Your research

Your research paper will be a cornerstone of your work in EC465 this semester. I look forward to being engaged with you during this process of conceiving and crafting an excellent piece of work.  For those of you who are IPE majors, your paper must be on an appropriate international topic.

Here are the deadlines for your paper:

  • Week 2 – review of NBER paper (Monday, September 19 in class)
  1. What is the author’s research question?
  2. Who is the author? Why do they want to answer the question?
  3. Do you think it’s an important question? Why or why not?
  4. What resources did the author use to answer their question?
  5. What did they conclude? Are you convinced by their conclusion? Why or why not?

Your review should be between two to three pages, double spaced.

  • Week 3 – paper proposal (Sunday, September 25 by 6:00PM)
  1. Your proposed research question.
  2. Why you want to answer this question?
  3. Why you think it’s an important question?
  4. The resources you will need.
  5. What are you looking forward to learning?
  • Week 4 – review of four journal articles (Sunday, October 9 by 6:00PM)
  1. What is the author’s research question?
  2. Is the author an authority in this field? How do you know?
  3. What resources did the author use to answer their question?
  4. What did they conclude? Are you convinced by their conclusion?
  5. How will this paper help you to answer your research question?
  • Week 9 – draft of paper (Sunday, November 13 by 6:00PM)
  • Week 10 – peer review due (Sunday, November 20 by 6:00PM)
  • Weeks 11 and 13 – paper presentations (November 28 – December 7)
  • Exam week – final draft due (Monday, December 19 by 5:00PM)

Here are some guidelines for the paper:

  • Select a specific question related to one of the broad topics we are treating in class. The question should be clear, well-defined, and above all one that you care about.  For example (based on my own research), “How does social capital affect the delivery of clean water in communities in rural Indonesia?”
  • Your analysis of such a question should demonstrate excellence in applying a specific aspect of economic theory to an environmental problem.  So at least one of the theories that we tackle in class — of common property resources, externalities, or sustainable development, to name three — should be featured in the first part of your paper.
  • Clear analysis of relevant data with statistical tools is strongly encouraged, but is not required.
  • Your analysis should also demonstrate your excellence in assessing the potential (or actual) policy solutions.
  • The paper should be typed in double space, no more than 25 pages of text.  The text should be followed by: a bibliography; supporting graphs (where applicable); and supporting tables (where applicable).
  • For formatting, you are required to use the use the Chicago Manual of Style.

Without placing you in too tight of a bind, a well-organized paper might proceed as follows:

1.   Introduction: Introduce your research question; offer a brief, persuasive explanation as to why your question is interesting; and present an overview of the paper’s organization.

2.   Background of the question: Summarize for the reader previous work related to your question: how has it been addressed (if at all) by others? The bulk of your literature review should be here.

3.   Application of environmental theory to the question:  Use the elements of a theory (or theories) to unpackage and explain the implications of your question. This could include a supply-demand framework, a game-theoretic model, and/or an institutional approach.

5. Empirical results: first present the data that you propose to use to answer your question and then detail the results. (This section might be in two parts.)

6.   Analysis of the current (or potential) policy solutions that are germane to your question: Based on your research, lay out a clear, detailed, and realistic set of policy recommendations.

7.   Conclusion: a punchy last page or two which summarizes your work and (briefly) considers ancillary implications and/or potential extensions.

Please let me know, throughout this thirteen-week process, if you have questions or concerns.


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