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SIEPR UGRA Summer Program: Open Positions

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Summer UGRA Program

SIEPR offers a 10-week full-time (40 hours per week) Summer research program for undergrads, from June 20 - August 26, 2022. Students work on a faculty-led research project and also participate in weekly seminars and meetings with their peers. Each student receives a stipend of $7,500 for the period. SIEPR aims to introduce a diverse population of students to economic policy research and encourages students from all areas of study to apply.

SIEPR UGRA Student Eligibility: 

  • Participants must be current Stanford undergraduates.  
  • Coterm students and seniors are eligible only if their bachelor’s degree will not be conferred before the end of the research appointment. 
  • Coterm students paying graduate tuition are not eligible. 
  • Students serving a suspension or on a leave of absence during Summer quarter are not eligible. 

Program Activities: 

  • Students participate in an hour-long working group meeting on Wednesdays each week to discuss their research progress with their peers.
  • Students attend an hour-long seminar or professional development activity on Fridays each week to learn about different faculty or graduate student research projects, and other research opportunities. 
  • Students complete a research progress reflection every two weeks. 
  • In Week 10, each student presents a lightning talk about their research work and submits their talking points on 2-3 slides at the final working group meeting.

Application Requirements:

  1. A list of the courses that you have taken that are research-related. 
  2. Resume
  3. A  cover letter that addresses the following:
    1. Why are you interested in a SIEPR UGRA position?
    2. What is your previous experience, if any, with research?
    3. What are your personal research interests?

Current Projects

Position Filled

Financial Economic and Organizational Approaches to Mitigating Conflict and Polarization

Faculty Mentor: Saumitra Jha

Number of available positions:

Project Description: Collecting and analyzing primary data to help understand the effectiveness of organizations and innovations that societies have developed to address the problems of violence and political risk in the past and to develop new lessons for contemporary policy.

RA Responsibilities: Collecting and analyzing primary data, doing literature reviews, creating effective visualizations

RA Qualifications: A deep interest in history and political economics. Language skills in French, Japanese or Spanish also helpful but not required.

Position Filled

Consumption smoothing and family stability

Faculty Mentor: Luigi Pistaferri

Number of available positions: 1

Project Description: Tests of consumption smoothing (i.e., how much household consumption responds to income shocks such as unemployment, disability, wage cuts, etc.) assume stable households. The project will extend the basic idea by looking at income shocks generating family dissolution, and within-household consumption reallocation in case of household remaining intact.

RA Responsibilities: Data analysis, construction and bibliographic assistance.

RA Qualifications: Some experience with Stata (i.e., from 120B).

Position Filled

Historical capital flows

Faculty Mentor: Chenzi Xu

Number of available positions: 2

Project Description: There are a number of ongoing projects related to financial crises in banking and sovereign debt markets internationally and historically. Broadly, questions include: how do financial market conditions in the central country of the international monetary system impact financial conditions in the periphery? What impact on output, trade, and growth do expansions have relative to contractions? in what way do financial crises transmit across borders?

RA Responsibilities: There will be a significant amount of data cleaning and analysis of new data sources, and separately, a large amount of historical reading/lit review for fully understanding institutional details. Depending on the RA's skills and interests, they can specialize in either track. One would help with a range of more empirical/programming-heavy tasks including developing ML tools to help create data and analyzing the data to make figures and tables. Another would be responsible for curating reading lists and writing up institutional histories for different time periods, countries and types of financial intermediation.

RA Qualifications: Ideal candidates for the programming-heavy component will have excellent computer programming skills/experience working with statistical software, prior experience with STATA or R is valued, experience with python. Ideal candidates for the more historical component should be comfortable finding/following sources through databases and library systems and providing summaries. For both, diligence and attention to detail, organizational and communication skills are highly valued.

Position Filled

Is there consensus on the future of the news business?

Faculty Mentor: Shoshana Vasserman

Number of available positions: 2

Project Description: There is a plethora of opinions -- from pundits, academics, marketers and investors -- about the future of the news business. How important is ad revenue in the internet age? Is the "Apple News" model palatable? What kinds of reporters and reporting are being hired and promoted? 

The goal of this project is to implement a substantive interview-based survey of professionals in the news industry (editors, journalists, and if possible funders) to find out what they think---individually, as subgroups of the news industry, and as a collective. The end result will be a part-quantitative, part-qualitative analysis of points of consensus and contention about the future of the news industry. This research will contribute to a broader project on the economic viability of different business models for the news industry, involving granular data on local news consumption, subscription prices/purchases, and substitution across outlets.

RA Responsibilities: RAs will help design the survey (with closed and open-ended questions), identify prospective survey participants, conduct interviews (recording answers and additional notes/findings), construct an organized dataset with survey results, perform analyses to demonstrate key takeaways and write a report summarizing findings.

RA Qualifications: 

- Experience with conducting interviews 

- Interest in designing surveys/polls (experience preferred but not required)

- Interest/background in journalism and economics

- Excellent writing skills

- Knowledge or willingness to learn R or a comparable programming language


Position Filled

Corporations and the Rule of Law

Faculty Mentor: Anat Admati

Number of available positions: 1

Project Description: This project explores how well laws and their enforcement work to address situations in which corporations break laws and cause harm to any of their stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, the government or the general public. Does the system deliver proper justice to victims of corporate wrongdoings and does it matter what law is in question, who is the harmed stakeholder and the way they were harmed? For example, does it matter whether the victim is an investor, a customer, an employee, or a government? Does it matter whether the harm is financial or physical (e.g., injury or death)? Ultimately, the question is whether law enforcement in the corporate context creates proper accountability so as to deter law evasion and preventable harms. If the legal system is ineffective, the economic and political implications can be significant, including economic distortions and increased inequality and our objective in this research is to be able to identify how the system fails and how to make it better. Some contours of the research agenda are discussed in this essay

RA Responsibilities: RAs for our project help gather data and create data bases that allow us to explore the way the legal system interacts with corporations based on a combination of existing data and manual classification and searches of sources, including media, legal decisions and press releases. (If we employ multiple RAs, they might work together on some parts of the project.)

RA Qualifications:This project requires first and foremost an interest in the topic, organizational skills, and attention for detail. Knowledge of R can be useful but not essential and can be acquired later.

Position Filled

Anatomy of Government Failure

Faculty Mentor: Michael Boskin

Number of available positions: 2

Project Description: Assist Prof. Boskin in identifying and analyzing instances of, and potential preventives and cures for, government economic policies and programs that are seriously inefficient, ineffective and/or inequitable.

RA Responsibilities: Developing histories of, and results from, various economic policies and programs at the federal, state and local and comparative international level, and evaluating their relative success or failure using various data sources and methods of analysis

RA Qualifications: At least Econ 1 (51 and 52 helpful), knowledge of elementary statistics, good organizational skills, curiosity about the workings of government policy.



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