ECONTALKS SHARE, LEARN, AND WONDER

February 14th, 2018

Economics is the study of how we use our scarce resources to meet our numerous needs and unlimited wants. It is a field that touches almost every other field in human experience. Economics may include empirical studies of how and why humans and markets behave in certain ways, but also includes the normative examination of how human and markets could or should behave better. Many pressing controversies are tied to economics—should we have free trade or protect domestic industries, should we have a flat or progressive tax, should we invest more in roads or in education, should we adopt a basic universal income or not, or how should we prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Many other questions arise, including microeconomic questions of how to optimize income for a small business, how to use behavioral insights to persuade customers to purchase products or services, and what ethical responsibilities one has to the larger community.

In the context of these many pressing and challenging economic questions, the Economics Department of Epoka University invites students in their last year of high school studies (Shkolla e Mesme) to develop a talk of six-to-ten minutes in length in which they address, explain, or share and important controversy or concept in economics. These talks can be styled after TED talks and should be in English. The content of the talk may range from expository, which is a talk that explains a concept, to argumentative, which is a talk that argues in favor of a certain approach or position. The speaker may explain the concept using examples from daily life, his or her personal history, or from research. The talk can be presented with or without visual aids (e.g. a slideshow). The talk may involve creative means of sharing and even video clips, but the total length of all video clips must be less than 60 seconds. Contestants may wish to browse TED Talks videos related to economics for ideas on possible topics of interest and effective presentation styles (https://www.ted.com/talks?page=1&sort=popular&topics%5B%5D=economics). Same notable examples are found in the links below:

1)      Duflo, E. (2010). Social experiments to fight poverty. TED2010. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_duflo_social_experiments_to_fight_poverty#t-988009

2)      Goldbloom, A. (2016). The jobs we’ll lose to machines—and the ones we won’t. TED2016. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_goldbloom_the_jobs_we_ll_lose_to_machines_and_the_ones_we_won_t#t-264458

3)      Neuwirth, R. (2012). The power of the informal economy. TEDGlobal 2012. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_neuwirth_the_power_of_the_informal_economy#t-99161

4)      Santos, L. (2010). A monkey economy as irrational as ours. TEDGlobal 2010. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/laurie_santos

5)      Wilkinson, R. (2011). How economic inequality harms societies.  TEDGlobal 2011. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson

While the examples mostly show presentations by individuals who have done original data collection and analysis, the presenters at Econ Talks may provide literature-based presentations in which they present an original synthesis of ideas or data from other sources, provided that they cite those sources.

Participants in the Econ Talks may be awarded a partial scholarship to study Economics at Epoka University. A grand jury will evaluate the talks and award a scholarship respectively to the top three contestants:

1st place: 50% scholarship

2nd place: 30% scholarship

3rd place: 20% scholarship

While we are pleased to offer these scholarships, we encourage students to focus primarily on the joy of sharing interesting ideas. There are likely many more outstanding talks than scholarships available, so we encourage participants to enjoy the intrinsic rewards and motivations of the talk rather than any extrinsic ones. Students should participate individually. There will not be team participation excepted. The topics these talks should be related to are as below:

1) Unemployment

2) Poverty

3) Inequality

4) Youth employment

5) Innovation

6) Human development

7) Behavior economics

8) Well-being and welfare

9) Taxes

10) Informal economy

11) International trade and business growth

Students interested in participating in this opportunity are invited to apply using the online form available at link by 20 March 2018. In that form, students will provide their name, school, year of study, and contact information. They will also write a one-paragraph summary of their planned talk. This paragraph should be less than 250 words and mention the topic of the talk, a question or problem that must be addressed, and the student’s planned method of addressing that topic or problem. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must have a cumulative high school GPA of 8.0 or higher in the Albanian grading system. Students accepted on the basis of their abstracts will be invited to participate in the EconTalks event.