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You will need to be able to critically evaluate economic arguments and convey your reasoning to a general audience in writing. This writing assignment will help you develop these skills. You will need to demonstrate your ability to apply economic concepts and tools to different, more open-ended contexts. This will also help you develop your ability to apply and to view events through the lens of economics.
The critical examination involves a few steps. First, translating a written argument into a form that can be analyzed using tools you have learned in class. The next step is to use these tools to critically examine the argument being made. The analysis involves doing more than merely paraphrasing the textbook, class notes, or using jargon. It involves things like identifying which model/tool is appropriate for this context, checking to see if the assumptions required are satisfied, identifying any changes in circumstances, and working through the predictions, etc. You need to be able to compare your analysis with the author’s arguments and be able to articulate any differences or similarities in a precise manner. The final step is translating all of this back into clear language that readers can easily understand.
There will be two writing assignments in this course to give you practice and opportunities to get feedback on your writing. This is an individualwriting assignment.
For this writing assignment, you will be given an economic podcast and will be asked to critically evaluate it. You will be graded on the quality and thoroughness of your analysis. Therefore, you will also be graded on the clarity, flow, and overall cohesiveness of the writing in your paper.
The beginning of the podcast states, “Covid-19 is the biggest job killer in a century. As the lockdown eases, what does re-employment look like Who will be first and who last? Which sectors will surge and which will disappear?” After listening to this podcast, the President of the United States asks you to come up with a critical evaluation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the labor market. Based on your report, the President will make its policy recommendations. You are to analyze one of the four economists’ arguments/opinions in the podcast.
Follow the paper outline below:
Introduction (5 points): The introduction (first paragraph) briefly summarizes what you consider to be the main point(s) of the article. If there are many, focus on the one(s) that you will analyze in the assignment.
Summary (5 points): A short summary of the podcast should be included. This summary should capture the key points presented in the podcast and any important facts or elements. Do not spend the whole assignment summarizing the entire article. Summaries should be succinct and to the point and be approximately one paragraph.
Explain “your chosen” economists’ arguments (15 points): The President has heard about the “the above economist” but does not know enough to enact a policy. In this section you need to explain what the economist is arguing. (Don’t just summarize what they said. You need to demonstrate their argument using the models and tools you have learned throughout the semester). You should use, at a minimum, one economic concept we have covered in class. In other words, I expect you to demonstrate the economists’ arguments by drawing a graph and showing the effects of the arguments. Your graphs must be detailed and thorough.
Critical Evaluation of the argument (40 points): This is the most important aspect of this assignment.
Students should focus on whether they agree/disagree with the economist and what their recommendations may be. Students can also analyze how the material in the podcast will impact the economy in a macro setting. The analysis portion has the potential to be varied in nature. However, I recommend sticking to my guidelines below:
To evaluate the argument you need first to understand the author’s arguments. Start by identifying the assumptions inherent in the argument, checking to see if the conclusions follow from these assumptions. Try to distinguish the argument from the evidence provided to support the argument
To do the critical evaluation, essentially you should take apart the various steps in the argument and see if they make sense separately and as a whole. Can you use the tools learned in class to think about the argument in another way? Check to see if the author is missing anything in his/her argument or has used some tool or method incorrectly or inappropriately. Is there evidence that contradicts their argument?
I expect you to use at least 1 economic model we have learned in class. You should be using the AS/AD model, the Classical model, the Phillips Curve, etc. Your models should also be detailed. Make sure you read explaining what the models mean and clearly demonstrate the economic implications.
All models must be drawn by hand. Any models “grabbed” from the text or internet will not count and will adversely affect your grade. Your hand-drawn models should be scanned and of high-quality.
Conclusion (5 points): It is important to have a strong conclusion since this is the last chance you have to make an impression on your reader. The goal of your conclusion isn’t to introduce any new ideas, but to sum up, everything you’ve written. Specifically, your conclusion should accomplish three major goals:
Restate the main idea of your essay, or your thesis statement.
Summarize the main sub-points of your essay.
Leave the reader with an interesting final impression.
Works Cited: Must cite at least 3 sources. Class notes/lectures can account for one source. The textbook can account for one source.
How to format your assignment
Your assignment should be typed, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, and font size 12.
Minimum of 3 pages (not including models, works cited page).
Your submitted assignment must be in Word. Assignments submitted in non-word format will receive a 0.
How to submit your assignment
Your assignment should be submitted through Canvas. Any drafts submitted through email will not be accepted.
You will submit your writing as a word document. Other formats will not be accepted.
Your models must be hand-drawn, scanned as an image, and pasted to your word document.
Students are required to proofread their assignments prior to submitting them. Students are recommended to utilize the campus writing center to ensure any grammatical/writing errors are corrected. I generally do not give lower grades for grammatical mistakes. However, if the writing is too incomprehensible/unclear, there will be a reflection in the overall grade.