MSc Dissertation topics – Economics

MSc Dissertation topics – Economics

  • Topic: What are the effects of financial development on economic growth?
  • Initial Readings
  • King, Robert G. and Ross Levine. 1993. “Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 (3): 717-737.
  • Rajan, Raghuram G. and Luigi Zingales. 1998. “Financial Dependence and Growth.” American Economic Review 88 (3): 559-586.
  • Jayaratne Jith and Philip E. Strahan. 1996. “The FinanceGrowth Nexus: Evidence from Bank Branch Deregulation.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 111 (3): 639-670.
  • Topic: What are the main obstacles to agricultural technology adoption in developing countries?
  • Initial Readings
  • Karlan et al 2014 QJE; Duflo et al. 2011 AER; Conley and Udry 2010 AER; Suri 2011 Econometrica
  • Topic: What is the nature of the relationship between economic shocks and civil conflict?
  • Initial Readings
  • Miguel et al. 2004 JPE; Dell et al. 2014 JEL; Dube and Vargas 2013, ReStud
  • Topic: How did China’s WTO accession in 2001 affect its own subsequent economic development?
  • Initial Readings
  • Brandt et al. 2017, AER; Erten and Leight, forthcoming, REStat; Potlogea and Cheng, working paper
  • Topic: How did China’s WTO accession in 2001 affect the economies of Western developed countries?
  • Initial Readings
  • Autor et al. 2013 AER; Pierce and Schott 2016 AER; Bloom et al. 2016 ReStud; Bai and Stumpner 2019 AERI


  • Topic: Economics of Crime
  • What is the link between economic activity and crime?
  • Does leaving school during a recession incentivize individuals into a criminal career?
  • What are the links between immigration and crime?
  • Why did some types of crime fall so much during the Covid lock-downs and will there be long-run effects from this?
  • Does providing more resourcing to policing actually reduce crime – and what is most effective?
  • Topic: Economics of Immigration
  • Does immigration reduce the wages and employment opportunities of native workers?
  • What characteristics of immigrants are most correlated with success in the host country?
  • Evaluating a particular immigration policy to see whether it succeeded in its objective.
  • Why do people choose to migrate to another country – what are the key economic drivers?
  • Topic: Wage and Employment Inequality
  • Why have different countries experienced different trends in wage inequality over time?
  • What type of workers suffered most during crises like the Financial Crisis and Covid-19 and how quickly do they recover?
  • Topic: Wage and Employment Inequality
  • Why do CEOs get paid so much more than workers and is there any evidence it incentivizes performance?
  • What are the patterns of geographic inequality within a country, what are the causes and do policies that try to address the issue ever work?
  • What are the patterns of intergenerational mobility, and can policy affect these?


Research Areas/Topics – Joanne Lindley

  • Topic: Any Labour Market topic. Examples include
  • the returns to education,
  • labour supply elasticities,
  • the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on any labour market or health outcome (wages and/or inequality, hours of work, employment, job quality, job insecurity, wellbeing, general health etc), — gender/racial disadvantage.

Research Areas/Topics – Joanne Lindley

  • Potential datasets
  • Understanding Society,
  • the Skills Surveys,
  • the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Cohort Studies, etc.

These are available from the UK data archive

  • Econometric methods
  • Cross sectional (including LDV) regression, panel data estimation etc.

Research Areas/Topics – Filipa Sa

  • Topic: House prices
  • What determines prices, both on the supply side (e.g. regulation, geographic constraints) and on the demand side (e.g. foreign investment, immigration)
  • Topic: Covid-19 – Sociodemographic determinants, collateral damage (excess mortality)
  • Topic: Immigration, automation and productivity

Research Areas/Topics – John Morrow

  • International trade
  • Political economy
  • Industrial development

Research Areas/Topics – Niall Hughes

  • Applications of Game Theory
  • Committee Decision Making
  • Voting & Elections
  • Strategic Communication of Information


  • Topic: Nowcasting
  • Aim: Build an econometric model to make timely predictions of a low-frequency (e.g. quarterly) variable using highfrequency (e.g. monthly, weekly, daily) variables
  • Literature: Giannone, Domenico, Reichlin, Lucrezia, Banbura, Marta and Modugno, Michele, (2013), Now-casting and the real-time data flow, No 1564, Working Paper Series, European Central Bank.
  • Topic: Nowcasting
  • Data: Macroeconomic data are typically used e.g. real GDP as a function of industrial production, employment etc. More novel applications might be to healthcare, energy etc.
  • Methods: Time series models, mixed frequency regression, model evaluation
  • Topic: Growth-at-Risk
  • Aim: To predict down-side risk to macroeconomic series using financial series
  • Literature: Adrian, T., Boyarchenko, N. and Giannone, D., 2019. Vulnerable growth. American Economic Review, 109(4), pp.1263-89.
  • Topic: Growth-at-Risk
  • Data: Standard application relates real GDP growth to past growth and a national financial conditions index (NFCI). Many other macro/financial indicators are possible to explore.
  • Methods: Quantile regression, time series models
  • Topic: Forecast Model Evaluation
  • Aim: Compare different econometric forecasting models by backtesting them over time and assessing their predictive ability using statistical tests. This can be applied to any field.
  • Literature: Many possible references from each individual field. Here is an example from inflation forecasting:
  • Faust, J. and Wright, J.H., 2013. Forecasting inflation. In

Handbook of economic forecasting (Vol. 2, pp. 2-56). Elsevier.

  • Topic: Forecast Model Evaluation
  • Data: Any data series of interest: macro series (inflation, GDP growth, unemployment), energy (consumption, petroleum prices), environment (CO2 emissions, climate data) and so on
  • Methods: Forecasting models, forecast evaluation testing


  • Topic: Economic uncertainty
  • Econometric tools: Time series analysis — Initial readings:
  • Jurado, Kyle, Sydney C. Ludvigson, and Serena Ng. “Measuring uncertainty.” American Economic Review 3 (2015): 11771216
  • Baker, Scott R., Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis.

“Measuring economic policy uncertainty.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 131.4 (2016): 1593-1636

  • Data: Time series, aggregate, microdata, survey data. Data on the US or on other countries, as long as uncertainty measures are available
  • Topic: Economic uncertainty (continued)
  • Aim: Economic measures of uncertainty and the real economy
  • Proposed project:
    1. Understand different existing measures to capture different types of economic uncertainty
    2. Compare the different measures and discuss advantages and disadvantages
    3. Identify and interpret common patterns in the measures of uncertainty
    4. Assess which measure(s) Granger causes different candidate measures of the business cycle
  • Topic: Time variation using subsamples
  • Econometric tools: Time series analysis — Initial readings:
  • Boivin, Jean, and Marc P. Giannoni. “Has monetary policy become more effective?.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 3 (2006): 445-462
  • Data: Time series, aggregate, microdata. Data on the US or on different countries
  • Topic: Time variation using subsamples (continued)
  • Aim: Changes in monetary policy shocks across times — Proposed project:
    1. Find ONE topic of interest and find a well published application
    2. Replicate and understand the methodology, ideally after updating the sample
    3. In the spirit of Boivin and Giannoni (2006), assess how the results change over time by splitting the sample into subsamples 4. Interpret the results
  • Topic: Time variation using subsamples (continued)
  • Aim: Changes in monetary policy shocks across times — Proposed project:
  1. Possible topics:
    1. Oil shocks, Kilian, Lutz. “Not all oil price shocks are alike: Disentangling demand and supply shocks in the crude oil market.” American Economic

Review 99.3 (2009): 1053-69

  1. Fiscal shocks: Mertens, Karel, and Morten O. Ravn. “A reconciliation of

SVAR and narrative estimates of tax multipliers.” Journal of Monetary Economics 68 (2014): S1-S19


Research Areas/Topics – Mary O’Mahony

  • Economic growth and productivity
  • Skills, education and productivity
  • International trade
  • Information technology

Research Areas/Topics – Omid Mazdak

  • Time Series Econometrics
  • Political economy of land
  • Developing country trade and policy
  • Commodity market analysis (e.g. oil, gas, wheat)

Research Areas/Topics – Evangelos


  • Economic growth and inequality
  • Financial development
  • Status Goods, Google Trends, Conspicuous Consumption and Culture
  • Diversity, Culture and the Origins of Human and Business Behaviour
  • Environmental Quality, Innovation and Growth

Research Areas/Topics – Simona Grassi

  • Why are people overconfident? What are the consequences of this bias on decisions?
  • Anxiety and mental health issues are common during the Covid19 pandemic. What is their effect on behavior?
  • Inequalities and Brexit. Who voted for Brexit and why?
  • Gender inequality and violence against women. Are they related?
  • What is social capital? How does it affect the economy?

Research Areas/Topics – Seyhun Sakalli

  • Any empirical research that uses microeconometrics
  • Also see video for more details

Research Areas/Topics – Georgios Chortareas

  • Monetary policy
  • International finance
  • Political economy of macroeconomic policy — Public choice


  • Topic: International Trade, Labour Economics
  • Econometric tools: Regression analysis; Instrumental Variables; Panel regression — Initial readings:
  • Adda, J. and Fawaz, Y. (2020) The Health Toll of Import Competition. The Economic Journal, 130, 1501-1540.
  • Autor, D. H., Dorn, D. and Hanson, G. H. (2013). The China syndrome: Local labor market effects of import competition in the United States. American Economic Review, 103 (6), 2121– 68.
  • Foliano, F. and Riley, R. (2017). International trade and UK deindustrialisation. National Institute Economic Review, 242 (1), R3–R13.
  • Topic: International Trade, Labour Economics


  • Data: Census local area databases (UK data); Data derived from the Business Structure database and


  • Aim: Investigate impacts of import competition on local economies
  • Topic: International Trade, Labour Economics


  • Proposed project: Import competition and health outcomes
    1. Summarize the results of the empirical literature;
    2. Develop hypothesis and empirical framework;
    3. Develop databases;
    4. Econometric analysis;
    5. Key lessons and interpretation.


Research Areas/Topics – Evagelos Pafilis

  • Corporate governance
  • g. board diversity and firm performance

— Initial readings

  • Carter, D. A., D’Souza, F., Simkins, B. J., & Simpson, W. G. 2010. The gender and ethnic diversity of U.S. boards and board committees and firm financial performance. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 18: 396-414.
  • Adams, Renée, and Daniel Ferreira (2009). Women in the Boardroom and Their Impact on Governance and Performance. Journal of Financial Economics 94(2): 291– 309.

Research Areas/Topics – Christos


  • Macroeconomics
  • Monetary economics
  • Fiscal/monetary policies (interactions)
  • Economics of the EMU
  • Theory of economic policy in strategic context