High school is not just about memorizing formulas and historical dates: it’s a time to explore your passions and carve a path toward your future. Here, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of economics and present you with 10 senior project ideas that will broaden your understanding of economics and ignite your passion for economic exploration. Additionally, these ten topics will be relevant to topics that policymakers debate on today. 

Why Study Economics in High School?

Before we jump into the exciting project ideas, let’s take a moment to understand why high schoolers should consider diving into the realm of economics:

  1. Real-World Relevance: Economics is not just a subject, it’s a lens through which we can analyze and understand the world around us. Studying economics allows you to make sense of real-world issues, from global financial crises to everyday consumer choices.

  2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Economics encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It challenges you to analyze situations, weigh pros and cons, and develop innovative solutions. These skills are invaluable in any field you choose to pursue. 

  3. Preparation for the Future: Whether you dream of becoming an entrepreneur, a policymaker, or a financial analyst, a solid foundation in applied economics provides you with insights into the forces that shape society and economic growth. It’s an essential tool for navigating the complexities of the modern world. 

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With that, let’s dive into the 10 economics project ideas. 

Economics Project Ideas for High Schoolers

1. The Impact of Social Media on Consumer Behavior

In an age where social media runs everything around us, analyzing social media’s impact on consumer behavior is a pressing topic. Explore how platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok shape purchasing decisions and the effectiveness of product endorsements, sponsored content, and user reviews in driving consumer behavior. Consider the implications for businesses and marketers in an increasingly digital landscape. 

2. Minimum Wage and Employment Rates

Investigate the complex relationship between minimum wage policies and employment rates. Examine historical data, regional variations, and the impact on various industries. Consider the perspectives of both proponents and critics of minimum wage increases, and explore potential long-term effects on job markets. 

3. Cryptocurrency: The Future of Money?

There is no doubt cryptocurrency’s popularity has skyrocketed in just the last few years, but how viable of an investment option is it? And can it replace fiat currencies? Examine the economic implications of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum on traditional banking systems, and analyze government regulations, investor sentiment, and the potential for disruption.

4. Environmental Economics: The Cost of Pollution

The problem of environmental pollution and renewable energy sources are at the forefront of many policy decisions today. You could approach this problem in one of two ways. First, explore the economic fallout of environmental pollution. Delve into case studies of industries contributing to pollution and assess the financial toll on healthcare systems, government budgets, and affected communities. Second, determine the economic viability of the proposed solutions via cost-benefit analysis. Explore companies like Tesla and determine whether they truly are a net positive to society. 

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5. The Economics of Happiness

Investigate the intriguing connection between economic indicators and individual happiness levels. Analyze data sets to determine if there is a correlation between increased income, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. With mental health being a priority in today’s society, it’s important to understand factors that contribute to positive and negative mental health, and economic research can help understand the outward impacts of this idea. 

6. Global Trade and Its Winners and Losers

Globalization has led countries to be more interconnected now than ever before in history. Take a deep dive into the global trade landscape, and investigate the winners and losers among countries and industries involved in international trade agreements. Understand the impact of tariffs, trade barriers, income distribution, and geopolitical factors on economic prosperity and inequality. 

7. The Economics of Education

You’ve probably heard it a lot online: “Don’t go to college! It’s a waste of money! You can do so much without a college degree!” Well, now you can put that theory to the test. Explore the economic benefits of education on individual and societal levels. Analyze data to understand the correlation between educational attainment and income, employment rates, financial aid, and overall economic development. Consider the long-term economic impact of investing in education. 

8. The Gig Economy

Examine the transformative impact of the gig economy on traditional employment structures. Determine the economic implications for workers, industries, and the broader economy, and investigate the challenges and opportunities associated with the rise of freelance and gig work.

9. Behavioral Economics in Everyday Life

One of the most new and popular fields within economics is behavioral economics, an intersection between psychology and economics. Conduct experiments to understand how psychological factors influence budgeting, spending, and other economic decision-making. Explore concepts such as loss aversion, decision framing, and the impact of social norms on consumer choices. 

10. The Economic Impact of a Pandemic

Having recently come out of COVID, it makes sense to investigate the multifaceted economic consequences of pandemics in the past. Examine the effects on industries, government policies, and the global economy. Analyze responses such as fiscal stimulus measures and changes in consumer behavior, and consider the lessons learned for future economic resilience. You could even compare and contrast policy responses from past pandemics to COVID-19 to understand how economic policy tools have developed over decades. 

If you’re looking to expand your economics knowledge beyond a research project, check out our related guides to economics summer programs for high school students, and learn more about what you can do with an economics degree.

Polygence Scholars Are Also Passionate About

Economics and Business Projects By Polygence Scholars

Understanding China's South China Sea Assertion Through Geopolitical, Economic, and Strategic Lenses

Polygence alum Sam explores the ever-changing geopolitics of the South China Sea. His paper tackles the diplomatic landscape of the South China Sea and specifically looks at why China is aggressively asserting its control over the region. He examines the situation through economic, geopolitical, and strategic lenses. 

The impact of the Sri Lanka Civil War on Economic Outcomes

Polygence alum Sanjith dives into the academic work that has been done around the deadly civil war between the infamous rebel group LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka, primarily in response to the minority Tamil people's demand for their own state. He attempts to clarify the academic work relating to the direct and indirect consequences of the conflict on important economic characteristics, including as GDP growth, tourism, investment, and poverty levels, by synthesizing historical data, economic indicators, and post-war trends.

Propositions on the effects of Emotions on the Stock Market based on Appraisal theory, Approach and Avoidance Motivations

Polygence alum Thrista explores the effects that emotions have an effect on investment behavior. Emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger have been frequently studied for their effects on investor behavior and how they affect the stock market, but the effects of other relevant emotions such as sadness, surprise, nostalgia, and excitement have not been as extensively studied. Her paper summarizes previous research on emotions and investment behavior and develops a generalizable model incorporating approach and avoidance motivation and appraisal theory. 

The Primary Market of Concert Ticketing: Evaluating Live Nation Entertainment's Involvement with Recent Inefficiencies

Polygence alum Parker explores the frustrations associated with record-high prices of concert tickets of 2023 on the primary market that many attribute to the Live Nation Entertainment merger. Since this merger, LNE has maintained a substantial market share that critics argue is the source of recent inefficiencies. However, there are many components contributing to the current conditions of the concert ticketing industry's primary market. They examine the 2010 merger's ramifications and the factors contributing to the aftereffects of the merger, determining that pent-up demand, a pandemic-weakened supply chain, and rising concert production costs most accurately explain recent events, not LNE's market power. 

Dive into your economic exploration with one of these captivating project ideas. As you can see from the wide array of projects, the world of economics is vast and ever-changing, and these projects serve as an exciting gateway to understanding its intricacies. As you delve into the dynamic landscape of economic phenomena, remember that each question you pose is a stride toward unraveling the forces that shape our world!