GHS Economics Students Excel in Federal Reserve Challenge, Selected Essay to be Published in Journal of Future Economists

Members of the Greenwich High School Economics Club excelled in this year’s Federal Reserve Challenge, reaching a new milestone in their annual participation in this competition.

This year, the “Fed Challenge” transitioned from a presentation format to a research essay about a chosen theme. In response to the theme of “Economic Inequality” these GHS students focused on how COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing educational inequalities and how this feeds into larger labor market trends in the United States economy. In recognition of their impressive work, their essay, titled, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Circular Relationship Between Educational and Economic Inequality,” was selected for publication in the Journal of Future Economists.

The 2020-2021 Federal Reserve Competition Theme “Economic Inequality,” centered on the quote: “Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate fully in our society and in our economy,” shared by Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“This is an exciting accomplishment for our students and I am very proud of their recognition,” said GHS Economics Teacher and Economics Club Advisor Ian Tiedemann. “They were able to pivot quickly to the competition’s new format and exceed expectations.”

Following their selection in this competition, GHS Economics Club Leaders Sofia Pronina and Adam Kaufman were interviewed and shared passages from their winning essay on a WNYC podcast about the competition.

GHS Economics Club Members and Fed Reserve Challenge Essay Authors:

• Adam Kaufman

• Nikhil Khanna

• Katia Michals

• Sofia Pronina

• Wyatt Radzin

• Benjamin Shi

• Veda Swaminathan

• Alicia Tang

Essay Abstract: “The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Circular Relationship Between Educational and Economic Inequality

In the contemporary United States, it has grown clear that educational and income inequality are mutually reinforcing, amplifying one another through a positive feedback loop. As individuals attain higher levels of education, they become more desirable workers, subsequently earning higher incomes. In the United States, a nation where educational access is often closely tied to economic background, high-earners can often secure for their children, greater resources at the primary and secondary levels and, eventually, greater access to post-secondary studies. Their well-educated children then generally proceed to earn similarly high incomes, perpetuating the circular relationship between educational and income inequality. Amidst the economic consequences of COVID-19, low-wage workers faced unemployment and low-income students struggled without educational support. Through aggravating income and educational disparities, COVID-19 has strengthened the existing cycle of inequality in a manner that will likely linger for years to come. By  implementing targeted policy strategies—namely, categorical grants and tax credit stimulus—the federal government would take a promising first step toward mitigating the long-term economic impacts of COVID. Only through addressing this ongoing challenge will the US begin to tackle the age-old link between educational and income inequality.

The High School Fed Challenge is an educational program that aims to encourage students in grades 9 – 12 to learn more about economics and promote interest in economics as a subject for study and the basis for a career. Previous study of economics is not required – only intellectual curiosity and interest in exploring an economic theme.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York designates the annual competition theme.

Entering teams may select any topic that explicitly relates to this theme for an academic research paper, which will be submitted for evaluation to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Top team papers will be selected by Bank judges to be published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the Journal of Future Economists. 

In addition to gaining broader exposure to the field of economics, all entering teams will receive a certificate of achievement and recognition in the Journal of Future Economists.