AEASP: Program Background


First begun in 1974, the program prepares talented undergraduates from under-represented groups for doctoral programs in Economics and related disciplines. With a goal of broadening participation, the AEA Summer Training and Scholarship Program (AEASP) uniquely and successfully enables students to solidify technical and other economic skills to meet the rigors of graduate study.

There are substantial concerns regarding the participation of traditionally under-represented groups in the economics profession. For instance, recent NSF data record that fewer than seven percent of doctorate degrees earned by US citizens are awarded to African Americans and Hispanics in a typical year and less than a third of doctorates are awarded to women. Consequently, the outlook and the science in the economics profession lack important insights and perspectives; implying that policy analyses, recommendations and implementations fall short of what can be achieved.

In light of these issues, the purpose of the Summer Training Program is to provide a strong basis for the professional success of individuals from diverse backgrounds who will inform the profession and broaden the scope and impact of high quality research agendas that are pursued in economics and in related fields.

"Through AEA's Summer Program, I learned the intricacies of the Economics PhD Program from what it is like to do research, what courses in graduate school would look like and life post an Economics degree. The support system through out the process and regular seminars, trips and information sessions about applying to graduate school have been incredibly insightful. Something I did not expect from the experience was to be challenged in how I studied, learned and maintained my mental health, all important life skills I will carry with me. I wholeheartedly recommend the program to someone who is interested in learning more about graduate school and bridging the gap between one's undergraduate economics experience and preparing for graduate school.”

--Fanta Traore

Graduates of the Summer Program will have experienced substantial preparation for high-level graduate work in economics and other social sciences. As a result, they will be able to successfully advance to becoming leading researchers in economics and the social sciences more generally. A greater diversity of backgrounds in the profession will shape the focus and scope of leading professional scholarship, which will benefit not just this body of research, but also society at large.

Michigan State University Selected by AEA

Following a competitive national process, the American Economic Association (AEA) selected Michigan State University’s Department of Economics to host the Summer Training and Scholarship Program from 2016 to 2020. MSU is the 12th university to host the Summer Program, which is located at a host site for three to six years. Previously the program was hosted by the University of New Mexico; University of California, Santa Barbara; Duke University; the University of Colorado Denver; the University of Texas at Austin; Stanford University; Temple University; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Yale University; Northwestern University; and the University of California, Berkeley.

Michigan State University was founded in 1855 to become the nation’s pioneer land-grant university, serving as the prototype of 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862. MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world—on one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the nation—and is home to a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes, artists, scientists, and leaders. Located in Mid-Michigan just three miles east of Michigan’s capital, Lansing, and nestled between the Great Lakes with ready access to Detroit and Chicago, MSU is a great place to be.

The Economics Department at MSU is ranked in the top 20 to 30 nationwide. Its PhD program has exceptional strengths in Econometrics and Applied Microeconomics. In addition to having a very successful graduate program, the department consistently places its undergraduate students in top PhD programs across the country. In addition to its own strengths, the Economics Department is complemented by the large and active research communities that make up Michigan State University.

MSU’s Graduate School has two active National Science Foundation Programs in the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) initiative. Included in that program is a signature activity: the AGEP Learning Community. The Community is a strong support group for students. Every summer, a Community meeting is open to all of the undergraduates on campus in programs like the AEA program. All AEA Summer Program participants are welcome to attend AGEP Learning Community programs and events.

MSU has partnered with Western Michigan University (WMU)—a nationally-ranked public university located in Kalamazoo, which is roughly 80 miles west of MSU. WMU combines the resources of a major research university with the personal attention and friendly atmosphere often found at a small college. Their Economics Department has a small but successful Ph.D. program that has a history of enrolling students from under-represented groups, including from the AEASP.