Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

2012 Economic Research Experience for Undergraduates

June 24–July 12, 2012

(All day)

Charles M. Harper Center

More than 50 undergraduate students expanded their economic knowledge and research skills in this series of summer seminars.

Designed for University of Chicago students in the College working as research assistants over the summer, the program featured research presentations by leading faculty and practical, hands-on software tutorials that demonstrated common research software.

Only at Chicago could undergraduates enjoy the opportunity to hear Institute Chair and Nobel laureate Gary Becker's guiding principles for great research and his approach to his current research interest in socioeconomic inequality. Encouraged to ask him questions on any topic, they inquired about research on income trends among immigrants and how matching theory applies to modern marriage trends.

They saw Institute Research Director Lars Peter Hansen model his latest work on how uncertainty and risk are incorporated in asset pricing—work he presented to officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston shortly afterward. Lectures by Matthew Gentzkow and Steven Davis demonstrated how applying economic analysis to the vast stores of digital data available today can help us understand political bias in the news and the impact of uncertainty on financial markets. Research Scholar Scott Kominers introduced matching theory and market design, then put the principles into practice in an exercise where students helped design an improved online dating service.

In tutorial sessions, they learned ways to extract useful data from the Internet to study economic questions and learned useful techniques for turning statistical data into reports for publication.

The pilot program was developed in collaboration with the Department of Economics' Undergraduate Program. Based on feedback from faculty and participants, the Institute aims to refine and potentially expand the program in the future. 

June 24, 2012 (All day) July 12, 2012 (All day)