RES Young Economist Essay Competition Guidelines 2021

28 Apr 2021


The RES Young Economist of the Year competition 2021 aims at encouraging young economists among years 12 and 13 (students studying for A-Level, International Baccalaureate (IB) or Scottish Highers qualifications who either normally reside or are studying in the UK) to produce their own ideas in analysing contemporary economic problems facing the UK and the world. Participants can choose from a list of topics provided on the competition website which are selected by the RES. Students do not need to be studying economics to be able to enter this competition. However, some familiarity with economics concepts and terminologies will be a plus.


The maximum limit of the essay is 1000 words excluding the bibliography, the title page and any acknowledgements.

Submission Method

  • Every participant is required to submit the essay in the submission portal provided in the competition website. It is the participant’s responsibility to submit their essay by the deadline. No late submissions are accepted.
  • Since the essays will be marked anonymously, participant’s name must not appear anywhere in the essay to facilitate a fair evaluation of the submissions.
  • The Royal Economic Society accepts no responsibility for any technical failures which may result in any entry being lost, corrupted or not properly registered. No responsibility will be taken for damaged or lost entries.

Submission Deadline

 All essays must be submitted by the deadline of 23.59 on 25 July 2021 (UK summertime).


  1. Essays should be submitted in either Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  2. Pages should be numbered in #page/total #page format including the cover page.
  3. Main text of the essay should be double spaced with a font size 12.


Every participant is expected to submit an originally researched as well as originally written essay. Any help from peers must be limited to final proofreading where interventions should be limited to grammar or for accessibility. A note must accompany the essay citing any such assistance received. The note will not count toward the word limit of the essay.

Plagiarism checking will be done for all short-listed essays using state-of-the-art software.  An essay may be withdrawn from the competition if substantial evidence of plagiarism is detected.

Plagiarism essentially refers to a situation where any work you produce has been directly borrowed from the work of other person(s) to make your conclusions. Copying any sentences word-for-word from another source will be flagged with the plagiarism software and will constitute a plagiarism offence. RES reserves the right to cancel any such submission. So, essentially the essay submitted for this competition should be in your own words. In addition, you will need to cite substantive material that you borrow from any other sources to support your essay (see below for more details). 

Data, Referencing and Bibliography

When you use information/material from other sources, you will need to acknowledge them in your work. Although we do not require a detailed referencing of your arguments within the essay for the 2021 competition, a list of sources that you have consulted and have substantively influenced your arguments must be included in your essay.  These references do not count toward the word limit of the essay.

As a general rule student are encouraged to use data obtained from reliable data sources like Office of National Statistics (, Federal Reserve Bank websites (e. g. etc. Any such data sources that you use should be listed in the references.

Essay Writing Guidance

This advice is for writing an essay in ‘economics’. So, it may involve all the ingredients of writing any essay (but it does not have to be) in any style (you can see a reference here,781679,en.pdf). So, all in all, it follows a regular essay structure which may comprise of an introduction, main arguments and conclusion.

  • What is special about ‘economics’ essay?

Economists are always keen on learning and grasping your arguments and intuition about an economic phenomenon you are trying analyse. So, the first challenge for you is to come up with a solid and clear economic intuition, backed up with data where appropriate, about the topic you are trying to analyse. The second challenge you face is presenting your arguments in a very clear and logical fashion. There is no room for imprecise and confusing expressions in economics. No matter what style you choose to write your essay, your arguments should somewhat loosely follow the path of motivation, assumptions, claims, proof/analysis and conclusion in that order. Defining a term before using it is always a good practice. Maintaining a clear storyline always helps the reader. Keeping sight of the overall picture of your thoughts is always helpful in organizing your essay.

  • 1000-word essay

Woodrow Wilson was once asked how long it took him to write a speech. He answered, ‘ That depends. If I am to speak for 10 minutes, I need a week of preparation. If 15 minutes, 3days. If half hour, two days. If an hour, I am ready now.’

So, the message here is clear. Since you have only 1000 words to convey your point to the judges who are practicing economists, it really pays to spend a good time honing and organizing your arguments. Hence, getting started early and taking advantage of all available time would be a very good strategy for producing an effective essay. In addition, since economists really take their profession seriously, using the least number of words necessary to make your point is a good strategy. Typos, grammatical errors, exceeding the word limit and logical fallacies are a big put off.

  • What’s extra?

Remember, involvement of peers, parents, teachers in writing this essay must be purely nominal. Trust your instincts and take ownership of your thoughts.

Avoid using emotive words such as ‘massive’, ‘chaos’, ‘crashed’, ‘tanked’, ‘awesome’, etc.

Refrain from using sources such as Wikipedia, Investopedia, etc. as a reference.

Finally, economics is a very exciting school of thought that supports the wellbeing of every walk of life. Treasure the experience of writing an essay in this field that involves critical thinking and deep research that focuses on the wellbeing of the society. Enjoy this experience. This will be your purest takeaway from this journey.

You can read the winning essays from recent years on the RES website at, but bear in mind that the maximum length has been reduced to 1,000 words this year and less detailed referencing is now required compared with previous years.

Evaluation Criteria

Every essay will be evaluated on the basis of their originality, quality of writing, economic content and quality of the economic argument.

Data Protection Statement

Any personal data which may be submitted in an entry will be processed by RES in accordance with any applicable data protection legislation, and RES Privacy Notice available at


Entrants agree that their entry is their own work, written solely for the purpose of the Competition, and warrant that their entry does not breach any applicable laws or regulations or infringe any third intellectual property or privacy rights, and is not in any way libellous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, harassing or threatening.

By entering the Competition, entrants agree to hold RES and FT harmless for liability, damages or claims for injury or loss to any person or property, relating to, directly or indirectly, participation in this Competition, or claims based on publicity rights, third party intellectual property rights, defamation or invasion of privacy.

RES Statement

The Royal Economic Society reserves the right to refuse entry or to refuse to award a prize to anyone in breach of any of the Rules of the essay competition published at

These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Disputes arising in connection with this Competition shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

The promoter is the Royal Economic Society, 2 Dean Trench St, Westminster, London, SW1P 3HE.