Summer 2020 Internships

Ready to put your new degree to work?

internship

The Department of Economics is pleased to offer all Spring 2020 Economics graduates an internship this summer. Students who receive this internship will receive a payment of $500 and a Certificate at the end of their project completion.
Eligibility: Economics majors who graduated in Spring 2020.

Application instructions
: Review the project options listed. Using the link below, complete the application which will require you to upload a one-page resume. You will be able to apply for up to 3 internships. 
All applications must be completed by 5pm on Wednesday May 27th
.

Project Opportunities :

Project Title:  The Effect of Government Policy on Individual Decisions
Professor: 
Sheryl Ball (E-mail)
Brief description:

It’s a presidential election year, and one of the big issues candidates will be talking about concerns the proper role of government.  In this project we will consider economics-oriented policies concerning protection of property rights, government spending, business regulation and trade freedom (but not social policy issues like health or education) and examine their effect on the individual decisions people make.   For example, suppose that you live in a country where the court system can be relied upon to punish anyone who fails to live up to the terms of a business contract.  Does that make you more or less likely to trust people in other parts of your life?
        For this project you will read articles about the Economic Freedom Index and learn about the costs and benefits of increasing economic freedom.  At the same time, you will help develop and conduct a paid online decision-making experiment.  Next, you will help conduct data analysis and create figures, graphs and tables to illustrate the results.  This project would be a good experience for someone interested in a career in government, law or business or who would like to get research experience collecting and analyzing data.
Duration of internship: 
2 Months (part time)
Required skill set:

Experience creating and implementing online surveys
Experience reading and doing research using journal articles
Completion of Experimental Economics, Neuroeconomics or PPE courses (desirable)
Experience analyzing data with STATA (desirable)
Project Title:  Using Covid- 19 Crisis as a Natural Experiment in Identifying Causal Effects
Professor: 
Niloy Bose (E-mail)
Brief description:

Over the last several months, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has rapidly grown to become a global pandemic.  There is a large temporal variation across countries, regions, and localities in terms of when the crisis unfolded and when/what specific steps were undertaken to limit the impact of COVID-19.  This temporal variation offers a unique opportunity to draw causal inference among economic variables which under normal circumstance remains challenging for researchers.  For example, drawing a line from income to consumption is challenging since both are driven by a common set of factors.  However, it is possible to exploit the temporal variation in the loss of income (due to lockdown) across regions to identify the causal effects of income on consumption.  Similarly, it is possible to identify the causal effect of school days on test scores by exploiting the temporal variations in school closures across regions, and so on.  You can join this exciting research project by helping me collect and analyze the data that will capture the spread of COVID-19 across U.S. states and counties. This project would be a good experience for someone who would like to get research experience collecting and analyzing data.
Duration of internship: 2 months in summer
Required Skill Set:
Some experience in excel and STATA is desirable, but not necessary
Project Title: Modeling Covid-19’s Impact on the Chicago’s Uber Market
Professor: 
J Breuer (E-mail)
Brief description:
Overview of Project:
The city of Chicago has an agreement with Uber to allow them to operate in the city in return for all trip data.  This includes every ride’s pick-up and drop-off coordinates, price, duration, date-time, and more.  With this data, I would like to use machine learning techniques to cluster hotspots for Uber rides in Chicago and segment the market accordingly.  After the data is segmented, we will conduct economic analysis of the change in demand and supply for Uber rides from January of 2020 until the present.  This will allow us to better understand how the market equilibrium changes as Covid-19 milestones are hit.  We can then predict the areas of Chicago that will see an increase in traffic based on future Covid-19 milestones.
Creation of R package for Project:

We will also be working on developing our own R/Python package for the economic analysis.  Given the market players and corresponding demand/inverse demand/cost functions, deriving best response functions and equilibrium profits/price/quantity in an automated fashion can speed up the economic analysis of big data.  This package will start with a focus on Cournot and Bertrand models given n number of companies and separate linear demand functions.  The following work will incorporate non-linear demand functions.
** Project description subject to change based on current event updates. **
Duration of internship:
Assuming a 40-hour work week – 2 months, could last longer if allowed.
Required skill set:
R and/or Python experience.
Course Pre-requisites: (1 of the 4)

o   Industry Structure
o   Game Theory
o   Economics of Regulation
o   Micreconomic Theory
Nice to have:

o   GitHub experience.
o   Big data experience: >25GB.
o   Geospatial interest.
o   Interest in programming.
o   Interest in professional development.
Project Title: Adapting Active Learning for Online Delivery
Professor:
Melanie Fox (E-mail)
Brief description:

Active learning strategies have been found to be more effective than passive learning. However, most active learning strategies assume a face-to-face learning environment. In this project, we will develop a set of strategies and tools to adapt active learning activities for several models of online delivery.
Duration of internship:
1-2 months
Required skill set:

·       Time Management
·       Communication skills
·       Ability to find and provide analytic summaries of literature in the economics of education
Project Title: The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Gender Productivity
Professor:
Suqin Ge (E-mail)
Brief description:

Closures of schools and childcare facilities during the current Covid-19 pandemic have caused an enormous increase in demand for child care at home. The increased child care needs are expected to have a particularly large impact on working mothers’ labor productivity as they juggle between career and family responsibilities. In this project, we want to quantitatively assess the differential impact of Covid-19 lockdown on gender-specific labor productivity using a unique dataset constructed by the r   esearch team.
Duration of internship:
2 months
Required skill set:

        Data collection
        Attention to details
        Time management
        Technical skills (familiar with spreadsheet software is required, and familiar with statistical software is preferred)
Project Title:  Quantum Computing Solutions for Econometrics
Professor:
Ali Habibnia (E-mail)
Brief description:

In this research, we explore the key concepts of quantum computing and quantum machine learning. We find out quantum computing solutions for econometric modeling specially algorithms for regression analysis.
Duration of internship:
10 weeks
Required skill set:
Good understanding of Linear Algebra and Econometrics
Project Title: The role of attention in choice.
Professor:
  Matthew Kovach (E-mail) (in collaboration with Dr. Gerelt Tserenjigmid)
Brief description:

Some objects command more attention than others. Thus to properly understand choice behavior, we need to understand how relative attention and preference interact to guide choice.  We are studying choice in both individual and strategic settings, and are looking for a student to assist in the data collection and analysis.
Duration of internship:
2 months
Required skill set:
         
Data collection
          Attention to detail
          Time management
          Technical skills (familiarity with spreadsheet software is required, and familiarity with statistical software  (e.g., R, Stata, Python) is preferred)
Project Title: The Role of Spatial and Economic Factors in the Spread of COVID-19 within the U.S.
Professor:
Xu Lin (E-mail)
Brief description:

Since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the US, the country has reported more than 1.5 million cases, and more than 90,000 deaths. Over 92% of the U.S. counties have reported one or more cases. It is important to investigate the transmission of the coronavirus over time and across space within the US. We plan to use a dynamic and spatial model of diffusion to estimate how the number of daily newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in a county or metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is impacted by: (1) the lagged number of new COVID-19 cases in the same county/MSA, nearby counties/MSAs, and New York metropolitan area in the preceding two weeks, respectively; (2) local environmental, demographic and economic factors, including population density, fraction of population over 65, per capita income, number of doctors, weather characteristics, and the like; (3) local Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, such as social distancing, home quarantine, and other interventions. In this 2-month summer project, we would like to hire a research assistant to collect all the relevant regional data, at both county and MSA levels.
Duration of internship:
2 months
Required skill set:
Excel
Project Title: The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Gender Productivity:  Designing and Implementing a Survey
Professor:
Mark Liu (E-mail) (in collaboration with Suqin Ge)
Brief description:

Closures of schools and childcare facilities during the current Covid-19 pandemic have caused an enormous increase in demand for child care at home. The increased child care needs are expected to have a particularly large impact on working mothers’ labor productivity as they juggle between career and family responsibilities. In this project, we want to quantitatively assess the differential impact of Covid-19 lockdown on gender-specific labor productivity using a unique dataset constructed by the research team.
Duration of internship:
2 months
Required skill set:

        Data collection
        Attention to details
        Time management
        Technical skills (familiar with spreadsheet software is required, and familiar with statistical software is preferred)
Project Title: The Southern Homestead Act and Racial Inequality in the Postbellum South
Professor: 
Melinda Miller (E-mail)
Brief description :

Following the U.S. Civil War, a wide variety of proposals to provide freedmen with land emerged.  Only one was enacted by Congress.  The Southern Homestead Act (SHA) of 1866 was designed to assist newly freed slaves in obtaining farms of their own.  The Act made 46 millions acres of land in states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi available for homesteading.  Homesteading under the SHA began in July of 1866 and freedmen in Florida entered 10,000 acres of land by September and 32,000 acres by the end of October.  Relatively little is known about the SHA’s long term impact on black land ownership rates and no comprehensive, systematic study of southern homesteaders has been conducted.  I am linking homesteading records for the state of Florida to population and agricultural census data in 1870 and 1880.  This newly constructed data set will be used to investigate a wide range of hypothesis relating to black and white economic mobility following the Civil War.  At the most basic level, the data can finally provide insight into the extent to which former slaves were able to claim homesteads and maintain them.
Duration of internship:
6 weeks
Required skill set:

Excel
Stata (basic)
Project Title: An economic analysis of the COVID-19 shock to the world oil market
Professor:
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani (E-mail)
Brief description:

This project addresses the causes of the recent collapse of the global price of oil, from about $60 to less than $30 per barrel.  This research involves working with data on the global oil market, prices and production and expects to produce one short piece (op-ed for Brookings or the Economic Research Forum) and a longer paper (20-30 pages) for publication in a journal.
     We consider two theories of how COVID-19 contributed to the recent collapse of oil prices, cooperative and competitive.
     Cooperative theory analyses the impact through actions taken by OPEC oil producers, and recently expanded to include non-OPEC producers like Russia and Mexico.  According to this theory, the impact of the shortfall in demand resulting from the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic depends on how producers respond to reduced demand by cooperatively reducing their production in order to absorb the excess supply created by the shortfall in demand.
     The competitive theory focuses instead on individual country motives for oil supply.  In this view, the supply and demand elasticities for oil play the key roles in determining the extent of the drop in the price of oil.  Supply elasticity in turn depends on domestic needs for oil revenues in individual producing countries.  In this view, cooperation is de-emphasized but the role of large producers, especially Saudi Arabia, on the oil price is taken into account.
     The research involves literature survey, compiling of data from international sources, and use of descriptive statistics and analysis of supply and demand to interpret the data.  Use of regression analysis is desirable but not necessary.  The student will learn the specificities of the global oil market, become familiar with the economies of a few large oil exporters, and gain experience in applying economic analysis to issue of interest for public policy and the media.
Duration of internship:
June 15 – August 15, 2020
Required skill set:
Excel, STATA (preferred but not required). English proficiency.
Project Title: Measuring and Quantifying the Impact of Covid-19 on Gender
Professor:
Suditpa Sarangi (E-mail) (in collaboration with Dr. Suqin Ge)
Brief description:

Closures of schools and childcare facilities during the current Covid-19 pandemic have caused an enormous increase in demand for child care at home. The increased child care needs are expected to have a particularly large impact on working mothers’ labor productivity as they juggle between career and family responsibilities. In this project, we want to quantitatively assess the differential impact of Covid-19 lockdown on gender-specific labor productivity using a unique dataset constructed by the r   esearch team.
Duration of internship:
2 months
Required skill set:

        Data collection
        Attention to details
        Time management
        Technical skills (familiar with spreadsheet software is required, and familiar with statistical software is preferred)
Project Title: Evaluating messages from laboratory experiments
Professor:
Alec Smith (E-mail)
Brief description:
This project will involve coordinating the incentivized evaluation of chat messages by experiment participants. The summer intern will develop instructions (based on prior experiments), develop an IRB protocol, and coordinate the approval process with Virginia Tech’s Human Research Protection Program. The intern will also manage participant recruiting, data collection, and participant payments.
Duration of internship:
Summer 2020
Required skill set:
This position requires strong communication and quantitative skills. Coursework in experimental economics or experience with behavioral experiments is preferred. Statistical (e.g. STATA) and/or high-level programming experience (Python) is desirable
Project Title: A Pandemic as a Series of Accidents: Applying Law and Economics to the Control of Pandemics
Professor:
Nicolaus Tideman (E-mail)
Brief description:

Virus transmission can be analyzed as an accident. The classic work on accidents is The Costs of Accidents, by Guido Calabresi (1970), expanded notably by the review, “Pollution as a Tort: A Non-Accidental Perspective on Calabresi’s Costs,” by Frank Michelman (Harvard Law Review, 1971). The project will be to review these works and the literature spawned by them and then apply what is learned to pandemics like the current covid-19 pandemic.
        Calabresi categories the costs of accidents into “primary costs” (the harm from accidents and from seeking to reduce these costs) “secondary costs” (the costs from the failure to spread primary costs) and “tertiary costs” (the costs of the administrative procedures for dealing with primary and secondary costs). He posits that the appropriate goal of a system of accident cost containment is to minimize the sum of these costs while attending to the constraints imposed by justice.
        Calabresi divides the mechanisms we use to contain primary costs into “general deterrence” (charging people for things they do) and “specific deterrence” (prohibitions on what people may do).
        The project will be to see what is learned when this framework is applied to pandemics.
Duration of internship:
Six weeks
Required skill set:
The ability to provide analytic summaries of literature in law and economics
Project Title: Adam Smith and Political Economy
Professor:
Byron Tsang (E-mail)
Brief description:
This project is both pedagogical and research-related. The student intern will 1) help me preparing materials for a future course that is on Adam Smith, and 2) assist me in some related research ideas. The student intern will carefully read and discuss the original texts and other secondary materials with me, organizing historical facts (e.g., imperialism, mercantilist policies, colonial America, feudalism), and putting together some historical data (e.g., prices, population, trade flows). We will focus on The Wealth of Nations, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and related research papers and books (all available online). Communication will be mostly through emails. Students who want to sharpen their reading and writing skills are encouraged to apply.
Duration of internship:
June 1 – July 31
Required skill set:
Familiar with The Wealth of Nations, and some background of history, philosophy, and/or literature will be a plus.
Project Title: The effects of surname initials on academic job market placements in the United States
Professor:
Gerelt Tserenjigmid (E-mail)
Brief description:

There is abundant research identifying external characteristics (race, gender, adolescent height) that affect labor market outcomes. A recent study also shows that surname initials affect academic promotions: faculty with earlier surname initials are significantly more likely to receive tenure at top ten economics departments. In this project, I study how surname initials affect job market outcomes in academia. I conjecture that PhD candidates with earlier surname initials are more likely to get an academic job at top universities.
Duration of internship:
1-2 months
Required skill set:
A data collection