Possible Topics to Write a Senior Economic Thesis On

Students can research economics thesis topics through university archives.
... Phil Ashley/Lifesize/Getty Images

If you are preparing to write your senior college economics thesis, relax; thousands of students write them every year. Endless possibilities exist for you to formulate an original thesis and draft a new one based on previous arguments. You also have your academic adviser to help you navigate the dissertation waters and guide you with research. Turn to your school's library archives to read previous student's economics theses and start formulating your ideas.

1 ROI on an Education

The economic downturn of the late 2000s, combined with yearly increases in student tuition costs and debt, leave a lot of students wondering if a college degree is a good return on investment (ROI). Some economists have studied ROIs on specific degree types, but "The Huffington Post" states that "ROI is more important to students ... when it comes to deciding what college to attend for an undergraduate degree." A good thesis could examine the degrees rated as having the lowest ROIs, like philosophy or liberal arts, versus the degrees ranked with the highest ROIs, like computer sciences or business management. Evaluate new ROI statistics based on the universities that awarded the degrees and then examine their profitability.

2 Child Labor

The U.S. has fought child labor on a global scale, but companies like cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International are reported to use child labor in their harvesting of tobacco. Other companies use child labor to harvest cotton, sugar, embellished textiles and garments to manufacture their product lines. A good thesis could examine the overall profitability of companies that are known to use child labor abroad and compare them with companies that ceased using child labor. This topic should also compare the figures and economic climate to corporations like Hershey that have been found to use child labor and are being petitioned and pressured to cease. The data may also reveal how relevant child labor is to consumer spending decisions.

3 Central Bank Borrowing and Risk

A thesis could use a modern portfolio theory (MPT) to reveal signs of increased investment risks in private banks and how those investment risks effect private markets, especially in light of potential penalty risks that private investors sometimes charge. A thesis could also examine portfolio returns for various levels of risk by examining "beta" -- something that views risk solely from the perspective of market prices. To really give the thesis more depth, a student could factor in what Warren Buffett says on this matter: that some investors shun beta because it "implies that a stock that has fallen sharply in value is more risky than it was before it fell."

4 Fuel Economy

Your thesis could examine the economic climate of the fuel economy and how the increase in electric and hybrid cars effects that market. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that in 2012 the U.S. imported roughly 40% of the gas it consumed and that transportation was responsible for about three fourths of total consumption. Electric car costs are falling significantly, according to an article in "Forbes." By examining the overall number of non-eco-friendly and eco-friendly vehicle sales and their projected sales numbers, an economics thesis can explore what impact, if any, this will have on the local and global fuel economy.

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.