Student Research

Through the generous contributions of supporters, foundations and alumni the Department of Economics is able to offer the following competition and scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. In all cases, students must be officially declared economics majors and in good standing.

The Department of Economics currently runs two research competitions for students. Papers must be developed under the guidance of an SJSU Economics faculty member, and must be examples of academic economics research.

Semiannual Best Paper Proposal Competitions

At the end of each semester, students may submit an original scholarly paper they have produced. A committee of current economics faculty will be assembled to judge the submissions. Submissions are due on December 18th for the Fall semester and May 21st for Spring semester. Each semester we will plan to make six awards total, with three awards (First, Second, Third) in two categories: undergraduate and graduate. First place awards are $1500; second place are $1000, and third place $500.

To apply, complete the Application Form and email your completed research paper in PDF format to the director of the research and proposal competitions, currently
Dr. Matthew Holian.

Apply via GoogleDocs
Best Paper / Proposal Competition Application Form.

Dr. Matthew Holian
Director, Research and Proposal Competitions


Competition Deadline Award (anticpated)
Fall Competition December 18th First prize $1,500,
Second prize $1,000
Third prize $500
For both UGrad and Grad
Spring Competition May 21st First prize $1,500,
Second prize $1,000
Third prize $500
For both UGrad and Grad

Winners will be invited to present their research at the Annual Economics Department Award Celebration during the Spring semester, and are invited to present their work at the annual meetings of the Association for Private Enterprise Education in either the undergraduate poster competition or in a graduate student session. Winners will be awarded scholarships to help defray the cost of attending. Past meetings have been held in Las Vegas, Maui, Bahamas, Cancun, among others. Students must be 21 years of age by the start of the conference to attend.

Spring 2018 Annual Best Paper Proposal Winners

Mikhail Arbuzov
Estimated Dynamic Equilibrium Model: Supply and Demand as a Sample Path of a Stochastic Process?”

To this day Efficient Market Theory remains the only accepted theory explaining mechanics of price formation. Although it has an extraordinary body of evidence, it fails to explain the most important market anomalies such as bubbles and crashes. Numerous rival theories developed to explain the anomalies remain controversial as nosy historical data contains evidence to all of them; even when they are mutually exclusive. To avoid data mining for another controversial theory, I rely on realistic assumptions and math to build an agent-based model of price formation mechanics. As the proposed model not only explains the formation of market anomalies but also provides an explanation why real world data supports mutually exclusive hypotheses, it may become the single uncontroversial theory for price formation mechanics.

Alexander P. San Filippo
"The Introduction of Private Prisons and Incarceration Rates"

This research seeks to answer the question, What is the effect of the for-profit prison system on the incarceration rates? My hypothesis is that there will be a statistically significant effect on the increase of incarceration rates once private prisons are allowed to operate within a state. The methodology involves a comparative analysis between the state of Mississippi and Arkansas. Both states have similar characteristics such as GSP, demographics, etc. but only Mississippi allows private prisons to operate within the state.

Fall 2017 Semiannual Best Proposal Winners

Graduate Student Winners:

Allan Wheeler - ”Equilibrium, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Calculation: Implications for Urban Economic Development”
Noe Vidales and Gregory Wong - “Public Policy and the Marital Decisions of the Indigenous Population of Mexico”

Undergraduate Student Winners:

Christina Sawyer - “How Would Seattle’s Minimum Wage Policy Impact San Jose’s Citizens with Barriers to Employment?”
Luca Pasquini - “Market Impacts of Cyber Attacks”
Eshan Jain - “What Makes a Non-Profit Organization More Profitable?”