30 Economics Research Ideas for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng


30 Economics Research Ideas for High School Students

Exploring economics research ideas can be a thrilling adventure for high school students. These topics not only spark interest but also deepen understanding of how economies work. It’s also a great way to get a head start on college-level concepts.

Let’s explore different economic aspects, from individual behaviors to global market trends. We’ll help you choose exciting topics, ask the right questions, and connect theories with the real world. Ready to dive into economics? Let’s find research ideas that will expand your knowledge and analytical abilities.

Economic Research Area #1: Technology and Labor Markets

The impact of technology on labor markets is crucial for high school students exploring economics research ideas. Understanding how automation and artificial intelligence reshape jobs prepares students for future challenges.

This knowledge is vital for those planning to major in economics or related fields, offering a foundation to navigate and influence the evolving job market.

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Here are specific topics you can explore:

1. Analyze the effects of automation on employment rates in the retail sector of a local community over the past decade.

This topic is relevant because it shows how technological advancements can shift job availability. Students can compare historical employment data before and after automation’s introduction.

2. Investigate the relationship between the adoption of artificial intelligence technologies and changes in average wages among manufacturing workers in a specific industry.

This research can reveal how AI influences wage patterns. By analyzing wage data pre and post AI adoption, students can uncover the economic impact of technology.

3. Conduct a survey to assess how technological advancements have influenced job preferences among high school students in terms of pursuing careers in traditional versus emerging industries.

This topic helps understand the changing career aspirations due to tech advancements. Surveys can provide insights into students’ perceptions and career plans.

4. Examine the impact of gig economy platforms (e.g., Uber, TaskRabbit) on labor market dynamics and income inequality among young workers in a particular city.

Exploring this area can uncover how gig work affects job stability and income distribution. Analyzing earnings and employment patterns offers a glimpse into the gig economy’s role.

5. Compare the job displacement rates and reemployment prospects of workers in different age groups following the introduction of automated systems in a specific industry.

This research is important to understand how automation impacts workers across age groups differently. By focusing on displacement and reemployment, students can propose solutions to mitigate negative effects.

Economic Research Area #2: Environmental Economics

Environmental economics offers a rich field of research for high school students interested in economics ideas. It blends economic theory with environmental policies to assess their impacts on communities and industries.

For students eyeing a major in environmental science or economics, diving into these topics provides a practical understanding of balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

6. Evaluate the economic benefits and costs of implementing renewable energy initiatives (e.g., solar panel installations) in a local community over a five-year period.

This analysis highlights the financial implications of sustainable energy solutions. Students can assess how these initiatives affect local economies and energy costs.

7. Analyze the economic effects of implementing a carbon tax on businesses in a specific industry and its implications for competitiveness and emissions reduction.

This research can uncover the trade-offs between environmental policies and business performance. By examining financial data, students explore the policy’s effectiveness in reducing carbon emissions.

8. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of conservation efforts (e.g., reforestation projects) on biodiversity and local tourism revenues in a natural reserve.

This topic investigates the economic value of preserving natural habitats. Students can analyze how conservation impacts tourism and the local economy.

9. Investigate the economic impact of extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes, droughts) on agricultural production and property values in a particular region.

Understanding these effects is crucial for developing strategies to mitigate economic losses. This research involves analyzing agricultural yields and real estate prices.

10. Assess the economic feasibility of transitioning to sustainable farming practices (e.g., organic farming, agroforestry) for small-scale farmers in a rural community.

This study examines the viability of eco-friendly agriculture. By evaluating costs and benefits, students can propose ways to support sustainable farming.


Economic Research Area #3: Behavioral Economics

Behavioral economics is a fascinating area for high school students keen on economics research ideas. It examines how psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural, and social factors affect economic decisions.

Delving into this field equips students interested in psychology or economics with insights into human behavior, enhancing their ability to predict and influence decision-making processes.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

11. Examine how framing effects influence consumer choices between branded and generic products among high school students at a local supermarket.

This research sheds light on marketing’s power over consumer decisions. Students can conduct surveys or experiments to see how product presentation changes buying habits.

12. Investigate the impact of default options on high school students’ savings behavior in a school-sponsored retirement savings program.

Understanding default effects can reveal much about passive versus active decision-making. By analyzing savings rates before and after program changes, students can assess the influence of defaults.

13. Conduct a field experiment to study the effect of social norms and peer pressure on high school students’ spending habits.

This topic explores the social aspects of economic decisions. Through experiments, students can observe how peer behavior affects individual spending choices.

14. Analyze how present bias affects high school students’ decisions to invest in long-term education versus immediate employment opportunities.

This research is important for understanding short-sightedness in decision-making. By surveying students’ preferences and plans, insights into the impact of present bias on future planning can be gained.

15. Investigate the role of financial literacy education in mitigating irrational investment decisions among high school students.

This study assesses the effectiveness of financial education in improving decision-making. By comparing the investment choices of students with and without financial literacy training, the benefits of education can be evaluated.

Economic Research Area #4: Global Trade and Tariffs

Global trade and tariffs are critical for high school students interested in economics research ideas. This topic allows students to understand the interconnectedness of global markets and the impact of policy decisions on economies.

For those considering a major in international business or economics, exploring these areas can provide a practical grasp of trade dynamics and policy effects on businesses and consumers.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

16. Analyze the economic consequences of recent trade tariffs on imported goods (e.g., steel, aluminum) on local manufacturing businesses in a particular city.

This research helps understand tariffs’ impact on production costs and pricing. Students can look into local businesses’ financial reports before and after tariffs were imposed to assess their effects.

17. Investigate the impact of trade agreements (e.g., USMCA, CPTPP) on the export competitiveness of agricultural products from a local farming community.

By examining these agreements, students can evaluate how international policies influence local economies. Analyzing trade data and interviewing local farmers can provide insights into these effects.

18. Conduct a survey to assess consumer preferences for domestically produced goods versus imported alternatives following changes in trade policies.

This topic explores nationalism’s role in consumer behavior. Surveys can help gauge shifts in preferences due to policy changes and their economic implications.

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19. Analyze the effects of trade disputes (e.g., U.S.-China trade tensions) on the profitability and employment levels of multinational corporations headquartered in a particular country.

This research can uncover how geopolitical tensions affect global businesses. Students can study financial statements and employment data of affected corporations to understand these disputes’ impacts.

20. Investigate the economic implications of trade liberalization on the textile industry in a specific developing country.

This study assesses how reducing trade barriers impacts developing economies. By focusing on a specific industry, students can analyze changes in production, employment, and exports resulting from liberalized trade policies.

Economic Research Area #5: Healthcare Economics

Healthcare economics is a vital field for high school students looking for impactful economics research ideas. It examines the efficiency, effectiveness, value, and behavior in the production and consumption of healthcare and health-related services.

Students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, public policy, or economics can gain valuable insights by exploring how economic principles apply to healthcare systems, influencing policy decisions and individual health outcomes.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

21. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of preventive healthcare interventions (e.g., vaccination programs, smoking cessation campaigns) in reducing healthcare expenditures in a local healthcare system.

This topic assesses the financial benefits of preventive measures. By analyzing healthcare cost data before and after interventions, students can determine their economic impact.

22. Analyze the impact of health insurance coverage on healthcare utilization patterns among high school students in a specific school district.

Understanding insurance’s role in healthcare access offers insights into policy effectiveness. Students can survey peers or analyze health service usage data to explore this relationship.

23. Investigate the economic barriers to accessing mental health services among adolescents in a particular community or region.

This research identifies financial obstacles to mental health care. By conducting interviews or surveys, students can highlight affordability and availability issues.

24. Assess the cost-benefit of implementing telemedicine services for a rural community to improve healthcare access.

This study explores telemedicine’s potential to bridge healthcare gaps. By comparing healthcare usage and costs before and after telemedicine implementation, students can evaluate its effectiveness.

25. Analyze the effects of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act on healthcare outcomes and hospital finances in a specific state.

Examining Medicaid expansion allows students to see policy impacts on a large scale. They can review public health data and hospital financial statements to understand the consequences of this policy change.

Economic Research Area #6: Income Inequality and Poverty

Income inequality and poverty are crucial topics for high school students interested in exploring economics research ideas. These issues affect millions worldwide, influencing overall economic stability and individual well-being.

Students aiming for careers in social sciences, public policy, or economics will find researching this area enriches their understanding of socioeconomic dynamics and potential interventions to mitigate inequality.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

26. Investigate the relationship between educational attainment and intergenerational income mobility among families in a local community.

This study can reveal how education impacts economic opportunities across generations. By analyzing local data, students can explore paths to breaking the cycle of poverty.

27. Analyze the impact of affordable housing policies on homelessness rates and income inequality in a specific city or region.

Understanding these policies’ effects can show how housing influences economic disparities. Students can compare homelessness and income data before and after policy implementations.

28. Assess the economic benefits of providing subsidized childcare services for low-income families in a particular neighborhood.

This research examines childcare’s role in enabling employment and reducing poverty. By evaluating employment rates and economic outcomes of families receiving subsidies, students can gauge the program’s effectiveness.

29. Investigate the role of access to financial services (e.g., microloans, financial education programs) in reducing poverty levels among women in a developing country.

This topic focuses on financial inclusion as a tool for economic empowerment. Through case studies or data analysis, students can assess how these services contribute to women’s economic independence.

30. Analyze the effectiveness of targeted cash transfer programs (e.g., Earned Income Tax Credit) in alleviating poverty among single-parent households in a specific area.

This study allows students to evaluate direct financial interventions’ impact on poverty reduction. By reviewing program data and household economic conditions, the effectiveness of cash transfers can be assessed.

What makes a good high school economics research topic?

A good economics research topic for high school students strikes a balance between being challenging and manageable. It should pique your interest while offering scope for inquiry and analysis. Topics that address current economic issues or explore the economic dimensions of societal trends are particularly valuable, as they allow you to engage with relevant and impactful questions.

Choosing a topic that connects to your personal interests or future academic goals can also be incredibly rewarding. Such a topic not only keeps you motivated throughout the research process but also provides a deeper understanding of the subject matter, laying a solid foundation for future studies in economics or related fields.

What research methods can I use for my high school economics research?

Quantitative methods, including surveys and statistical analysis, are highly suitable for high school economics research projects. These methods allow you to collect numerical data on your chosen topic, facilitating objective analysis and the ability to draw evidence-based conclusions. Learning to use statistical software or online tools can enhance your ability to handle and interpret data effectively.

However, qualitative methods should not be overlooked. Interviews, case studies, and content analysis can provide deep insights into economic behaviors and attitudes. These methods enable you to explore the nuances of economic phenomena, enriching your research with perspectives that numbers alone cannot provide.

What resources are available to high school students for economics research?

High school students have access to a variety of resources for economics research. Academic databases such as JSTOR or Google Scholar offer a wealth of scholarly articles, while government websites provide reliable statistics and reports. These sources can be invaluable for gathering accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of economic topics, from global trade patterns to local economic policies.

Beyond digital resources, your school’s library and teachers are also key assets. Libraries often subscribe to economic journals and have books that are not available online. Teachers can guide you on research methodologies, source credibility, and topic refinement, ensuring your project is both rigorous and informative. Utilizing these resources effectively can elevate the quality of your economics research, making it a meaningful academic endeavor.

How do high school economics research prepare students for college?

High school economics projects are an excellent way for students to develop skills essential for college-level research. Through these projects, you learn how to formulate research questions, conduct systematic analysis, and present findings coherently. These skills are not only crucial for academic success in college but also valuable in any career that involves problem-solving and critical thinking.

Moreover, by engaging in economics research, you gain an understanding of economic concepts and their real-world applications. This experience provides a solid foundation for further studies in economics, finance, or business, making the transition to college coursework smoother and more manageable.

What are the common mistakes in conducting economics research and how can I avoid them?

One common mistake in conducting economics research is choosing a topic that is too broad or too narrow. A topic that is too broad can be overwhelming and difficult to manage within the constraints of a high school project, while a topic that is too narrow might not have enough available information. To avoid this, refine your topic by focusing on specific aspects of a broader issue, ensuring that there is enough research material available to support your investigation.

Another frequent error is failing to properly cite sources, which can lead to accusations of plagiarism. To avoid this, make sure to keep track of all the resources you consult during your research and to follow the appropriate citation guidelines for your project. This not only upholds academic integrity but also strengthens the credibility of your research.


Engaging in economics research as a high school student lays the groundwork for academic and professional success. It sharpens your analytical skills, deepens your understanding of economic principles, and prepares you for the rigors of college-level study.

Remember, the journey through economics research is not just about the findings you present. It’s about fostering a curious mind and a critical eye towards the economic issues that shape our world. Let this exploration be the start of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and impact.

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