Economics Dissertation Topics

Economics Dissertation Topics

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Example economics dissertation topic 1:

‘Without fiscal unity- currency unions will always fail' - what lessons can be learnt from a comparative study of the Prussian Zollverein and the present state of the single currency?

The Zollverein was a coalition of German states formed to manage customs and economic policies within their territories. Established in 1818, the original union cemented economic ties between the various Prussian and Hohenzollern territories, and ensured economic contact between the non-contiguous holdings of the Hohenzollern family. It was expanded between 1820 to 1866 to include most of the German states. With the founding of the North German Confederation in 1866, the Zollverein included approximately 425,000 square kilometres, and had produced economic agreements with non-German states like Sweden and Luxembourg. This dissertation contrasts the economic model of union within the Zollverein with that of the EU and notes the similarities and differences between the problems that each faced with regard to, for instance, the harmonisation of taxes.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Gildea, R. (1987) Borders and barricades: Europe 1800-1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Murphy, D.T. (1991) Prussian aims for the Zollverein, 1828-1833', The Historian, Vol. 53(2), pp. 285-302.

Example economics dissertation topic 2:

An analysis of how capital inflows affect emerging market economies

From a global economic perspective, the surge in capital flows to emerging market economies creates benefits to both developing and developed countries. Moreover, within the global economy, the policy of quantitative easing in the US has a significant impact on emerging markets. This dissertation analyses the causes of inflows of capital and the problems that these can create for emerging economies. Thereafter, it evaluates a range of policy responses available to countries facing capital inflows and comments on the advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Cardarelli, R., Elekdag, S. and Kose, M. (2010) ‘Capital inflows: Macroeconomic implications and policy responses', Economic Systems, Vol. 34(4), pp. 333-356.
  • Smith, K.A. and Valderrama, D. (2009) ‘The composition of capital inflows when emerging market firms face financing constraints', Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 89(2), pp. 223-234.

Example economics dissertation topic 3:

‘The time for a return to Keynesianism has returned': A speculation for the future

The Keynesian solution to the sustained depression of the 1930s was for governments to spend their way out of recession. This dissertation asks, given the nature of the continuing global financial crisis, coupled with the problems in the Eurozone, now that France has elected its first socialist president for seventeen years whether it is time to abandon the tight fiscal monetarism of the 1990s and return to Keynesianism. This is a dissertation that is primarily dependent upon secondary sources although interviews with leading economists could also be used to add a primary source element to the study.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Cho, B. (2010) ‘Financial crisis and post Keynesian economic reform', Working Paper, The Association for Heterodox Economics.
  • Eatwell, J. and Millgate, M. (2011) The fall and rise of Keynesian economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Example economics dissertation topic 4:

The case for an abandonment of national pay scales - A case study with special reference to teaching and lecturing

The double dip recession has once again highlighted the extent to which there exist at least two economies within the UK: whilst the south-east is enjoying a rising housing market that of the north-east continues to plummet. Given such regional disparities, this dissertation assesses both the economic and political case for the abolition of national pay scales in preference to regionally determined local pay-rates. As a sector with one of the most vociferous unions, the teaching sector has historically always been against the abandonment of national pay scales - it therefore provides, as a sector, a wealth of opinion and existing literature with which to revisit this economic policy suggestion.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brown, P. and Tannock, S. (2009) ‘Education, meritocracy and the global war for talent', Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 24(4), pp. 377-392.
  • Perkins, S.J. and White, G. (2010) ‘Modernising pay in the UK public services: trends and implications', Human Resource Management Journal
    Vol. 20(3), pp. 244-257.

Example economics dissertation topic 5:

On-going foreign direct investment in Russia: A risk too far?

The benefits of FDI for the host nation are well established. Inward FDI creates job opportunities which lead to increases in wages. The transfer of resources also usually results in an inward movement of capital and technological knowledge and through so doing can upgrade the existing technical processes in a host country. However, there are risks associated with FDI and within the context of FDI into Russia this dissertation seeks to ascertain whether the risks associated with corruption outweigh the potential rewards to those who make the FDI. Accordingly, this is a cross disciplinary dissertation that not only utilises economic theories but also comments upon the political economy of contemporary Russia and the stability and perceived trustworthiness of its institutions and processes of governance.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Ledyaeva, S. (2009) ‘Spatial econometric analysis of foreign direct investment determinants in Russian regions', World Economy, Vol. 32, pp. 643-666.
  • Curtis, T., Griffin, T. and Kornecki, D. (2010) ‘Trends and recent development in foreign direct investment in Russia', Working Paper, Nova Southeastern University, FL.

Example economics dissertation topic 6:

Capital asset pricing model: Its use in investment decisions.

As a theoretical framework, the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) enables investment professionals to evaluate the relationship between risk and return.
However, despite its prevalence within the market, Pike and Neale (2003) argue that that the true validity of CAPM cannot be tested for so to do would require the evaluation of a market portfolio consisting of every single asset available. Accordingly, this dissertation seeks to evaluate the on-going appropriateness of Pike and Neale's critique of CAPM in the context of the events since the unfolding financial crisis began in 2007 and through so doing to suggest the extent to which continued reliance upon CAPM is appropriate within the investment market.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Pike, R. and Neale, B. (2003) Corporate finance and investment: Decisions and strategies (4th edn). London: Pearson Education. Ross, S.A., Westerfield, R.W. and Bradford, D.J. (2003) Fundamentals of corporate finance (6th edn). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
  • Stern, J. M. and Chew Jr., D.H. (eds) (2004) The revolution in corporate finance (4th edn). New York: Blackwell Publishing Limited.

Example economics dissertation topic 7:

The growth in speculative markets: To what extent did the embracing of an international monetary system based on floating exchange rates lead to loss of control?

The historic decline of the gold standard and other forms of fixed exchange rate heralded the tentative beginnings of a system of floating exchange rates. This latter approach would, with the liberalisation of markets in the Reagan-Thatcher era usher in a new wave of currency speculators. As shown through the ERM debacle of the early 1990s and contemporary developments within the single currency there is concern as to the effect that ‘unchecked and unregulated' speculators have not only on the currency markets but also the entirety of the economies upon which they are speculating. This dissertation addresses both the historic trends that have led to this situation as well as reviewing suggested contemporary legislation aimed at curbing the avarice of speculators.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Russell, A.  (2005) ‘Trade, money and markets', in White, D., Issues in world politics. Palgrave: Basingstoke, pp. 39-57.
  • Strange, S. (1998) Mad money. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Example economics dissertation topic 8:

A critical analysis of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the CEEC economies joining the European Monetary Union

To date of the Central and Eastern European countries that have joined the EU, only Slovenia (2007), Slovakia (2009) and Estonia (2011) have managed to complete the process of joining the EMU. It was envisaged, however, that the other countries would also join once they had met the necessary fiscal requirements. However, the process of economic implosion presently engulfing the southern Mediterranean states of the EU calls into question whether or not it is in the best economic interests of the other CEECs to follow the example of Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia. This is a contemporary economic dissertation that benefits not only from a range of established literature on the theories that underpin the case for joining the single currency but also a plethora of contemporary comment on the disadvantages that are grounded in developing political analysis. As a subject area that is inter-disciplinary it also offers vast potential for primary data to be collected via interview.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Furceri, D. and, Karras, G. (2006) ‘Are the new EU members ready for the Euro? A comparison of costs and benefits', Journal of Policy Modeling, Vol. 28(1), pp. 25-38.
  • Gern, K.J., Hammermann, F., Schweickert, R. and Vinhas de Souza, L. (2004) ‘European monetary integration after EU enlargement', Kiel Discussion Papers, Kieler Diskussionbeitrage.
  • Gradzewicz, M. and Makarski, K. (2009) ‘The macroeconomic effects of losing autonomous monetary policy after the Euro adoption in Poland', National Bank of Poland Working Paper 58, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.

Example economics dissertation topic 9:

As the debt is one that is owed to ourselves, thus the present level of government debt within the UK should not unduly concern us - A discussion.

Though the IMF warns that the level of government expenditure within the UK is unsustainable and threatens recovery, it is alternatively suggested by those on the economic left that government expenditure should be increased further to stimulate growth. Moreover, provided that expenditure is balanced in the long term by income, short-term excessive expenditure could be justified provided that eventually: G+iB≡T+ΔB+ΔH (where G is government expenditure, iB is interest payments on government debt (bonds, bills), T is tax revenue, ΔB is new debt issued (new bonds), and ΔH is new money (government borrowing from the central bank). Accordingly, this dissertation discusses these contrary approaches to debt management and budget constraints within the UK.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Carlin, W. and Soskice D. (2006) Macroeconomics: Imperfections, institutions and policies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hallet, A.H, Hutchison, M.M. and Jensen, S.E.H. (1999) Fiscal aspects of European monetary integration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mankiw, N.G. (2007) Macroeconomics (6th edn). New York: Worth Publishers.

Example economics dissertation topic 10:

An analysis of the purpose of bundling within business stratagems

Bundling involves selling multiple products together as a package. The theory of bundling suggests that adopting of the approach can increase revenue or profit. However, if bundling is to take place, there is a need for certain pre-conditions to exist. Within the desired market, arbitrage should be restricted, customers should exhibit a heterogeneous demand marginal costs (along with the costs of bundling) should be low. Having established the basic theoretical framework that underpins the concept of bundling this dissertation examines different types of bundling (mixed and pure) and evaluates not only the limitations that each approach may have for an organisation but also the manner in which market conditions can be manipulated so as to maximise the potential for successful bundling.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Klein, B. and Lerner, A.V. (2008) ‘The law and economics of bundled pricing: LePage's, PeaceHealth and the evolving antitrust standard', Antitrust Bulletin, Vol. 53(3), pp. 555-572.
  • Nalebuff, B. (2004) ‘Bundling as an entry barrier', Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 119(1), pp. 159-163.

Example economics dissertation topic 11:

‘Not economically viable' - Is this assertion as regards total Scottish independence defensible?

The election of a majority SNP Government in Scotland has not only led to calls (from both sides of the border) for a re-casting of the economic Barnett Formula but also to the promise of a referendum on full independence. Given the lack of either political or academic unity on whether or not such a move would be financially possible, let alone desirable, this thesis addresses the issues through both a review of existing literature upon the subject as well as through interviews with a number of key players in the political debate.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Dow, S. (2003) ‘The prospects facing an independent Scotland in the Eurozone alongside the rest of the UK', Scottish Affairs, Vol. 45, pp. 1-13.
  • Midwinter, A. (2012) ‘Fiscal autonomy in Scotland: An assessment and critique', Public Money & Management, Vol. 32(1), pp. 49-52.

Example economics dissertation topic 12:

Mining: Australia's financial saviour, or pillaging the future?

Australia weathered the financial crisis better than many other nations, and is the first developed nation to have recorded a surplus since the Global Financial Crisis. However, as once Australia rode on the sheep's back, today it rides on the miner's back. Can Australia continue an economic future based on mining, or will she need to find new avenues of economic sustainability? This study considers the actions taken by Australia in recent years and reviews whether proposed new taxes to hit the mining industry will slow recovery. Further, it suggests recommendations for Australia to avoid the boom and bust reality of reliance on the mining industry.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Bajada, C. and Trayler, R. (2010) ‘How Australia survived the financial crisis', in, Gup, B.E., The financial and economic crises: An international perspective. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 139-156.
  • Sykes, T. (2010) Six months of panic: How the global financial crisis hit Australia. Syndey: Allen and Unwin.

Example economics dissertation topic 13:

An analysis of the extent to which Wall Street was to blame for the Global Financial Crisis

The Global Financial Crisis began over four years ago and banks within the UK are still reluctant to lend money, according to Saunders (2010). This dissertation questions the extent to which the blame for the on-going crisis within UK banking can be seen to lie within the sub-prime mortgage crisis in America. In so doing, this dissertation addresses not only the sub-prime mortgager phenomenon but also the demand of investors for mortgage backed securities (MBSs) and the extent to which ‘greedy bankers' are used as a scapegoat for the crisis.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Trow, S. (2009) ‘Did the behaviour of central banks make the credit crisis inevitable?' Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Vol. 2(1), pp.16-28.
  • Whittle, A. and Mueller, F. (2011) ‘Bankers in the dock: Moral storytelling in action', Human Relations, Vol. 65(1), pp. 111-139.

Example economics dissertation topic 14:

China in Africa: Financial implications

China now has a diplomatic presence in every country in Africa, as well as a financial one. While the Western world has fretted over apologies for colonialism, China has seized an advantage and is developing a substantial economic presence that offers numerous benefits - military, economic, trade, and political. This study examines the spread of Chinese economic influence in Africa and considers the forecast for their continue presence over the next decade. It evaluates how this will affect Western nations as well as those in Africa who have welcomed Chinese investment. Drawing primarily on secondary research, the dissertation nevertheless undertakes primary research in the form on one-on-one interviews with a prominent Chinese economist.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Ademola, O.T., Bankole, A.S. and Adewuyi, A.O. (2009) ‘China-Africa trade relations: Insights from AERC scoping studies', European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 21, pp. 485-505.
  • Alden, C. (2011) ‘China in Africa: From engagement to partnership', in, Geeraerts, G. and Gross, E. (eds), Perspectives for a European security strategy towards Asia. Brussels: Institute for European Studies, pp. 149-168.
  • Christiansen, B.V. (2010) ‘China in Africa: A macroeconomic perspective', Working Paper No. 230. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development.

Example economics dissertation topic 15:

Germany and EU debt: The need for the mutualisation of debt

Within the recent G8 summit there were renewed calls for a mutualisation of toxic debt within the EU and for Germany to act as an increased guarantor for member debts. Moreover, there is within the UK, a growing political hostility to financially ‘bail out' an economic club of which the nation is not a part. As the strongest economy within the Eurozone and, as the country that has fought hardest for the single currency, this dissertation analyses the case for Germany to be ‘the lender of last resort' and questions the extent to which the single currency can survive without such a guarantor. An up to the minute dissertation title in an ever developing arena of economic study this is a dissertation that has the potential to develop as a subject matter whilst it is being written and is thus a most interesting proposal.

Suggested initial topic reading

  • Begg, I. (2012) ‘The EU's response to the global financial crisis and sovereign debt crisis: Economic governance under stress?' Asia Europe Journal, Vol. 9(2-4), pp. 107-124.
  • Tilford, S. and Whyte, P. (2011) Why stricter rules threaten the Eurozone. London: Centre for European Reform.

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