Problem sets and research project

The eight problem sets can be found on the canvas site via our Canvas site. As a reminder, only seven of the eight exercises will count for your grade (but you must complete Problem Set 8). The answers for the exercises will be shared on Canvas.

Your 12-page research paper will be due on Sunday, December 13th, the last day of the exam period (with a one-day grace period until Monday, December 14th). Here are the detailed expectations for your research paper:

  1. The title of your paper should be a research question related to (in the words of the COREecon team) “Economics for a changing world.” The question should be solution-oriented, echoing the good work of the economists whom we learned from in Week 1. For example, building on the examples from that page:
    “How could baby bonds reduce inequality?”
    “How does access to mobile money reduce poverty in East Africa?”
    “How could reduction of automobile emissions reduce infant mortality?”
  2. The introduction of the paper should make a case for the importance of the question and clarify why economics helps to answer the question. In this section you may share related questions (e.g., “What policies would be most likely to promote the use of mobile money?”)
  3. The next section should present data related to the question. You don’t have to formally analyze the data; you do have to clearly source and present the data and describe how the data helps inform your question. For example, if you are studying a question related to the the determinants of maternal health, you could plot maternal mortality and GDP/capita. Possible sources include Gapminder, Our World in Data, and the World Bank. and the ICPSR. And at the Davis Family Library, Ryan Clement is an amazing source for finding data.
  4. The next section should show how the tools of economics can be used to address your question, given the data you have presented. This section should include (a) a graphical presentation related to an underlying model; (b) academic references to related to your question–i.e., the research of past and current economists–and ; (c) your assessment of their research and its implications.
  5. The final section should include your recommendations for moving forward. Based on your research, what policies should be enacted to help improve well-being and/or improve the health of our biosphere, and who should enact these policies?
  6. A concluding paragraph should summarize what you have learned.

Should you not be sure how to choose a research question, the material in our text is of course a great foundation. In particular, peruse the last five chapters: many good ideas are lurking in there.

The text of your paper should be no more than 12 pages, double-spaced. In addition, your paper should start with a title page and conclude with your references and (if needed) any appendices (for example, to detail your data sources or include additional graphical modeling.) For the in-text citations and the reference list entries in your references page, please use the author-date system of the Chicago Manual of Style.

In each of the final four exercises, I will give you specific prompts to help your move forward with this paper. Your answers to those prompts will allow me to reach out and help you to make the most out of this assignment.

Please let me know what questions you ave about this research paper. All told, I have designed to help you appreciate how economics can be used to improve the human condition, broadly defined.

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