The Econ Games is an annual competition co-founded by Dr Abdullah Al-Bahrani (Northern Kentucky University) and Dr Darshak Patel (University of Kentucky). Using a dataset provided by a corporate sponsor, students take part in a data analytics exercise to solve real-world problems, allowing them apply their knowledge outside a classroom setting as well as explore potential career pathways for Economists. The competition has enabled participating students to connect with industry experts, researchers and students from Europe, North America and beyond.
This year’s challenge and dataset was provided by WDL. Using tools such as WDL’s World Poverty Clock, Water Scarcity Clock, and MarketPro or MPro subset) each team had a weekend to identify up to three emerging markets with elements of sustainable economy topics, and with the option to highlight the potential implications this would have on human life expectancy and/or mortality for each country identified. Prof Parama Chaudhury acted as advisor for the two participating UCL Teams, supported by Kiruri Wahome and Noah Stommerl, MSc students in UCL’s Department of Political Science. She co-hosted the session with Dr Darshak Patel. The WDL Team which consisted of Marianne Fisher (Head of Operations), Katharina Fenz (Senior Data Scientist), and Juan Caballero (WDL Data Scientist) acted as Judges.
UCL Team B Members, Kexin Wu, Xiaotian Tian, Kuangjie Ni, and Kaicheng Lu’s presentation was titled ‘A Glance into the Future: 3 Developing Economies with the Most Potential in 2030 and its Welfare Implications’. The WDL Judges had this to say on their presentation:
UCL Team B demonstrated a deep knowledge of economic growth literature and managed to seamlessly incorporate relevant elements into their presentation, while still maintaining strong audience engagement. The highlight, however, was the storytelling and top-down approach. The team started with a large sample size of countries and filtered it down to the top three markets through various indicators which led to a clear and cohesive response to highlight the following emerging economies: Indonesia, India and Vietnam.World Data Lab Judges
This year’s prizes are a MPro 2.0 Subscription for the top three performing teams. The winning team will receive a guaranteed interview for an internship position with the WDL Team, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with the WDL to add MPro insights for a post with the Brookings Institution. In addition, and thanks to the UCL Social and Historical Sciences Dean’s Fund and UCL Global Engagement, the top team have been awarded place on the R FOR ECONOMISTS course which teaches them how to code and develop a strong foundation in R.
Building Data and Teamwork Skills
UCL B Team Member, Kexin Wu encourages students to enter the competition next year:
It is a rewarding experience to integrate data journalism and visualisation into our training in economics at UCL. We wish to thank all our teammates for contributing different skills and The Econ Games team from UCL for all the support. We would also take this opportunity to encourage our peers to participate in The Econ Games in the future.Kexin Wu, UCL Economics Student and Team B Member
Kexin’s Team Mate, Kuangjie Ni, had this advice for future Econ Games competitors:
Participating in the Econ Games 2022 is one of the most memorable and exciting experiences for me in this summer. It is a wonderful opportunity to expand not only our technical skills such as data cleaning, data visualisation and data storytelling, but also our soft skills such as presentation, teamwork and communication through solving tangible real-world problems. Although we learned we learned a lot of regressions in Econometrics, data storytelling is more important in this competition. It helps us visualise the information presented and form opinions, insights, and arguments based on the data. Therefore, we need to focus more on how to tell a compelling, interesting and practical data story.Kuangjie Ni, UCL Economics Student and Team B Member
The University of Kentucky were first runners up for their presentation ‘From Oppression to Opportunity – Sustainability provides the key to enduring growth.’ Team member Brennan Graham told us how he benefited from participating in the competition:
The EconGames was a great opportunity to get hands on experience translating large datasets into a story with meaningful insights. I really enjoyed hearing the different perspectives and approaches of teams from around the world and working with my own team to make the most of our combined strengths.Brennan Graham, University of Kentucky Economics Student
UCL C Team were the second runners up on their presentation Top Emerging Markets by 2030 and the potential impact on human health in rising economies. You can watch their presentation here.