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National Economics Challenge

The National Economics Challenge (NEC) is the country’s only economics competition of its kind for high school students. It tests micro and macroeconomic principles as well as knowledge of the world economy.  

This motivating and fun team learning experience begins with competitions at the state level. The winning team from each state moves on to the National Semi-Finals from which the top-scoring teams advance to compete for the National Title. This event is held annually in New York City in the spring.


Teachers register teams of three-to-four high school students.  State-level competitions are run by the Council for Economic Education affiliates that organize them. 

National Semi-Finals are scheduled by region to be held on one day in mid-May. In 2021, this round was conducted as an online test. 

The National Finals include a critical thinking round and quiz bowl where students have the opportunity to present and answer questions from economists and financial professionals. This round will is held in late-May.  


Each student team member as well as one coach from the top four USA teams receive a medal and certificate of their accomplishment as well as a cash prize corresponding to their team’s rank in the National Finals: 

1st place: $1,000 
2nd place: $500 
3rd place: $250 



For first-time Challenge competitors who have taken no more than one economics course.


For AP, international baccalaureate, and honors students (as well as any returning competitors).

An abundance of study materials, including the NEC Teacher Toolkit, are available so you can feel confident that your students can be prepared and ready to compete.  


For the third consecutive year, Mount Hebron High School from Ellicott City, Md., outscored student teams from around the United States to win both divisions of the 21st Annual National Economics Challenge (NEC).

The school emerged atop the 375 schools that participated. In all, more than 10,000 students competed nationwide in the NEC, the country’s only economics competition for high school students.

2021’s Challenge also included an international round featuring a quiz bowl between the top U.S teams and winners from CEE’s NEC International competition in China.

Adam Smith Division Champions

Mount Hebron High School from Ellicott City, Md.

(L-R) Sudharsan Sundar, Nicholas Snyder, Saniya Mahate, Pauline Chang

David Ricardo Division Champions

Mount Hebron High School from Ellicott City, Md.

(L-R) David Lieman, Sahith Mada, Dhishan Reddy, Natalie Venginickal

Adam Smith Division Finalists

· BASIS Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

· Chattahoochee High School (Johns Creek, Ga.)

· Conestoga High School (Berwyn, Pa.)

· Dublin High School (Dublin, Calif.)

· ‘Iolani School (Honolulu, Hawaii)

· Mount Hebron High School (Ellicott City, Md.)

David Ricardo Division Finalists

· Half Hollow Hills High School East (Dix Hills, N.Y.)

· Irvington High School (Fremont, Calif.)

· Lexington High School (Lexington, Mass.)

· Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School (Richmond, Va.)

· Mount Hebron High School (Ellicott City, Md.)

· Plano West Senior High School (Plano, Texas)

Adam Smith Division Champions, China

Shanghai Starriver Bilingual School Team.
NEC: International is managed by its exclusive partner in China, SKT Education.

David Ricardo Division Champions, China

Xi’an Gaoxin No.1 High School-International Course Center 
NEC: International is managed by its exclusive partner in China, SKT Education.