All Things Considered: Student-Driven Journal Covers Timely Economic Issues

Bitcoin, Spotify, retirement age and pharmaceutical prices are just some of the topics examined in the economics and finance publication Ceteris Paribus. A student-led online journal, it certainly abides by its logo, "all things considered."

"Ceteris paribus is a term commonly used in the study of economics," explained editor-in-chief Sean Wright '19. "Translated directly from Latin, it means ‘other things held constant'. If nothing else, we at Ceteris Paribus vow to be consistently balanced, just and fair in our news and analysis."

Wright and the other founding writers were just first-year students at the genesis of the idea for the journal. They established clear goals, and for the last year have maintained extremely high standards for content and quality.

"It's very rare that I see that kind of focus, energy, excitement and an organized sense of where people want to go with their ideas in their very first year," said Prof. Vikram Kumar, chair of the Economics Department and faculty adviser to Ceteris Paribus. While he serves in an advisory role to the group, he trusts the judgments and work of its student staff members and leaves to them the decisions about the work they publish and the type of discourse they want to facilitate.

"I think the journal provides an outlet for a different kind of student work, one which didn't really exist before," deputy editor Jack Shumway '19 said. "Even though there are multiple literary magazines at Davidson, there was no equivalent for economics, which is one of Davidson's most popular majors."

And those majors generate a lot of high-level work, much of it featured in the journal. Many CP pieces are drawn from, or related to, work economics students are doing in their classrooms.

"There's a lot of data-driven, hypothesis-tested material," Kumar said. "People may not like certain results or the methodology, but it's not something that's concocted out of thin air," and it's a starting point for intelligent discourse, which is what the Ceteris Paribus team aims to create.

That is not to say that one has to have a background in economics to read or write for Ceteris Paribus. One of Wright's goals in establishing the journal was to provide a source for all students and others to access streamlined, easy-to-read, interesting information about the worlds of finance and economics.

In keeping with that goal, Wright and his colleagues re-worked the format of the publication after its initial release. What started as an online journal published twice per semester and featuring long-form, in-depth articles now includes a weekly blog component to address more time-sensitive subjects.

"We realized that when we were only publishing twice a semester, we really couldn't be as focused on current events because we were writing it a couple of weeks in advance," Wright said.

The blog serves as an effective complement to the journal, and readership of both is on the rise, Wright said.

"Ceteris Paribus is a great template for other types of student publications," Kumar said. "It has a short record of success which I hope is going to become a longer one."

Sophie McHugh '18


  • June 16, 2017