The MSc Dissertation


From June – September students undertake a research project supervised by a member of faculty and submit a 10,000 word dissertation to a deadline in mid-September.  A good dissertation will be a piece of original research, the best dissertations are published.  The three months project gives you the opportunity to acquire and enhance a number of skills including research skills, project management, organisation, software and writing.


The research methods course supports you in this project, providing training in

  • Research and academic writing skills
  • Software (Matlab, Eviews and Stata)
  • Empirical econometric skills

In total, there are 36 hours of lectures covering these skills and supporting students in writing their dissertation. Helpdesks are also provided during the dissertation writing period.

Dissertations fall into four categories:

Empirical

Empirical dissertations typically take an econometric model from an existing paper and applying it to a new data set and / or extending it.  Such a project involves:

  • a brief critical literature review of your chosen area
  • finding and understanding your dataset
  • learning the appropriate software (typically Eviews or Stata)
  • implementing your model 
  • understanding, criticising and checking the robustness of your results.

Examples of recent empirical dissertations are:

  • Corruption and Education in the Developing World
  • Analysis of Chinese Stock Market Efficiency
  • UK Wage Flexibility in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
  • Hedonstic wage estimation and the market for head teachers: Evidence for England
  • Does Microcredit Crowd Out Traditional Moneylending? An Example From Hyderabad.
  • Estimating the Competitive Structure of the UK Petrol Retail Industry
  • The impact of paid work on women’s empowerment

Theoretical


Theoretical dissertations typically take model from an existing paper and extending it in some interesting way.  Such a project involves:

  • a brief critical literature review of your chosen area
  • acquiring a deep understanding of your model, in the context of the core material you’ve covered 
  • learning the appropriate software (typically Eviews or Stata)
  • implementing your model 
  • understanding, criticising and checking the robustness of your results.


Examples of recent theoretical dissertations are:

  • An Investigation of a Network Targeting Model with Bounded Rational Consumers
  • The finite sample performance of single equation models of ordered choice
  • Rotating Savings and Credit Associations: A Theoretical Analysis 
  • News aggregators and search engines: Thumping entrants in the newspapers industry
  • Disaster risk in a New Keynesian model

Policy


Policy dissertations undertake a critical analysis of some previously unexplored policy or policy issue.  Such a project involves:

  • a brief critical literature review of your chosen area
  • a description of the economic principles involved in the policy decision
  • a critical appraisal of existing or proposed policies.


Note policy dissertations may often involve an empirical component

Examples of recent dissertations are:

  • An assessment of the second round of quantitative easing policy in the UK: A BVAR approach
  • Capital controls on outflows during financial crises: Are they effective?
  • The technological factors in the economies of developing countries: Comparison of the effectiveness of public policies on innovation in Chile for local research and inward technology transfer
  • Welfare participation by immigrants in the UK
  • A study upon market structure characterised by regulation: Information  and oligopoly conditions

Literature review


A literature review dissertation provides a clear outline of the intellectual development of the a particular area. Such a project involves:

  • a thorough understanding of the literature in your chosen area
  • explaining the extent to which different contributors were addressing similar of different questions and in what sense and how far one contribution marks a significant improvement over earlier contributions. 
  • Critically assessing the different contributions and of the field as a whole


Examples of recent dissertations are:

  • Heterogeneous Adaptive Learning in Real Business Cycle Models
  • The Great Moderation: A critical survey since the crisis
  • What are the social costs and benefits of reversing innovations in mortgage markets?
  • What explains the top income surge?
  • A survey on observational learning and informational cascades: Are observational conditions simple enough to warrant simple predictions?