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10 Research Opportunities in Economics for High School Students

If you are passionate about economics, there are a variety of research opportunities available for you to deep-dive into research or enhance your understanding. In this post, we will explore some well-regarded economics research programs for high school students and what they offer. We have also kept some great pre-college courses in the mix so that there is something for everyone.

If you are more interested in seeing how you stack up against your peers, check out our list of economics competitions here!

Hosted by J-PAL, North America’s Economics Transformation Project (ETP) brings together highly talented students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to work with top researchers. The program offers insights into the applications and impacts of applied economic research, has workshops, and partnerships with institutions such as MIT to avail of courses there, and gives students a platform to get research mentorship from the extensive network of researchers.

The program website does not have a lot of particulars on the application etc. but provides this email id ( as a contact for anyone who is interested in the program.

Lumiere has been founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Hundreds of ambitious high school students do economics research through the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs. Each student is paired with a top PhD and works with their mentor 1-1 to produce a university-level research paper.

The programs are fully virtual and vary in durations based on the student’s end goal with respect to how much of a deep dive they would prefer. The research opportunities range from pure economics to economics combining economics with other STEM subjects.

Past research has explored the impact of non-profit employment on a country’s GDP and the use of machine learning methods accurately forecast cryptocurrency price return.

Also check out the Lumiere Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

Location: Virtual

Application deadline: four cohorts throughout the year, applications due in February, May, September, and December, apply here.

Program dates: There are four cohorts throughout the year in spring, summer, fall, and winter

Eligibility: All high school students may apply.

3. Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology Summer Institute (M&Tsi) – Penn Engineering and Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

For ambitious high school seniors and a small group of incoming high school juniors enthusiastic about learning how to integrate management principles with technical concepts, M&Tsi is a challenging and exciting summer program. The other great thing about this program is that it offers a full Penn college-course credit for students who complete it successfully!

Students attend courses and guest lectures by Penn faculty members and other field experts. Then, they must create a prototype and go-to-market strategy for their high-tech firm, present it, and get feedback from Penn faculty members, seasoned entrepreneurs, and industry innovators.

Location: Residential, University of Pennsylvania campus

Cost or stipend:

  • $9,000 On-Campus Program Fee

  • $100 application fee

Application deadline:

  • February 1, 2023 (Priority)

  • April 1, 2023 (Final)

Program dates: July 9 – July 29, 2023.

Eligibility: High school seniors and rising high school juniors

4. Economics for Leaders (EFL) – Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE)

Established in 1975, the Foundation for Teaching Economics is a non-profit educational organization introducing young individuals to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues.

Their Economics for Leaders (EFL) is a selective summer program that empowers outstanding students with the tools to lead more effectively and teaches them how to use economic analysis while evaluating challenging public policy choices.

This course introduces students to leadership theory and focuses on teaching and application of economic ideas and reasoning abilities.

A bonus: The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) has partnered with EFL to provide students taking the program two semester hours of optional undergraduate credit (for an additional fee).

Location: Several Residential and Virtual Sessions here

Cost or stipend:

  • $2,100 for FTE residential student programs (incl. room and board)

  • $35 application fee

  • $244 for college credit (optional)

Application deadline:

  • February 8, 2023 (Early)

  • March 15, 2023 (Priority)

  • April 12, 2023 (Final)

Program dates: Several Residential and Virtual Sessions here

Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

You’re wondering what a competition is doing in this list? This is a competition which has a 10-week crash course and challenges you to research and apply your knowledge to win!

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!

Location: Virtual pitching rounds with a final presentation at UPenn

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

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

Dates: September 26 - April 22, 2023

Eligibility: High school students residing in the US

6. Berkeley Business Academy for Youth (B-BAY) – Haas School of Business, University of California (Berkeley)

This two-week course introduces students to the ideas of teamwork, communications, presentations, creating a business plan, and research methods in an intimate cohort of only 50 students. Along with being fully immersed in campus life, participants also engage in social activities, attend guest lectures, and work in teams to create a business plan that they subsequently have to present at the course's conclusion. They also get to interact with a group of UC Berkeley undergraduate students.

Location: Residential, University of California (Berkeley) campus

Cost or stipend:

  • California resident tuition: $6,050

  • Out-of-state resident tuition: $7,050

Application deadline: March 17, 2023

Program dates:

  • Session I: July 9 – July 22, 2023

  • Session II: July 22 – August 9, 2023

Eligibility: US and international high school students

The Anson L. Clark Scholar Program is an intensive seven-week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors from around the globe. It gives students the chance to collaborate closely with prominent faculty in a research-intensive setting. Along with weekly seminars, the program also offers field trips, lectures, and discussions with faculty and other like-minded students.

Academic success, teacher recommendations, and professional goals are taken into consideration when choosing the 12 Clark Scholars each year. Past Clark Scholars focusing on the economics research area have done research on how the media is affected by IPOs and what the targeting effectiveness is of different digital advertising platforms for the travel industry.

Location: Residential, Texas Tech University campus

Cost or stipend: Free (on-campus meals and board) with a $750 tax-free stipend upon completion of a successful research project

Application deadline: February 13, 2023

Program dates: June 18 – August 3, 2023

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors – you must be at least 17 years of age by the program start date

8. Research Mentorship Program (RMP) – University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

The Research Mentorship Program is a competitive summer program for ambitious, high-performing high school students around the globe who want to participate in multidisciplinary, practical, university-level research. Students choose a research project from a list of disciplines given by the program, including economics, and are matched with a mentor (graduate student, postdoc, or faculty).

This program teaches students how to write technical papers in a professional style and present their research findings in formal academic symposiums. Students also earn university credits that will be recorded on their permanent record at UC Santa Barbara. If you’re interested in this program, we’ve also written an in-depth piece detailing everything you need to know about RMP 2023!

Location: UCSB Campus

Cost or stipend:

  • Commuter option: Around $5,000

  • Residential Option: Around $12,000

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Program dates: June 20 – August 4, 2023

Eligibility: Students all over the world who are in 10th and 11th Grade with a minimum GPA of 3.8

The Yale Young Scholars’ PLE session is aimed at students wishing to pursue economics. Students learn to understand diverse economic theories, market regulation, international policy, public policy, and more.

This program is designed to enable students to critically examine social systems, issues, and current affairs through economic, legal, and political theory lenses. Some of their sample lectures and seminars are on international trade and US manufacturing, the commodification and economics of art and music, liberty sanctions in the modern world, and more.

Location: Residential, Yale University

Cost or stipend:

  • $6,500 program fee

  • $75 application fee

Application deadline: Applications for the 2023 sessions are already closed. Based on this year’s deadlines, the applications are open from November to early January each year.

Program dates:

  • Session I: June 18 – June 30, 2023

  • Session II: July 2 – July 14, 2023

  • Session III: July 16 – July 28, 2023

Eligibility: Students have to be

  • At least 16 years old by the first day of Session III

  • A current sophomore or junior (or any international equivalent)

  • A first-time participant

One way of bridging the gap between academic knowledge and its real-world applications is to go through a solid internship program. Pentacle’s High School Internship Program runs for eight weeks, during which students get hands-on work experience interning for a participating small business that shares their interests and goals. The workstreams require research and your understanding of how concepts in economics are applied in decision-making will be put to the test as you work with a real business. The program also has weekly professional development seminars led by Pentacle, where students have the opportunity to meet industry leaders among the Pentacle staff and other visiting professionals.

The program website does not have many details, but the application form provides this email id (Brittany Couch at as a contact for anyone who has questions about the program.

Cost or stipend: $600 stipend

Application deadline: Intern applications are accepted on a rolling basis!

Program dates: Dates for upcoming sessions are announced through Pentacle's newsletter, blog, and social media. The last high school internship program ran from July 6 to August 31, 2021.

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Note: Pentacle (DanceWorks, Inc.) is a not-for-profit management support organization for the performing arts

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, 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.



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