Discussion paper

DP17923 Language Models and Cognitive Automation for Economic Research

Large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionize research in economics and other disciplines. I describe 25 use cases along six domains in which LLMs are starting to become useful as both research assistants and tutors: ideation, writing, background research, data analysis, coding, and mathematical derivations. I provide general instructions and demonstrate specific examples for how to take advantage of each of these, classifying the LLM capabilities from experimental to highly useful. I hypothesize that ongoing advances will improve the performance of LLMs across all of these domains, and that economic researchers who take advantage of LLMs to automate micro tasks will become significantly more productive. Finally, I speculate on the longer-term implications of cognitive automation via LLMs for economic research.


Korinek, A (2023), ‘DP17923 Language Models and Cognitive Automation for Economic Research‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17923. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17923