Traditional economic analysis has been used to explain why people who are overweight tend to have lower incomes than those who are thin as well as why some nations grow faster than others.
Economists have explored why people gamble even though they are likely to lose money as well as why stock markets respond in predictable or unpredictable ways to external events.
For example, once economists have identified the key variables influencing consumers’ decisions about how much sugary soda to drink or whether or not to recycle soda cans, policy makers can establish or modify incentives for consumers to change their soda consumption and to recycle their cans instead of putting them in the trash.
The format of most research papers—theory, applications, empirical evidence, policy implications—is consistent with this common approach to economic analysis.
For example, an economist researching the decisions of owners of professional baseball teams may find that traditional models of profit maximization provide a good base but that they have to be modified to take into account motives that include status or pleasure in addition to profit.
Whether existing or modified models are used, the economist’s objective is to ask whether the theory or model can take into account the unique considerations critical to the topic.
They develop models to analyze how tax policies affect philanthropy and how managers of baseball teams can determine which players are worth their salary demands.
The range of research paper topics that falls within the domain of economic analysis is much broader (and more interesting) than those suggested by the traditional definition of the discipline.
To the extent possible, the sample research papers in the list follow a common format.
They begin with a review of theory and then examine applications of the theory, relevant empirical evidence, policy implications, and future directions.