Third-Year Paper Workshop, Fall 2015

Course Description

This is a workshop for third-year Ph.D. students who are beginning dissertation research. Its purpose is to provide feedback on research ideas and help you complete a third-year paper. Students are required to enroll for one semester and participate in both.

An organizational meeting will be held on Friday September 4 from 11:30-12:30 pm in room 736, 19 W. 4th St.

Course Requirements

In the fall semester, you are required to:

  • Give a 40-minute presentation in the week of December 7-11. The presentations will be organized in the form of a mini-conference held in that week.
  • Actively participate in all sessions of this mini-conference. Attendance is compulsory and unexcused absenses will result in a lower grade.
  • In the same week, submit to me and to your advisor a written report of roughly 10 pages on your research progress. This report should have the form of a research proposal with results you have obtained so far, or an early draft of the paper. While it is understood that you will still be in an early stage of the research project, the report should clearly identify the question you want to address, place the problem into the existing literature, and provide a clear and concise summary of what you have done and where the project is heading.

You will give another presentation and submit the completed paper in the spring semester (supervised by José Montiel Olea).

A prize for the best paper will be awarded at the end of the spring semester that will be determined in consultation with the third-year advisors.


By October 1, each student must tell me the name of her/his principal advisor. That means you must approach a faculty member who is working in your area and ask to be taken on as an advisee. You might have to approach more than one person, but you must find someone. Advisors are responsible for giving feedback on your research and grading your paper at the end of the year. Students whose main advisor is outside FAS Economics must have a second advisor who is a member of our department.

By October 15, you must submit the title of your project and an abstract that will be used to schedule the presentations.

Schedule for December 2015 Mini-Conference

The mini-conference will be organized in the form of 2-hour sessions grouped by research topic.

Presentations will last 40 minutes, with 30 minutes for the speaker and 10 minutes for discussion. Presentations should be directed to a general economics audience, not to specialists. In a short presentation you must come to the main point quickly. Do not spend a lot of time talking about what others have done---tell us what you are doing and why in the first 5 minutes. You should state the question you address, your motivation for addressing it, how you go about solving your problem, and your main conclusions. John Cochrane’s Writing Tips for Ph.D. Students contains a lot of good advice about how to organize papers and presentations.