Assignment 3

Assignment Requirements


Please be sure to include both. Anything more than 525 words or less
than 475 words is unacceptable

  • The first is an absolute one, turning on mechanical matters: Departmental standards specify an A paper, a B paper, a C paper, and so on in terms of the number of errors allowed. An A paper has no major structural, mechanical, or logical problems; a B paper has one or two such problems and perhaps a few spelling errors; a C paper has several such problems and/or many spelling errors; and so on.
  • The second is absolute, too: Does the paper contain and discuss an economic concept successfully? Does it include and discuss the concept but need further work in expressing it to best effect? Does it lack the concept or fail to do anything more than mention it? Those are A, B, and C (and lower) papers, respectively—and a perfectly spelled and beautifully written paper without an economic concept is a C paper all the same.
  • The third is an assessment of your work on a relative scale: How does your paper compare to those of the rest of your cohort? Is it of higher or lower quality compared to the average?
  • The fourth and final measure tracks improvement throughout the course of the session. If I have seen no strong evidence that you have spent time working with my corrections and trying to understand why I have done the editing and commenting that I have, then your grade is likely to be lower than otherwise. If I have seen evidence to the contrary that you have made efforts to improve your work, then this will likewise be reflected in your grade.



Evidence and Citation This course requires you to communicate your opinions on a certain set of topics about which the discipline of economics has something to say. An opinion, of course, is not enough; a winning argument is backed by evidence, data, statistics, and authority.               If you say that cutting taxes will lift the economy out of recession, you need to offer some sort of proof that this is true. If you say that the income tax is too high compared to the tax rates of other industrial nations, then show me actual numbers. If you assert that a certain nationality’s workforce is the best in the world, define and quantify the word “best.” In this world, you cannot expect to be accepted on faith alone, but you can certainly expect to be taken seriously if you approach your arguments seriously. Taking care to argue with the force of evidence is proof, among other things, that your arguments are in fact serious, and not mere assertions of what you believe to be true.

Your assignments will not call for footnotes or parenthetical citations; indeed, I will not read a paper that comes in with them, and it will earn an automatic D. In the real world, only formal reports come with such things; op-ed pieces do not, speeches certainly do not (for how can you hear a footnote number?), and most other kinds of business writing do not.

For the purposes of this class, forget that you know how to use a footnote—which does not mean that you do not have to cite your sources. That is to say, your assignments will call for research, the consideration of expert opinion, and the use of good, solid, accurate data. That research and the enlistment of good data and outside opinion, all of which add weight to the opinions you venture, can be acknowledged without footnotes in the following manner:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2013 that the rate of unemployment fell by 1.5 percent in the first quarter of that year.
  • As Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, told reporters in August 2008, the fundamentals of the economy remain strong.
  • In his influential book The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith advances the idea that a metaphorical invisible hand guides the market.
  • The famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith argued that the state has a responsibility to provide for the economic welfare of its citizens.
  • Milton Friedman, a champion of free-market economics, argued in many works that government interference in the marketplace has a negative, suppressive effect on wages.

Inserting your sources into an argument in this way makes your argument all the stronger. Who, after all, dares contest the wisdom of such important thinkers and data sets? The idea is to shore up your opinion to the point that it is unassailable. Outside of academia and the law, such shoring up takes place outside of footnotes. To repeat: We will not use footnotes, bibliographies, or other formal citations in this course.


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