Economics Essay Writing Competition

Rahangdale Research Grant Competition

The Economics Department has small grants available to students to support research concerning manufacturing in western Pennsylvania. Proposals will be requested in the spring semester. Grants will be given for use in the summer semester. Please contact the department's advisors for additional information.

Haines Research Grant Competition

The Economics Department has small grants available to students to support research concerning regional economic development. Preference is given to research focusing on Western Pennsylvania. Proposals will be requested in the spring semester. Grants will be given for use in the summer semester. Please contact the department's advisors for additional information.

Schenker Essay Competition

This Economics Department-sponsored contest offers a $2,000 prize to the eligible student who writes a paper that best explores a U.S. policy issue, paying particular attention to how proposed solutions would impact society and illustrating different dimensions of the concept of public interest. Papers will be read by a committee of faculty members and students, with emphasis placed on originality of thought, including a clear statement of the student’s own assessment of the issue.

Click here to view the instructions and guidelines for the 2018 David Schenker Essay Contest

Asher Isaacs Prize

This is awarded to a graduating economics major deemed to be the best based on academic performance and faculty comments.

McKay Prize

This is awarded to outstanding undergraduate students.

Jerome C. Wells Prize

This is awarded to an outstanding graduating senior who plans to attend graduate school in economics.

25 Apr The LSESU Economics Society Essay Challenge 2017

The LSE SU Economics Society, with the support of the LSE Economics Department, is very pleased to announce that The LSE SU Economics Society Essay Challenge 2017 is now open and accepting submissions.

Our key aim is to help push school students beyond the confines of their usual syllabuses, and to see how they can use the knowledge of Economics to explore questions they may never have considered before. We are delighted to announce that our final winners will be chosen by Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2010. The key details for the competition are below:

Essay Questions for This Year

1. Can Economics tell us anything about how we can try to prevent war?

2. Imagine that in front of you is a Big Red button. If you press the button, everyone in the world would have their wealth magically equalised. Would you press the button? Explain the economic reasoning behind your decision

3. Discuss the effect of the rise of ad blocker software on the Internet – is it a blessing or a curse?

4. ‘Free trade is a necessary evil’. How far do you agree?

5. ‘On a societal level, University Education is inefficient – for most people, it hardly makes them better at their future jobs, but it comes at a huge opportunity cost because students miss out from entering a career earlier. Most people who go to university only do so because they’d be left behind in the job market if they didn’t go and everyone else did’. With reference to this argument, should the government drastically limit the number of university places available?


  • 1st place: £125 Amazon voucher
  • 2nd & 3rd place: £75 Amazon voucher
  • 4th & 5th place: £25 Amazon voucher

In addition, the top three entries will also be included in Rationale, our economics magazine, which is widely read both across LSE and online, by many hundreds of our members.

All shortlisted students (those which reach our final judging stage) will have their name on our website and will receive certificates signed by Professor Pissarides, as well as our other final judges.

We welcome entries from students who do not study in the UK, and they are also eligible for prizes.

Submission Guidelines

Deadline: 1st August 2017 (23:59 BST)

To submit, essays should be sent to under the subject heading ‘Essay Challenge 2017’.

Please make it clear in the email:

  • Which question you have answered
  • Your name
  • Your school
  • Your country of study
  • Which school year you are in
  • How much help you received on the essay (from teachers or anyone else)

Please attach your essay as a Word or PDF document.


Entries should be around 1500 words long, and strictly not more than 2000 words. This does not count footnotes, citations or a bibliography (which are not required for this challenge but may still be used).

Entry is open to students in their final two years of secondary school, or in sixth form college (including students taking A-Level and IB courses, as well as any equivalent course).

All work must be the student’s original content and must have been produced solely for this competition.

Students may choose their own titles different from those listed above, but they must still adhere to the rule that work is produced solely for this competition.

Students do not need to have studied economics at school in order to enter, but they should still try to make sure that their essay is heavily rooted in economics.

Students are allowed to ask for a limited amount of help from teachers if they are stuck, but we discourage this as much as possible. When you submit the essay you should declare exactly how much help you received on the essay.

Students are allowed to submit more than one essay for the competition, should they wish.


The judges will be looking for entries that are creative in the way they deal with the subject matter. The essay titles have been chosen so that you can go off in whichever directions that you see fit – so please do! We anticipate that the best essay will be one that is fundamentally interesting to read, and possibly introduces the judges to things which they have not thought about before.

We have chosen the questions to stretch you beyond the syllabus that you are studying at school. Please feel free to use material or concepts that go beyond what you have studied in class. However, you do not need to use advanced material at all in order to answer these questions to a very high standard. Many of these topics are simply not covered by much theory, even at a very advanced level – the best answers will involve points that you will have thought of yourself!

We recommend you plan your essay in advance and have a good structure throughout – 1500 words can seem like a very small amount if you don’t.

There are naturally arguments from the other social sciences (politics, sociology, etc.) that are relevant to some of the essay questions mentioned here. However, while there is nothing wrong with making a small point from one of these in your essay, your essay should have a strong focus on economics, or one or more of its branches (including behavioural economics, information economics, game theory etc.), rather than a focus on the social sciences in general.

We wish you the best of luck!

The LSESU Economics Society Committee (2017-2018)

[If any teachers are unsure about the rules or would like to ask anything about the competition, please email or the President, Tom Glinnan, at, for clarification]

We’ve prepared posters for teachers to post up at their schools, should they wish to nudge their students to join the competition.

You can download these posters here: click here to download the posters.


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