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Mercatus Policy Essays

Mercatus Policy Essays

Mercatus MA Fellows must complete a significant solo-authored research project, known as the Mercatus Policy Essay (MPE), in their second year of the program. MPEs should offer a novel application of well-defined economic theoretical framework to an under-explored topic in policy. Essays should be 30 or more pages in length, should explain the theoretical frame being employed, should present original findings and/or analysis, and should conclude with policy recommendations. Fellows should model their MPEs after Mercatus Research Papers.

During the fall semester of their second year, fellows must choose their research topic and a policy essay advisor. The essay advisor must be a Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow. The essay advisor is primarily responsible for directing and guiding the fellow’s research and writing activities.

In addition to the policy essay advisor, the MPE committee also consists of two other scholars or program staff either working full-time for or affiliated with the Mercatus Center. At least one member of the committee must hold a PhD in economics. Any exceptions must have the approval of the Director of Graduate Student Programs. Fellows are responsible for keeping all committee members informed of the scope, plan, and progress of the research and MPE.

Fellows must prepare a formal essay proposal and have all members of their committee sign on to proposal, by December 31st. Proposals should be roughly 10 pages and should describe the rationale for the project, the theoretical lens being employed, and the initial hypothesis, and provide a tentative outline of the essay. The members of the committee should indicate their approval on the essay proposal signature sheet. The proposal and signed proposal signature sheet must be submitted Director of Graduate Student Programs by December 31st.

Fellows then have the spring semester and the summer following their second year to complete their MPE. Once all committee members have reviewed the MPE and approve its completion, they should indicate their approval on the MPE approval signature sheet. The final MPE and signed MPE signature then must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Student Programs. Once approved by the Director of Graduate Student Programs, MPEs will be copy-edited and published on the Graduate Student Programs website.

General Timeline for Submitting Materials to the Director of Graduate Student Programs

  • October 20th: Submit MPE topic and tentative list of committee members to Director of Graduate Student Programs
  • December 31st: Submit MPE proposal and signed proposal signature sheet to Director of Graduate Student Programs
  • August 31st or earlier: Submit final MPE and signed MPE approval signature sheet to Director of Graduate Student Programs

Past MA Theses and Mercatus Policy Essays

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