14.771 | Fall 2021 | Graduate

Development Economics

Research Proposal

Research Proposal

The maximum length of the write-up should be 3 pages single-spaced (but less is fine). The goal of this research proposal is to give you a “jump start” on working on a topic that you could (ideally) work on for your second-year paper (or a future paper for your dissertation). If you are in the second year, it is okay for you to talk about the topic that you will be working on for your second-year paper. It should be development though… (but as you know development is a big tent). 

You can co-author the proposal with any student(s) in the program. However, we would like to  see as many proposals as people in the class. 

Note that the deadline is the last possible date that we are allowed to accept assignments under end  of term regulations, so we will not be able to provide extensions. Please therefore budget your time wisely. 

The proposal should include 

  1.  A clear statement of your research question       
  2. Brief motivation of your research question      
    a. Why is this question important?       
    b. What is the policy implication?       
    c. What (if any) economic theory it is testing? 
  3. (Short) Review of the relevant theoretical and/or empirical literature. 
  4. Description of your proposed empirical strategy and proposed (realistic) data sources.       
    a. You can propose an RCT where you’d collect the data, as long as it is realistic for a PhD student (not necessarily in the scope of a second year paper).       
    b. If you project is empirical, write-out clearly and in detail what are the proposed       
    regression specifications.  
  5. Clear discussion of your contribution to the prior literature.       
  6. Clear discussion of what challenges you expect to encounter. 

Think of this project as the shell of a research paper that contains everything but your findings: you will motivate the question; place it in the literature; and lay out your data sources (if any) and your research design. We do not expect to see any preliminary results (for empirical papers) or fully fledged model (for theory paper).

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Fall 2021
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