The National Economics Challenge (NEC) applies the excitement of an athletic competition to academic excellence, encouraging students to apply their economics knowledge. Competitions are held at the State, National Semi-Final, and National Final levels. In each competition, teams answer questions on microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and current events. At the National Finals, students will take individual exams, work in teams to solve case problems, and participate in a fast-paced oral quiz bowl in order to compete for the title of National Champions.
The CEE National Economics Challenge engages high school students in real-world problem solving and critical-thinking as they test their awareness of economic principles and current events.
Competitions are held at the State, National Semi-Final, and National Final levels in two divisions: The Adam Smith Division, for advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors students, and The David Ricardo Division, for semester general economics students. One team in each division from the State level will advance to the National Semi-Final for a chance to compete in the National Finals!
High school students may form teams with individuals from their school, community organization or club,
or before/afterschool program. All team members, and the coach, must be from the same group. See Rules and Eligibility, section A.2.
During the quiz bowl round of the National Finals, the team spokesperson for each question will be the individual who buzzes in first for that question. If the spokesperson buzzes in before the entire question is read, the student will have 5 seconds to answer the question based solely on what has been read to that point and without conferring with teammates. See sections C.9-11.
Please contact your State Coordinator to find out the date of your state Economics Challenge. Each State must submit their state winners by April 10, 2018. The Semi-National Competition will be conducted on April 24, 2018* within the time frame of 2–5 PM EST. The top eight teams in both divisions will be invited to the National Finals, May 19-21, 2018 in New York City.
*Schools that are on spring break on 4/24/18 will test on 4/19/18, please notify your state coordinator if your team would require early testing.
Yes. We will have more information on prizes as it becomes available.
To get started, you must first participate in the Economics Challenge conducted at the state level. Please contact your State Coordinator for more information
Students in all states have an opportunity to compete. Check on your state at https://econchallenge.unl.edu/
Previously, if a state did not hold an Economics Challenge at the state level, teams in that state could not participate in the National Economics ChallengeSM . The Wild Card competition is an online test that gives these teams a chance to participate in the National Economics ChallengeSM . The Wild Card competition will consist of the Adam Smith and the David Ricardo divisions. The top team from each division will advance to the National Semi-Finals for a chance to compete in the National Finals in New York City! Note, this competition is reserved exclusively for teams living where a state competition is not held.
States will be asked to identify one state champion from the David Ricardo Division and the Adam Smith Division to participate in the National Semi-Finals. How states determine their champion teams will largely be at their discretion, although champion teams must satisfy national eligibility requirements. State coordinators will need to submit individual teacher and student registration forms to CEE only for the state champions in each division that advance to the National Semi-Finals. Please contact your State Coordinator for more information
The top eight scoring teams in each division of the National Semi-Finals advance to the National Finals.
Questions About Registration
Start at your state level. Please contact your State Coordinator to learn details about your State's Economics Challenge.
Contact your state coordinators. They register their state champion teams by April 10, 2018.
No. Your team may reconfigure its members and participate on the date provided (review Rules and Eligibility A.2.d. for replacement eligibility and requirements). If a team is reconfigured, the new student must meet all competition rules and eligibility requirements to participate or the team must forfeit.
In most states coaches may register as many teams as they wish to participate in the Economics Challenge competition. Students, however, may participate on only one team. Contact your state coordinator and/or check the rules specific to your State for information.
Yes. Before the top scoring team can be invited to compete in the National Semi-Finals, coaches must submit a Team Coach Registration Form to their state coordinator. The Team Coach Registration Form can be found on the Participation Info tab at https://www.councilforeconed.org/teacher-toolkit/
Your state may require a form to compete in the Econ Challenge at the state level. Please contact your State Coordinator to find out what forms you will need.
Coaches of State champion teams must submit Student Registration Forms to their state coordinator for every student before the team can be invited to compete in the National Semi-Final round. It is a good idea to have the completed forms on hand. Student Registration Forms can be found on the Advancing to Semi-Finals tab at https://www.councilforeconed.org/teacher-toolkit/. Parent signatures are required for students under the age of 18.
Note: The Council for Economic Education reserves the right to disqualify any student and his/her team if Student Registration Form is not submitted by April 16, 2018. It is up to the Team Coach to ensure that these forms are submitted on time. After reviewing Student Registration Forms, the Council for Economic Education reserves the right to disqualify any student and his/her team if deemed ineligible to compete.
Questions About Student Eligibility And Team Composition
There are two divisions: David Ricardo and Adam Smith.
The David Ricardo Division includes teams of students currently or previously enrolled in one general economics course (or less), or courses which include introductory economic concepts (social studies, business, personal finance, etc.). The course must be taught by a secondary school teacher. Students who have never taken an economics course are eligible to compete. Students may only participate in the David Ricardo Division one time.
The Adam Smith Division includes teams of students, currently or previously, enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP Micro, AP Macro, or AP Micro and Macro), International Baccalaureate (pre-IB and IB), honors, two courses, any other advanced courses in economics (including courses taught by a secondary teacher where students earn college credit), or home schooled. The course must be taught by a secondary teacher. Any student who has previously participated in the Economics Challenge must compete in the Adam Smith Division. Note, if one or more members of a team qualify for Adam Smith, the entire team must compete in the Adam Smith Division. Students may participate in the Adam Smith division multiple times.
No. As stated in sections A.1.b and A.1.c of the rules, courses must be taught by secondary teachers. Students enrolled, previously or currently, in an economics course taught by a college professor are not eligible to compete.
No. Current or previous enrollment in an economics course is not a requirement to compete in the National Economics ChallengeSM.
Yes, as long as students satisfy all other eligibility requirements.
This is a state-level decision that CEE leaves up to its state coordinators. In the past, many states have allowed teams from the same school to compete against each other at the state level. Only one team, per division, per state will advance to the National Semi Finals.
Yes, as long as the team meets the Team Composition requirements and the students meet the Student Eligibility requirements. See sections A.2. and A.3.
No. If a team consists of one or more students that qualify for the Adam Smith Division, then the entire team must participate in the Adam Smith Division.
Teams must consist of three or four students.
Yes. Students may participate more than one year, but no student is permitted to compete in the David Ricardo Division more than one year. Any returning student who has already participated in the National Economics ChallengeSM (at the state-level or higher) must compete in the Adam Smith Division.
Yes. Home-schooled students must compete in the Adam Smith Division.
No. Each student is permitted to participate as a member of only one team.
No. Students must be enrolled in a public high school, private high school, or home-based high school during the 2017–2018 academic school year.
Yes, you can bring in a new team member or continue with just three students on your team.
No. All members of a team must be from the same public school, private school, community organization or club, or after-school program. This means that students from different schools are eligible to be on the same team if they are all part of one of the aforementioned groups. Home-based high school students may join teams of any of the groups mentioned in this section or may start a team with other home-based high school students in their county. Home-based high school students must compete in the Adam Smith Division.
Questions About The Exam
For both divisions (Adam Smith and David Ricardo) the exam is a written multiple-choice test. The test has three sections consisting of 15 four-option multiple-choice questions in the area of macro, micro, and international economics as well as current events. Participants in the competition will have 20 minutes to complete each section of the test. For details on the competition format and scoring, visit our participation info page.
For both divisions (Adam Smith and David Ricardo) the exam will consist of four to five rounds:
- Rounds I–III of the National Finals competitions test consists of 15 four option multiple-choice questions in the area of macro, micro, and international economics as well as current events. Participants in the competition will have 20 minutes to complete each test. For details on the competition format and scoring, visit our participation info page
- Round IV of the National Finals is the Critical Thinking round. Teams will have to prepare an economic analysis and present. Following presentation, judges ask questions of the team members
- The top two scoring teams in Rounds I – IV will advance to the quiz bowl round to determine the champion.
- Round V in the National Finals has a quiz bowl format covering all topics in economics.
Team scores for the multiple choice section of the Semi-Finals and Finals are determined by the aggregate of the top three individual scores. Scoring on individual tests is as follows: +10 points for each correct response, 0 points for each incorrect response, and 0 points for no response.
No. It is not possible for teams to receive their individual scores. Team scores will be given to coaches.
Teams may find previous Semi-Final and Final exams useful. They can be found on CEE’s website under ‘sample tests’ https://www.councilforeconed.org/sample-tests/