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Herb Scarf Summer Research Opportunities

SSRO 2016 Cohort
SSRO 2016 Cohort

The program is supported by the Cowles Foundation, the James Tobin Fund for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (which was created by friends and former students to honor Tobin’s lifelong devotion to undergraduate education), Paul Joskow '72 PhD, and the Yale School of Management.

Herb Scarf Summer Research Opportunities in Economics is a program designed to give Yale students a chance to immerse themselves in ongoing research with their professors in the Department of Economics and other affiliated departments and professional schools. Working closely with a professor, students will get a better idea of what “doing research” actually means, and why a professor views it as exciting and worthwhile. Students will also have an opportunity to learn, through practical experience, some of the skills associated with the process of doing research -- data collection, coding, writing, and other tasks involved in a research project. The program also includes group events organized by the Program Directors, Christine Qiu and Matthew Schwartzman, who are both PhD students in economics. This programming includes faculty talks, programming workshops, and social events that teach research methods and help build a community of RAs who can support each other.

Participating students (Scarf RAs) will be required to work 160 hours on their faculty mentor’s research project from May 30 to July 21 (or other dates mutually agreed upon with the student’s faculty mentor) and participate in the supplemental research and social activities organized by the Program Directors. At the conclusion of the program, students will be required to submit a short final report (approximately two pages) summarizing their research activities and providing feedback on the program. Participants will be paid a stipend of $3,300, dispersed in two equal installments (one at the beginning of the program; one after the final report is submitted). Because the goals of the program include developing a cohort of peer colleagues and promoting research mentorship between students and professors, if you are selected for a project, you will be expected to be in New Haven during the work period.


Any undergraduate Yale student who has not previously participated in the program may apply, but students who have completed more of the required coursework in economics (particularly the core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics) are more likely to possess the quantitative skills that professors find useful in conducting research. Scarf RA positions are not available to seniors (Class of 2023) or students participating in the Yale Visiting International Students Program (Y-VISP).

Projects and Applications

The project descriptions (see below) explain both the goals of the professor’s research and the activities that undergraduates would be engaged in as part of that research. For some projects, the professor will be seeking a small team, typically of 2 or 3 research assistants.

If you are interested in participating in a project you should submit an online application form, including a curriculum vita (or resume) and a brief cover letter explaining why you are interested in the project. A copy of your application and CV will be sent upon submission to the professor leading the project. You may apply to at most four projects (but accept and participate in only one).  

Students will be contacted directly by interested faculty on a rolling basis until the position has been filled. The awards will be posted on this site once faculty have made their decisions.

Note: Projects for Summer 2023 will be posted in mid-February, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from Monday, February 20 until Friday, March 3 at 4:30pm. We anticipate completing hiring decisions on or around March 10 (the beginning of Spring Break). 

If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact Rebecca Toseland at

Research Projects