Thesis Guidelines

This document gives some guidelines to students who are interested in writing their thesis with me as supervisor. Please read this document carefully, before our first meeting

A first-rate thesis in economics can be an empirical paper (in which you analyze a specific dataset) or a theoretical paper (in which you build your own model) or both. Whether empirical or theoretical, your thesis should be clear on the research question, what your answer is to that question, what method you followed to get that answer, and how your question, answer and method fit into the relevant literature. 

I supervise projects in behavioral and experimental economics. Behavioral economics integrates insights from psychology and other social sciences into standard economic models and proposes a set of tools to change behavior to change people’s behavior. Experimental economics is the application of experimental methods to collect data and test the validity of economic theories or to estimate the effect size of a particular policy intervention.

With your thesis you must demonstrate that 1) can find an interesting research question starting from the existing literature; 2) you know and apply specific methods to answer this question; 3) you can communicate your results and reflections in a clear, precise and scientific way.

The supervisor’s role and student expectations

You should not expect your supervisor to “tell you what to do” exactly, as much as to give pointers. A written assignment is about you showing what you can do. Remember that your supervisor will also become your examiner once you hand in your assignment.

If you ensure clarity with your supervisor about your reciprocal expectations, you will avoid misunderstandings, disappointment and waste of time. Rather than wait for your supervisor to remember you, get in touch when you need to talk, get some advice by email, or schedule a meeting.

While you are fully focused on writing your theses, your supervisor has many other things on his minds. Thus, it is your responsibility to remind him what you are doing, what you already did and what is still missing. Be patient, clear and prepared to guide the discussion during each meeting..

Not all students can get a good grade, even with the best supervision. The role of a supervisor is to guide you according to your level or the level you can reach, given your constraints.

My style of supervision

I love my job, and I am passionate about research. I think my enthusiasm can be contagious. The consequence is that I try to create an informal and equal relationship with my students –we share the same passion, right?– and keep my door always open for unceremonious and unconstraint meetings.

I am an easygoing person and I love to talk and interact with students. On the other side, I am demanding: I expect from my students the maximum effort and no sloppiness.

I am friendly and companionable but also open and frank. If I dislike something, I will let my students know. Sometime I do not even need to talk, you can understand from my face. Thus, if you are touchy and (hyper)sensitive, probably I am not the right supervisor for you. I am sorry.