Of Economics

Independent Research Projects

Independent research projects are an important way for students to be introduced to the research and publication process, as well as investigate topics that would not be covered in a regular course.

Students requesting my supervision of a research project will need to provide me with a document containing the following information:

  • Name, expected graduation year, major(s), e-mail address
  • Topic
  • Background information on topic, and summary of research aims (a description of the topic and how you plan to approach the research), 300-400 words

My general aim in supervising undergraduate research is to walk students through the process of producing a paper worthy of publication in an undergraduate-oriented (or better) journal. A list of undergraduate research journals is here: Council on Undergraduate Research’s Journal Listing.

Economics Undergraduate Journals

Undergraduate Economic Review (Illinois Wesleyan University)
Issues in Political Economy (University of Mary Washington and Elon University)

Selected Past Independent Research Projects

The Economics of Illegal Immigration (Emily Conrad)
Emily studied the economic theory behind illegal immigration, and examined both federal immigration policy and the recent South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act.

Impact of Lower Water Levels on Lake Murray Waterfront Property Values (Chauncey Regan)
Chauncey performed a statistical analysis of Lake Murray property values during the lake drawdown from 2002-2004, which occurred as a result of the construction of a backup dam on the lake.


Independent Interim Projects

Students requesting my supervision of an independent interim project will need to follow the guidelines here, and set up a time to meet with me to discuss the proposal in detail.

Selected Past Independent Interims

Rent Seeking in Oil Industry Regulation (Robert Merting and Jonathan Puryear)
Robert and Jonathan interned at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in January 2006, and studied the economic impact of environmental regulation on the U.S. oil industry. Listen to this audio “The Path to Lower Gas Prices: Free Trade,” and this article of the same name. Robert and Jonathan presented their paper at the 2006 Austrian Scholars Conference, a conference normally limited to professional academics.

The Airline Industry: Post September 11, 2001 (Katherine Williams)
Katherine did empirical analysis of airline stock prices before and after 9/11/01, examining in particular the changes in ticketed air travel vs. charter and fractional ownership travel. In the process she became familiar with some of the statistical tools of economists.

The Effect of Company Policy and Economic Changes on Stock Prices (Eric Mick)
Eric worked for a staffing company and studied policy changes there. Eric collected data on stock prices for the firm and several of its competitors, and used statistical techniques to evaluate the success of its policy changes.