The Marshall Society Essay Competition 2017

The Marshall Society, the Economics society of the University of Cambridge, is pleased to announce the opening of its annual essay competition. This is an opportunity for all students currently working towards A-levels, the IB or equivalent qualifications to demonstrate their ability to write a convincing and well-structured essay, making use of both economic theory and real world evidence where appropriate. Entrants are advised to make their essays as concise as the topic allows; the guideline is 1500 words. As always we encourage students to come up with their own titles, but they should equally feel free to use any of the suggested titles listed below should they wish to do so:

1. To what extent is micro finance a revolutionary engine for growth in developing countries?

2. ‘Recent years have shown us that conventional monetary policy just isn’t enough.’ Comment

3. Does China provide a feasible framework for other emerging economies to follow?

4. ‘The twin deficits run by the UK suggest inherent structural failure within our economy.’ To what extent do you agree?

5. Is it possible to predict the next recession, if so how and what can we do about it?

6. ‘Economics is the study of the individual abstracted from individuality.’ Discuss

7. Does the recent political climate indicate an imminent retreat from the economic liberalisation of recent decades?

8. ‘The rise of businesses like Uber and AirBnB necessitate a greater role for trust within our economy.’ Comment

Entries can be submitted via email attachment to (please ensure that it is attached in either Microsoft Word or PDF format). The email should contain your full name, school, date of birth and a declaration of any assistance you received from teachers or tutors.

The deadline for essay submissions is 11:59pm 31st July 2017

The essays will be judged individually and the shortlist, runners up and winner will be announced by the end of summer. The author of the winning essay will also receive £100; the two runners up will receive £50 each. In addition to this, a selection of the best essays will be published in the 2017-2018 edition of the Marshall Society’s magazine, the Dismal Scientist. If you have any queries regarding the competition please contact the magazine editor at

Please also observe that by entering you agree to the terms and conditions listed below:

1. Your submitted essay must be your work alone and any assistance given to you whilst writing your essay must be declared in your email.

2. You cannot make any revisions to your essay once it has been submitted.

3. Only students studying in sixth form or below (graduating in 2017 or later) or any international equivalent are eligible. Please note that you do not have to be studying in the UK to enter.

4. Any personal data relating to entrants will be used solely for the purpose of this competition and will not be disclosed to any third parties for any purpose without prior consent.

5. The essay that is entered may not be entered into any other competition.

6. The winner, runners up and those with shortlisted essays will be contacted via the email used to submit the essay. Unfortunately, any other feedback will not be possible to any of the entrants.

7. The Marshall Society reserves the final right, where necessary, to make amendments to the above terms and conditions and to select the winners of the competition.

The Marshall Society Essay Competition 2016

After much deliberation, the Society is pleased to announce the results of the 2016 essay competition. All entries were of an exceptionally high quality, and as such choosing a shortlist of 15 essays was a hard task. Congratulations to the author of the winning entry, Jacob Thorpe, whose evaluation of the policy of Quantitative Easing was outstanding, as well as to the two runners up, Fenella Atkinson and Sebastian Shemirani, who delivered excellent analysis regarding the refugee crisis and wage gap respectively. Below are the details of these entries and the full shortlist, which contains 13 further essays which were highly commended.


Jacob Thorpe Wrekin College Quantitative Easing does not work. Comment.


Fenella Atkinson Guildford High School How can Economics solve the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation?
Sebastian Shemirani Eton College 77 Cents: Fixing the Wage Gap


Anubhav Chowdhury The High School of Glasgow Economists will always be in demand. Comment.
Daniel Davidson Caterham School A lack of democracy is conducive to economic growth and prosperity. Discuss in relation to past and present real word examples.
James Greensitt-Black Manchester Grammar School Is there an economic case for state support of the UK steel industry? If so, how best should this support be provided?
Jung-hoon Seo Tiffin School Autocracy and its role within inducing economic growth and prosperity in South Korea
Keir North Manchester Grammar School Is there an economic case for state support of the UK steel industry? If so, how best should this support be provided?
Keshav Raghavan Brunswick School, CT, USA It’s A Small World, After All: The future of international trade theory
Matthew Lennard Colchester Royal Grammar School A lack of democracy is more conducive to economic growth and prosperity. Discuss in relation to past and present examples.
Robert Brunton The Perse School Is it justifiable for state bodies to publish false economic data if it leads to more sustained economic growth in reality?
See Chung Yi Raffles Institution, Singapore Crime has a net beneficial effect on the economy. Discuss.
Seung Joo Kim Eton College Considering the evidence of the past few years, has the theory of secular stagnation been strengthened or weakened?
Sun-Hong Huh Eton College Urban Wars: Crime, Property and People
Yi Song Wilson’s School In a clash of political ideals, is autocracy superior to democracy for stimulating economic growth?