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Herb Scarf Summer Research Opportunities

SSRO 2023 Cohort
SSRO 2023 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.

Note: Projects for Summer 2024 will be posted in mid-February, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from Monday, February 19 until Friday, March 1 at 4:30pm. We anticipate completing hiring decisions on or around March 8 (the beginning of Spring Break). 

Herb Scarf Summer Research Opportunities in Economics is a program designed to give Yale students a chance to immerse themselves in ongoing research with faculty in the Department of Economics and other affiliated departments and professional schools. Working closely with a faculty mentor, 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, Tra Nguyen and Sabrina Peng, who are both PhD students in economics. This programming includes faculty and graduate student talks, programming workshops, and social events that teach research skills 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 project during the 8-week period from Monday, June 3 to Friday, July 26 (or other dates mutually agreed upon with the student and faculty mentor). Because the goals of the program include developing a cohort of peer colleagues and promoting research mentorship between students and professors, if you are offered and choose to accept a Scarf RA position, you will be required to be in New Haven during the 6-week period from Monday, June 3 to Friday, July 12 to participate in the in-person events organized by the Program Directors and to have in-person research meetings with your faculty mentor.

After completing their work hours, students will be required to submit a short final report (2 pages) summarizing their research activities and providing feedback on the program. Participants will be paid $4,000, dispersed in two equal installments (one at the beginning of the program; one after the final report is submitted).


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 2024) 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.

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

Research Projects