Economics Essay Competitions 2011

The Benefits of a Free Market Economy

First Prize: $2,500
Second Prize: $2,000
Third Prize: $1,500
Honorable Mentions: $250

Open to full-time students 25 years and younger.

Contestants will choose from the following three topics:
What Causes Prosperity?
What is the Role of Ethical Behavior in a Free Market?
Can Free Markets Protect the Environment?

The deadlines for the 2008 essay contest will be announced this summer.

Official Rules and Submission Guidelines.

This contest is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

For further details about The Association of Private Enterprise Education visit us on the web at or contact: J. R. Clark , APEE Secretary/Treasurer, Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 313 Fletcher Hall, Dept. 6106, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598. Phone: 423-425-4118, FAX: 423-425-5218, e-mail: .

2007 Winners:

Honorable Mentions ($250): Ojo Adekunle B. (United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya), Chris Kuiper (Dordt College), Vrinda Maheshwari (National Law School of India University), Abigail Martin (Wheaton College), Josef Mladek (University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic), Ryan Musser (Houghton College), Joel Runyon (Bethel College), Joseph W. Siler (The George Washington University), Neville Tirimba (Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology, Kakamega, Kenya), Raluca Mihaela Ursu (Wesleyan College).

2006 Winners:

  • First Prize: Mats Ekman (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom), “Freedom Works”

Honorable Mentions: Ian Townes (UNT), Michael Belinsky (Dartmouth College),
Andrew Balthrop (Georgia State University), Joe Peterson (Bob Jones University), Yao Xiaoxi (Tsinghua University), Carl Shulman (New York University), Erwin Dekker (London School of Economics), Paul Riley (College of the Holy Cross), Rachel Schwartz (University of Glasgow), Brendan Cooper (Carleton College).

Honorable Mentions: Lisa Abraham (Western Reserve Academy) and Nadine Abraham (Wellesley College), Angelica Rocha Guevara (University Francisco Marroquin), Nikki Macor (University of Adelaide), Kyle Ryan (Washington State University), Kathryn Sandstrom (Towson University), Joel Sawyer (Houghton College), Evangeline Wandag (Cagayan State University-Carig Campus).

Man’s wants … are not static … but progressive. Hardly has man got himself a shelter when he wants a house; hardly has he clothed himself when he wants adornment; hardly has he satisfied the need of his body when study, knowledge, art open to his desires a new endless vista.
— Frederic Bastiat, Economic Harmonies, page 45, 39-40.


Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?


What change in the American K-12 education system would result in the most cost-effective improvement in student outcomes?


What are the most important influences on economic inequality in the United States?


The Future of the Fed


How should North Dakota handle its oil boom?


What is the value of higher education?


What role, if any, should government play in job creation?


What economic factors may be contributing to the problem of obesity, and how can economics be applied to address the problem?


What role, if any, should the government play in energy markets?


Hamilton vs. Jefferson: Whose economic vision was better? 


Is immigration good or bad for the U.S. economy?


What economic lessons can be drawn from an illegal drug deal?


Why are some countries rich and some countries poor?


What role, if any, should the government play in addressing income inequality? 


Select a major problem concerning the ecological environment. Using economic analysis, show how this problem should be addressed.


Is there a housing shortage? What role should government play in the housing market?


The Great Depression: Could it happen again?


What does this 1973 picture of a gas station without gas to sell imply about how markets work? How can the lessons portrayed in the picture guide policymakers today? 


What economic lessons can be drawn from this painting of a bustling sixteenth century Dutch market? 

1997-98 Essay Contest

Why do some countries grow faster than others? What, if anything, can a central bank do to enhance economic growth?

1996-97 Essay Contest

Should states be permitted to use targeted incentives to recruit businesses?

1995-96 Essay Contest

What exchange rate system should central banks adopt? 

1994-95 Essay Contest

What role should the Federal Reserve play in the payments system? 


Is the Community Reinvestment Act a necessary and effective tool for eliminating discrimination in lending?


Central Banks in Emerging Economies


Is reform of the banking system necessary and, if so, what types of reform would be most effective?


How successful has the floating exchange rate system been compared to the fixed exchange rate system? And, what modifications would you recommend, if any?


Is the Federal Reserve Too Independent?

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