An appropriate topic will be based on specific topics in the course and found in a current events newspaper article or report. This exercise is designed to help and check your ability to process information, systematically analyze the data/evidence and verbally articulate the information that you have learned from the class lectures, the required readings, newspapers, different sources of media and our class discussions. In addition to news sources to detail or describe the economics issue, it is expected that the paper will include three to five academic sources for the economics concepts and/or applications. A few sample topics that we will cover that are suitable for the writing assignment (detailed below) in this course are listed below:
· The impact of the supply shocks in the oil market on the price of home heating oil and gasoline.
· Looking at the evolution of the market economies over time, how do you see the markets in our future shape and form?
· Pick a real life application of the theory of consumer behavior/utility maximization and show how in our routine daily life, we can benefit from our understanding of this theory.
· Choose a market structure such as monopoly or oligopoly with a specific industry in mind and show how these industries behave within the context of microeconomics
· How does a regulated monopoly work? Choose an actual example of a regulated monopoly in the United States and discuss how regulation of that industry could benefit the consumer as well as the monopolist.
· What is a Cartel? Based on your understanding of a cartel, in what kind of an industry can we see cartels form? Why are they illegal in the United States? How could cartel manipulate markets?
· Discuss the impact of raising minimum wages on minimum wage earners and economy as a whole.
· What are the desired benefits of rent control? What are the real effects of the rent control policy on its expected beneficiaries and the society?
In addition consider sources like the Economic Naturalist (http://www.robert-h-frank.com/book.html), The Cartoon Introduction to Economics http://standupeconomist.com/cartoon-intro-microeconomics/) or economics books about general issues (like Miller, Benjamin and North’s The Economics of Public Issues) or specific economic issue (like Rivoli’s The Travels of a T-Shirt, see http://americanenterprise.si.edu/2011/09/rivolis-travels-of-a-t-shirt/).
Five Criteria: Economic Issue, Social Importance, Economic Principles, Sources and Clarity; and, Four Levels of Achievement: Poor (D), Fair (C), Good (B) and Great (A) Criteria 1. Economic Issue Poor: Not an unresolved matter of importance in the allocation of resources and not clearly articulated. Fair: An unresolved matter of importance in the allocation of resources and but not clearly articulated. Good: An unresolved matter of importance in the allocation of resources, clearly articulated and consideration of some policy options. Great: An unresolved matter of importance in the allocation of resources, well-articulated and consideration of all policy options (leaving nothing unresolved). 2. Social Importance Poor: Social importance not present or not articulated. Fair: Socially important topic but not well articulated. Good: Socially important topic and well-articulated. Great: Socially important topic, well-articulated, timely and relevant for immediate action. 3. Economic principles (concepts and applications) Poor: Fail to integrate relevant economic principles; lacking in definitions and explanation. Fair: Identifies relevant economic principles, but does not demonstrate clear understanding of their details, application or sources. Good: Identifies and explains application of relevant economic principles, but lacks clarity and originality. All of the principles are present, but lacks clarity. Great: Identifies, explains and demonstrates application of relevant economic principles in one’s own words throughout clearly articulating an understanding found in research, readings and lecturers. 4. Sources Poor: Few news sources and no definitive sources (like a text book); open access internet sources like Wikipedia are unacceptable. Fair: One definitive source (like a text book), some news and limited additional economics sources Good: 5-7 economics sources; a few peer-reviewed journal articles or books. Great: 5-7 peer-reviewed journal articles or books 5. Clarity Poor: Poor sentence and paragraph structure, misspellings and grammatical errors. Uses long quotes, lack of own wording demonstrating limited understanding. Overly wordy (or sparse) and confusing. Fair: No misspellings or gross grammar mistakes. Paragraphs are organized so that ideas are presented in obvious stream of thought. Weak sentences lead to confusion. Good: No misspellings or grammar errors. Well-structured paragraphs and sentence, but narrative could be better focused (better order of paragraphs, transitions between paragraphs or active v. passive voice). Great: Direct, tight and concise sentences, thoughts, definitions and points. Active voice is better than passive voice, no misspellings or grammar mistakes. Well organized paragraphs and structured sentence. Flows and reads well. Original and rich language throughout the paper.