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10 Economics Competitions for High School Students

In the last few decades, there’s been a steady increase in the number of economics majors.

For those looking to study economics at a top university, competing and winning economics-oriented competitions is one way to stand out. You’ll expose yourself to incredible problem-solving opportunities, network with high-caliber peers and have a shot at impressing admissions officers.

In this blog, we list out 10 economics competitions for you to consider. We’ve included investment challenges, essay writing competitions, and Olympiads.

One of the most prestigious economics challenges in the world, Harvard's Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge (HPEC) invites talented students from around the world to learn, engage, and analyze their knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and global economics. You can participate in teams of 1-4, in the following rounds - the written exam round, and the Quiz Bowl round.

Alongside the competition, you also have the chance to interact with professors, graduate students, and leading economists, and learn about economics and its applications in a real-world setting. The final round for HPEC is held at Harvard University, with finalists receiving an all-expense-paid trip to the University.

Note: There is a $125 registration fee for each team

Dates: April 8, 2023

Application Deadline: March 10, 2023

Location: Virtual

Prizes: Awards, prizes

Eligibility: All high school students

Hosted by the Wharton School of Business, one of the country's most prestigious undergraduate business schools, the Global High School Investment Competition is an exciting, engaging, and rewarding challenge. As part of the competition, you are required to build a portfolio with $100,000 in virtual cash, on a simulator. You must use your financial and business analysis skills to invest and make profits.

The best part about this challenge? Winners are not chosen simply based on profits, but also on the strength of the strategies they chose to make decisions. The competition also involves a 10-week crash course on investing, business analysis, pitch creation, and portfolio building.

You participate in a team of 4-7 students from your school and send in 2 deliverables that will be shortlisted for a semifinal round. At the Global Finale, the top 10 teams pitch their ideas for funding at Wharton. Here are some free learning resources and case studies from previous years!

Dates: September 26 - April 22, 2023

Application Deadline: September 16, 2023 (based on last year's timetable)

Location: Virtual pitching rounds with a final presentation at UPenn

Prizes: Certificates, a complimentary spot in the Wharton Online Summer Program for winning teams

Eligibility: High school students residing in the US

Aimed at furthering literacy in the subjects of finance and economics, the IEO, or International Economics Olympiad is an opportunity you should consider. The Olympiad tests students on their logical thinking, creative application, and problem-solving skills in economics and finance, along with a business case presentation.

Tip: IEO's study materials make for an excellent reference while prepping for the Olympiad.

Dates: July 26 - August 1, 2023 (based on last year's timetable)

Application Deadline: 31 May 2023 (based on last year's timetable)

Location: Virtual

Prizes: Medals, statutes, special prizes

Eligibility: The competition is open to students from all around the world, make sure to check your eligibility here!

An international competition aimed at fostering better engagement with economics and its development in a global society, the World Economics Cup tests students on a variety of topics across various formats. The competition is a great way to understand pure economics and solve problems using economics concepts.

You must register for the WEC as a team from a school and go through 3+ rounds of MCQs on basic concepts of micro and macroeconomics, material-based objective questions, as well as team presentations.

The WEC does not merely test students on the basis of pre-learned information, which varies from country to country, but provides enough academic guidance and background knowledge in the competition beforehand.

Dates: November 12-13, 2023 (based on last year's timetable)

Application Deadline: Applications are currently open on the WEC website

Location: Virtual

Prizes: Medals

Eligibility: All high school students

Sponsored by the Council for Economic Education, the National Economics Challenge (NEC) sees participation from almost 10,000 students every year!

Apart from key micro and macroeconomic principles, you are also tested on your knowledge of global economics. Once you qualify for the First Round National Challenge and National Semi-Final Level after participating in the NEC in your state, your team is rewarded with a fully-funded trip to NYC, where you will challenge teams from other states.

Dates: State-wise dates vary, the National Semifinals is from April 24-28, 2023 and the National Finals is from May 20-22, 2023

Application Deadline: Varies from state to state

Location: State-wise, National Semifinals, and Finals are held in NYC

Prizes: Cash prizes of up to $1,000, awards

Eligibility: All high school students residing in the US

Another prestigious event organized by the Council for Economic Education, the National Personal Finance Challenge aims to educate students on financial literacy and test their application of personal finance concepts and skills in their day-to-day lives.

The NPFC sees over 20,000 students participate every year! As part of the competitions, you will be taught about earning income, spending, saving, investing, managing credit, and managing risk. Once you qualify for state-level rounds, the National Finals will be as follows - your team will be given a fictitious family scenario, and you have to prepare and present a personal finance plan to a panel of judges.

If you're just starting out as a finance enthusiast or budding economist, feel free to check out this free toolkit offered by the CEE.

Dates: Varies from state to state, National Finals will be held on June 4-5, 2023

Application Deadline: Varies from state to state, you can access state-wise applications here

Location: Varies for state-level rounds, National Finals will be held in Cleveland, Ohio

Prizes: Cash prizes of up to $2,000 for each team member

Eligibility: All high school students residing in the US

InvestWrite is geared at testing students' understanding of financial concepts and clearly communicating them to an audience of industry experts. As a participant, you are required to submit an essay (of not more than 1000 words) based on the Stock Market Game program, a tool to help the student learn the basics of investing and financial markets.

You are judged based on how clear your understanding of the topic is, how concisely you've delivered it, as well as how sound the critical analysis of your essay topic is. This can be a great choice for you if your strength is in written research and articulating findings on paper!

If selected, your essay is sent for a National Round and an International Round.

Dates: To be announced in January 2023

Application Deadline: Early January 2023 for Spring entries

Location: Virtual submission

Prizes: Certificates, gift cards

Eligibility: Students from Grades 9-12 can participate

An annual challenge held at Northwestern University, the Northwestern Economics Tournament (NET) challenges students on their knowledge of AP level Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, economic history, current events, and modern economic research through both individual and team-based rounds.

The NET invites hundreds of bright high schoolers from around the country, and is divided into two rounds - an asynchronous, team-based Power Round, and an in-person Econ Bowl. Alongside the challenge, you will also engage with professors and students from NWU, and attend lectures. Students are encouraged to participate in the NET, regardless of their prior exposure to economics!

Dates: March 28 - April 2, 2023

Application Deadline: January 17, 2023

Location: Virtual/NWU Campus

Prizes: Cash Prizes

Eligibility: Open to all high-school students

Note: Here are some sample questions that can help you prepare for the challenge!

A highly prestigious economics competition hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the High School Fed Challenge challenges students to author research in economics and gives them a chance to get published in the Journal of Future Economists.

Students are encouraged to work as a team and focus on honing their teamwork, research, data literacy, and analytical writing. The competition is as follows - every year, participants are given a theme and must pursue research and analysis on any topic related to the theme. Submissions of their academic papers will be judged by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The winning team will have its papers published in one of the most coveted Economics journals in the country, as well as recognition.

Dates: March 15, 2023

Application Deadline: February 15, 2023

Location: Virtual

Prizes: Publication and recognition in the Journal of Future Economists.

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible to apply

Hosted by the Young Investors Society, the Global Stock Pitch Competition challenges students on their knowledge financial analysis and investment. It also provides students mentoring on these topics. In a team of two or individually, you evaluate a publicly traded firm and develop a "best stock idea", occasionally meeting with management.

Each team or student creates a report on their chosen firm with a "Buy" or "Sell" recommendation, and you then present and defend your analysis to a panel of university professors and business professionals in a written report and brief format.

All state-level winners move up to compete regionally in events for the East Coast, Midwest, West Coast, Asia, Access Initiative & International Open.

Note: All registered students will receive a lifetime subscription to TIP Finance, a collection of investment tools developed by The Investor’s Podcast Network!

Dates: May 19, 2023 - Global Stock Pitch Round, April 3, 2023 - state-wise submissions

Application Deadline: April 3, 2023

Location: State-level submissions are virtual, while the Global Stock Pitch Competition will be held at The University of Utah -Eccles School of Business

Prizes: Awards

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible to apply

If you’re interested in writing an economics research paper, consider applying to Lumiere’s Research Scholar Program. We’ve had hundreds of students work with economics researchers from places like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. Lumiere is a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


1 Comment

Carol Lawrence
Carol Lawrence
Oct 21, 2023

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