Essay Competition

The Marshall Society

 “The ideas of economists… both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood… Indeed the world is ruled by little else” 

    J. M. Keynes (General Theory, 1936)

2022 Marshall Society Essay Competition

The Competition

The Marshall Society, the economics society of the University of Cambridge, is excited to launch its 2022 essay competition. This is an opportunity for all pre-university students who have not begun their university studies to demonstrate their ability to write a convincing and well-structured essay. Emphasis should be placed on sound explanation of economic theory and well-reasoned, original arguments, drawing on relevant real-world evidence. 

Participants are to submit an essay response to one of the following questions:

    1. Economies are facing soaring inflation rates despite tepid growth, which commentators have attributed to various causes. Discuss what you think the appropriate policies are to address fears of ‘stagflation’.
    2. ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already altered the global economy.’ Discuss.
    3. Today’s globalised economy is vulnerable to shocks from multifarious sources. From whence will the next major recession come?
    4. What are the likely economic effects of blockchain technology in the next decade?
    5. ‘Public goods can be provided by the private sector.’ Discuss.
    6. Evaluate an economic policy recently implemented by a country that of your choice and discuss its short- and long-run consequences.

Writing the essay

Your essay should be written in English with good grammar and structure. Try to structure your essay in an orderly way; you should build up your argument gradually, instead of asserting it in your first paragraph. The best essays will collect evidence over the course of the essay so that, when it comes to your conclusion, the outcome of your argument will seem inevitable.

Your essay should be properly referenced, citing all sources along the way. It is recommended to use the APA (Author, Year) style of citation in the text. (For example, “The persistence of high unemployment rates is mainly associated with rigidities in the labour markets (Bertola and Rogerson, 1997).”)

Please also provide a bibliography, where you list all your sources at the end of the essay. Don’t worry too much about sticking to one citation format for this; spend your time writing your essay instead (although look to the APA format as a guide for this). Just make sure all the information needed to verify your sources is in here.

Before submitting your essay, do a word count. Words in your bibliography and in any data tables don’t count towards the limit, but everything else does, including footnotes. The limit is 1000 words (we will check!). We put a word limit so you can focus on what the really important aspects of the question are. Because of the limit, you shouldn’t worry about providing a complete overview of the topic; rather, focus on getting a really good insight into the key aspects, with facts to back it up.

Finally, some notes on style:

  • Include page numbers on every page
  • On the first page, include the question, question number, your name and your school.


Use the submission form below to submit your essay. Do not email it to us: we will not read it if you do!

The deadline for submissions is 19 August 2022, 11:59pm BST. Late submissions will not be considered.

Before submitting, please convert your file to a PDF and change the file name to “[your name] Q[question number].pdf”. (For example, “Charlie Murphy Q4.pdf”). Make sure this is no larger than 10 MB in size.


Competition results will be published on the Marshall Society website by mid-September. Prizes are as follows:
First place: £50
Finalists: £25
Commendation: No monetary prize, awarded to excellent submissions shortlisted for finalist.

Selected winning essays will be featured in the Marshall Society’s annual publication, The Dismal Scientist.

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

    1. Your submitted essay must be your work alone.
    2. You cannot make any revisions to your essay once it has been submitted.
    3. Only students who have not started an undergraduate degree can enter. 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.

We look forward to reading your submissions!

Jonathan and Anna
Magazine Editors