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I have to provide a theme for students for a project like a bachelor's thesis. Students know all the basic math like calculus, linear algebra, ODE etc, but nothing fancy like PDE and stochastic calculus. Plus they supposed to have some very basic courses in economy. What could the possible themes be?

From one hand it should be something really of a serious project, so a student can make by himself one thing then another and so on, and from the other hand it probably should not require lots of purely economic concepts (preferably only basic ones).

Could it be (given the absence of deep economical training) something in mathematical modelling or analysis of some economical processes? I want to catch the gist of it, so the more examples the better. Please, if possible, not only a theme's name but a few words what a student is expected to do. Sorry if it's too broad a description, but I have a very vague idea that a good project of this sort would constitute.

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This question is quite broad, but I'll give 3 ideas I would have liked to do, and is of appropriate difficulty, while in undergrad.

  1. Review a seminal paper - Wikipedia has a list of important publications in economics. They could write a 10-20 page paper and give a deep analysis of what the authors did and why. I.e. if there is a derivation they could explain why it is solved that way, if it is the only way, or if there is another way and suggest these alternatives.
  2. Construct a new policy function - Let them argue their intuition in constructing a new policy function (e.g. why do you take log consumption?) and solve for the constrained optimization problem. They should know how to use the method of Lagrangian optimization, but the courageous student could set theirs up as a Bellman equation.
  3. At my school it was perfectly acceptable for a Bachelor's thesis to do a real world project instead of write a paper. They could make some kind of event, I had a classmate present on the UN Millennium Development Goals and had a video message from Jeffrey Sachs. They could find somebody (or a few people) local to come and speak. Also they may have access to a small budget from their school, or can elicit donations from local restaurants, and can provide food (college students love free food)!
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