Semiannual Best Paper Competition

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.

Student Research

At the end of each semester, students may submit an original scholarly paper they have produced. A committee of current economics faculty will judge the submissions. Each semester we make several awards, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in undergraduate and graduate categories. 

Winners will be invited to present their research at the Annual Economics Award Ceremony 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. 

How to Apply
Complete the application form below, you will upload your paper to that application form. 
Via GoogleDocs: Best Paper Competition Application Form.
If you are unable to upload the file, please email it to with the subject "Best Paper Competition".

Dr. Matthew Holian
Director, Research and Proposal Competitions 

Submissions are due on the dates listed in the table below.

Competition Deadline Award (anticipated)
Fall Competition December 18th First prize $1,500,
Second prize $1,000
Third prize $500
For both UGrad and Grad
Spring Competition May 17th First prize $1,500,
Second prize $1,000
Third prize $500
For both UGrad and Grad

Fall 2020 Awards

Best Graduate Paper - Kevin Kan
"Comparing MLB and NBA Player Salaries and their Marginal Revenue Product"

Best 203A Paper - Alexander Tran
"State Merit-based Financial Aid Programs and College Attainment Replications"

First, Best Undergraduate Paper - Elizabeth Hartsog
"Has Rent Control in San Francisco Contributed to Rising Housing Costs?"

Second, Best Undergraduate Paper - Naren Pradhan
"Say's Law, Keynes, and the Great Depression: The Evolution of Economic Theory"

Third, Best Undergraduate Paper - Richard Cao
"Impact of Race and Ethnicity on Health Care Coverage"

First, Best 100w Paper - Mai Thanh Vu
"Is College Worth it?"

Second, Best 100w Paper - Mikaela Cocke
"Minimum Wage Laws: The Harmful Effects"

Third, Best 100w Paper - Shelby Mullendore
"Economic Benefits and Drawbacks of Attending an Ivy League University"

Runner-up, Best 100w Paper - Morgan Mosqueda
"Universal Basic Income: A necessary policy progression into the future?"

Runner-up, Best 100w Paper - Henry Lin
"Sentiments and Saving"

Spring 2020 Awards

Best Paper, Graduate Student Winner: Kevin Kan
"The Effect of TV Ratings on Major League Baseball Franchises"

First, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Anahita Biglari
"Son Preference in the US"

Second, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Mai Vu
"Does climate or earnings affect the migration decision of college graduates?"

Third, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Elizabeth Hartsog
"Comparing the Effect of Obamacare and Romneycare on Uninsurance Rates and Insurance Premiums"

Best 100w Paper Bianca Nigri
"The Benefits of Legalizing Drugs in Latin American Countries"

Best Lower Division Paper - Victor Liu
"Minimum Wage: What's the Limit?"

Fall 2019 Best Paper Awards

Undergraduate Student Winner - Austin Tse
"Using Monte Carlo Simulation to Evaluate Optimal Investment Strategies”

Spring 2019 Best Paper Awards

First, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Sharika Rakibullah
"The Impact of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 on Crimes in Arizona"

Second, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Rosalyn Hua
"Impact of the 2015 Amendment to HSC § 1280.15 on Data Breach Fines"

Third, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Alexandra Voight
"The Dot Com Boom, Bust, and the Tech Wage Premium"

First, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Theo Dubus
"Black Fool’s Gold: The Venezuelan Economic Crisis and Government Over-reliance on Oil"

Second, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Eric Duong
"U.S. Physician Shortage: A Misallocation Issue?"

Third, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Austin Tse
"Determinants of Attractiveness in the Dating Market"

Fall 2018 Best Paper Awards

First, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Anteneh Ayele 
"Willingness to Pay and Energy Efficiency"

Second, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Sharika Rakibullah 
"The Persistence of Sex Preferences in the US"

Third, Best Paper Graduate Winner - Rosalyn Hua
"Asian American Women: Did the Great Recession Cause Childness"

First, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Anahito Biglari
"Antoine Augustine Cournot: The Inception of Mathematical Economics"

Second, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Amar Pal and Henry Pineda
"Why Institutions Matter: Analyzing the Relationship Between Economic Freedom and Standard of Living" 

Third, Best Paper Undergraduate Winner - Abdemer Gonzalez
"Immigration and Its Impact on Earnings in America: An Analysis in the Construction Industry"

Spring 2018 Annual Best Paper Proposal Winners

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

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

Fall 2017 Semiannual Best Proposal Winners

Graduate Student Winner - Allan Wheeler 
”Equilibrium, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Calculation: Implications for Urban Economic Development”

Graduate Student Winners - Noe Vidales and Gregory Wong
"Public Policy and the Marital Decisions of the Indigenous Population of Mexico”

First, Undergraduate Student Winner - Christina Sawyer
“How Would Seattle’s Minimum Wage Policy Impact San Jose’s Citizens with Barriers to Employment?”

Second, Undergraduate Student Winner - Luca Pasquini
“Market Impacts of Cyber Attacks”

Third, Undergraduate Student Winner - Eshan Jain 
“What Makes a Non-Profit Organization More Profitable?”

Spring 2017 Research Paper Competition Winners

First, Graduate Student Winner - Jeffrey Tseng
“Can Medical Students Improve Standardized USMLE Test Scores by Attending and Studying for Class?"

Second, Graduate Student Winner - Veronica Jimenez
“Can Anarchy and the State Coexist? An Analysis of Mexico”

Third, Graduate Student Winner - Randy Avalos
“NYISO Transmission Congestion Contract Abnormal Returns: Symptoms of Inefficient Market Design”

First, Undergraduate Student Winner - Amar Pal
“Should Downtown San Francisco Implement a Congestion Pricing System Similar to London’s?”

Second, Undergraduate Student Winner - Cassandra Denis
“The Correlation between the Rate of Unemployment and the Rate of Total Crime”

Third, Undergraduate Student Winners - Sherwin Vassigh and Austin Carnathan
“Regression Analysis of Team Success in Basebal: The Impact of Salary Expenditures on Measures of Team Success”