Student Essay Contest

Showcase your ideas on public policy and the role of markets by entering our essay competition. $9,000 in cash prizes will be awarded with $3,000 of this designated just for high school students! Winning essays may be published in Fraser Institute journals and authors will have the opportunity to experience the peer review process.

Categories and Prizes:

High SchoolUndergraduateGraduate
1st Prize: $1,5001st Prize: $1,5001st Prize: $1,500
2nd Prize: $1,0002nd Prize: $1,0002nd Prize: $1,000
3rd Prize: $5003rd Prize: $5003rd Prize: $500

2022 Essay Contest -- What in the world would Adam Smith say?

Adam Smith (1723-1790), widely known as the father of modern economics, placed markets at the center of the political economy (i.e., the study of how a country is managed or governed, taking into account both political and economic factors). Drawing on Smith’s 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, construct an essay that takes Smith’s thoughts and extrapolates them to a current or recent episode in history, OR a current Canadian policy issue.

While constructing your essay, you may choose to consider one of the following:

  • What would Adam Smith say about government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What would Adam Smith say about the state of markets today? What would he change?
  • Would Smith agree or disagree with the recent rise of protectionism?
  • What would Adam Smith think about trade tariffs?
  • How would Smith explain why some nations are poor while others are rich?
  • What would Smith say about the future of automation in the workplace?
  • Consider a current Canadian policy issue (e.g. minimum wage, consumer regulations, etc.) and discuss what Smith would think about it. Would he agree or disagree with this policy?

To learn more about Adam Smith, and to read our recent publication, The Essential Adam Smith.

Extended Submission Deadline: July 1, 2022 at 11:59PM PT

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2021 Essay Contest Winners

 1st Place ($1,500)
High School CategoryLeah Powell,
Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto
UndergraduateElena Dimitrov,
Western University
GraduateMahita Reddy Gogireddy,
New York Institute of Technology
 2nd Place ($1,000)
High School CategorySaahil Sheth,
University of Toronto Schools
UndergraduateLucas Lazzaroni,
University of British Columbia
GraduateMatthieu Dumais,
HEC Montreal
 3rd Place ($500)
High School CategoryNolan Forsythe,
Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School
Justin Heffernan,
Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School
UndergraduateIsabella Giancola,
University Of Toronto
GraduateZachary Gehan,
Concordia University

Previous winners archive:

2021 Student Essay Contest Winners

2020 Student Essay Contest Winners

2019 Student Essay Contest Winners

2018 Student Essay Contest Winners

2017 Student Essay Contest Winners

2016 Student Essay Contest Winners

2015 Student Essay Contest Winners


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