chinese Houkou System from 1949-2009
Advisor: David Weinstein
Yuxaio Huang
~ Parker Prize Recipient ~
The Effect of HIV on Human Capital Investment and Fertility Choice in Zambia
Advisor: Donald Davis
Susan Ou
Contagion in the European Sovereign Debt Crisis
Advisor: Jon Steinsson
Jason So
Revisiting the Predictive Power of Spreads for Economic Growth
Advisor: Bernard Salanie and Serena Ng
Richard Sun
Who Should Plan Subways? Public vs Private Planning in Urban Transit Development: A Brooklyn case Study
Advisor: Brendan O'Flaherty
Sergio Villar
United Kingdom Monetary Policy 1975 to 2012: A study Using Taylor Rule Estimation and Calibration
Advisor: Richard Clarida
Matt Yeaton
Abandonment and Crime
Advisor: Brendan O'Flaherty
Sam Zakay
Free Riding or Competition? Analyzing the Choice of Compensation Structure in New York City Restaurants
Advisor: Bentley MacLeod
Advisor: Yeon-Koo Che



Richard Falk-Wallace
Debt Maturity Structure and Corporate Default Forecasting
Advisor: Sally Davidson
Andrea Golfari
Exchange Rates, Sovereign Yields and Economic Recovery in the Great Recession
Advisor: Marin Uribe
Felipe Gonçalves
~ Parker Prize ~
Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets: Investigating Risk Aversion and Accident Probability
Advisor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori
Kazunari Inoki
On the Identification of Conditions on Utility Representations for the Exhibition of Axiomatic Notions of Fairness UnderUncertainty
Advisor: Navin Kartik
Jodie C. Liu
The Effect of HIV on Human Capital Investment and Fertility Choice in Zambia
Advisor: Stefania Albanesi
Keith Miao
Commodity Prices and Macroeconomic Performance: Examining Sub-Saharan Africa during the 2000s Commodities Boom
Advisor: Sunil Gulati and Xavier Sala-i-Martin
Benjamin Mills
~ Romine Prize~
~GS Dean's Prize in Economics~

Unbiased Testing Under Weak Instrumental Variables
Advisor: Marcelo Moreira
Julian Richers
Who Runs the ECB? Regional Influences in EMU Monetary Policy
Advisor: Bruce Preston
Anoushka Vaswani
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Choice? An Empirical Examination of the Choice Overload Hypothesis
Advisor: David Weinstein
Yu Zheng
Investor Expectation & Asset Prices
Advisor: Michael Woodford



Avi Allison
The Yasuni-ITT Initiative:  An Effective Approach to Sustainable Development?
Advisor: Wolfram Schlenker

Jim Bauserman
Shaping US Cities, 1790-2000: Insights for Urban Growth Theory
Advisor:  Donald Davis

Marcello Cricco-Lizza
Option Implied Default Probabilities

Gregory Cox
~Parker Prize Recipient~
The Efficiency Gain of Joint Estimation with a Binary Dependent Variable
Advisor: Serena Ng

Hector Forero
Size matters, and so does time
Advisor: Ricardo Reis

Maya Funaki
Assessing the Impact of the Increasing Government Debt to GDP Ratio and the Growing Elderly Population on Fiscal Sustainability in Japan
Advisor: David Weinstein

Grant Graziani
Responses to Climate Shocks in a Low-Income, High-Risk Setting: A Study on Pastoralists in Kenya
Advisor: Wolfram Schlenker

Christina Patterson
~Romine Prize Recipient~
A Public Policy Patch: Cigarettes, Addiction and the Role of Self-Control
Advisor: Wojciech Kopcuzk

Parinitha Sastry
The Politics of Money in the Early Federal Reserve Period: 1913-1921
Advisor: David Weiman

Rohan Thavarajah
Accommodating Housing Bubbles: Monetary Policy Ease and Housing Activity
Advisor: David Weinstein

Monica Varman
The Impact of Professional Delivery Care on Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from Kenya.
Advisor: Cristian Pop-Eleches

Joshua Wan
Chinese Foreign Direct Investment and GDP Growth in Developing Economies
Advisor: Padma Desai

Dasha Wise
The Utility of Simulation Techniques in Merger Analysis
Advisor: Michael Riordan



Jehan Sparks
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Investigating the Determinants of Carpooling in the US
Advisor: Brendan O'Flaherty
Daniel Villar
~Parker Prize Recipient~
The Dynamics of Peruvian Inflation: Cagan's Hyperinflation Model Re-Visited Once Again
Advisor: Michael Woodford
Kerry Watson
Skinniness equals Success? An Empirical Investigation of the Media-Body Image Connection
Advisor: Janet Currie
Semee Yoon
The Impact of the Basic Act on Low Carbon Green Growth on Top 200 Korean Companies
Advisor: Wolfram Schlenker
Oskar Zorrilla
Monetary Non-Neutralities in the Long Run
Advisor: Xavier Sala-i-Martin



Vitaly Bord
Asymmetric Information of Charitable  Giving: An Examination of How Scandals Impact Public Charities
Advisor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori

Edward Chaffetz
A study on the effectiveness of state mandated health insurance  coverage for young adults under parental plans

Evan Daar
What Makes a Baseball Manager?: The Link Between Managerial Human Capital and Compensation in a Post-Moneyball Era
Advisor: Sunil Gulati
Rachel Eisenberg
The Impact of School Based Performance Awards on Student Outcomes: A case study from New York City Public Schools
Advisor: Jonah Rockoff and Miguel Urquiola
Kyle Jurado
~Parker Prize Recipient~
The Effects of a Monetary Policy Shock on Hedge Fund Returns
Advisor: Serena Ng
Arjun Kapoor
Trade Liberalization and Productivity in India
Advisor: Donald Davis
Leora Kelman
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
Advisor: Michael Riordan
Michael Kim
Quantitative Effects of Transparency in the Monetary Policy of the  Federal Reserve
Advisor: Bruce Preston
Sydney Murray
Consumer Bankruptcy Reform: Past Failures and Proposals for the Future
Advisor: Jaromir Nosal
Monica Nania
The Impact of Middle-Size Enterprise Sector on Economic Growth
Advisor: Xavier Sala-i-Martin
Jisung Park
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (REDD) in the Brazilian Amazon: An Opportunity Cost Analysis
Advisor: Geoff Heal
Brendan Price
~Parker Prize Recipient~
Why Do Lawyers Certify?  Certification As a Signal
Advisor: Dan O'Flaherty
Nick Shea
Seasoned Equity Offerings on the Nasdaq: New Evidence on the  Asymmetric Information Discount
Advisor: Michael Adler
Ori Sosnik
Non-Loan Financial Services and Business Diversity
Advisor: Pierre-Andre Chiappori
Katherine Zhang
A Cartel in Name Only?  An Analysis of OPEC's Influence on Crude Oil Prices
Advisor: Albert Bressand
Ariel Zucker
When Do They Take the Risk? Generic Challenges to Pharmaceutical Patents
Advisor: Bhaven Sampat



Joel Beal
Hurricanes, Climate Change, and the Externalities of Coastal Living
Advisor: Bernard Salanie
Ari Freisinger
The Stimulus of Baby Booms on Domestic Innovation
Advisor: Padma Desai
John Gardner
An Unintended Consequence: The Effect of Social Security on Elderly Health
Advisor: Richard Clarida
Jia Guo
Globalization and Monetary Policy
Advisor: Stefania Albanesi
Jan Hagiwara
How Much is Central Park Worth?
Advisor: Dan O'Flaherty
Shruti Kumar
Educating Away the Jobs Lost to International Outsourcing
Advisor: Kyle Bagwell
Maxim Pinkovskiy
~Parker Prize Recipient~
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Rational Inattention and the Allais Paradox
Advisor: Michael Woodford
Lauren Schy
Seduced and Scorched? Banking’s Risky Bets on Commercial Real Estate
Advisor: Bruce Preston
Anushka Shenoy
The Effects of the Dual Monetary System on Consumption Inequality in Cuba
Advisor: Padma Desai
Jeff Shrader
Seasonal Energy Consumption and the Permanent Income Hypothesis
Advisor: Wolfram Schlenker
Eric Wang
Do Risky Individuals Choose Risky Majors?
Advisor: Randall Reback



Arun Chandrasekhar
~Parker Prize Recipient~
The Effect of Reputational Heuristics on Auction Prices: An Analysis of Information Aggregation by eBay Customers
Advisor:  Leigh Linden

Maria Coelho
Labor Mobility in Europe: The Impact of the Common Market    
Advisor:  Francisco Rivera-Batiz

Abby Friedman
~Romine Prize Recipient~
Women's Education and Fertility in India: Considering the Relationship between Women's Education, Health Knowledge, and Total Children Ever Born      
Advisor:  Jane Waldfogel             

Matthew Isanuk
Something to Hide? The Effects of Harm Size on Self Disclosure  
Advisor:  Alex Pfaff

Subash Iyer
Show Me the Money: A Study of Contract Incentives in Major League Baseball  
Advisor: Yeon Koo Che

Alex Kardon
Revenue Sharing and Player Salaries in Major League Baseball  
Advisor:  Sunil Gulati

Nick Klagge
Battalion Assignments in the Newark Fire Department: A Two-Sided Matching Problem
Advisor:  Brendan O'Flaherty

Tom Lightcap
The Role of Fundamentals in the Context of Low Price-to-Book Stocks    
Advisor:  Michael Adler

Jeremy Maletz
Capital Flows to Transition Economics: An Examination of Macroeconomic Determinants
Advisor:  Padma Desai

Adam Sacarny
Are Foreign Investors Averse to Politically Connected Firms?  A Study of Indonesia           
Advisor:  Ray Fishman

David Schor
The Effect of Bankruptcy Exemptions on Mortgage Default:  Another Look at the Effect of Bankruptcy Law on Mortgage Credit   
Advisor:  Stefania Albanesi

Peter Shalek
Improving the Efficiency of the National Hockey League: An Econometric Analysis            
Advisor:  Sunil Gulati

Svetlana Viollis
Evaluating the Key Variable of the Lost Decade in Japan: The Effect of Japan's Workweek Reduction Policy of 1988 on Lost Total Work Hours by Full-Time Tenured Workers               
Advisor:  David Weinstein

Stephanie Yee
Is Social Responsibility Profitable? The Case of Voluntary Emissions Reductions
Advisor:  Ray Fishman



Ady Barkan
Diagnosing Tuberculosis in India: An analysis of three strategies
Advisor: Miguel Urquiola and Susan Elmes

Shuky Ehrenberg
A question of Rank: An Empirical investigation of law school rank maximizing strategies, with a focus on admissions decisions
Advisor: Eiichi Miyagawa

Zack Luck
Bigger Houses or Bigger Cities? Exploring the Link between the Preferential Tax Treatment of Owner-Occupied Housing and Urban Sprawl
Advisor: Dan O'Flaherty

Aaron Maczonis
Romine Prize Recipient ~
The American Pastime and the American Way: Talent Valuation and Baseball’s Double Output Quandry
Advisor: Sunil Gulati

Paasha Mahdavi
Consumer Demand for Fuel Efficient Automobiles
Advisor: Graciela Chichilnisky and Kate Ho

Krishna Rao
~Parker Prize Recipient~
Incentives to Self Report: Regulatory Treatment of “Voluntary Disclosures
Advisor: Alex Pfaff

Laura Rosner
In Search of Spillovers: the Effect of FDI on Domestic Firm Productivity in the Czech Republic
Advisor: Shari Spiegel

Svetoslav Roussanov
The Currency Board Arrangement: Removing Barriers to Economic Growth rather than Being One. Evidence from Bulgaria
Advisor: Bruce Preston

Tesia Sommer
The Large Market Advantage? An Economic Inquiry into the financial structure of the MLB and NFL
Advisor: Sunil Gulati

Stanley Tan
Bully in the Playground? The Implications of UEFA Champions League Revenues on Competitive Balance in Domestic European Soccer Leagues
Advisor: Sunil Gulati

Venkat Vaikuntanarayanan
An Investigation into the Effect of Corruption on Total Factor Productivity and GDP Growth Rates
Advisor: Christian (Kiki) Pop-Eleches

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