Macroeconomics Term Paper

The term paper should be on a macroeconomic subject of your own choosing.  In most cases, you should find your subject in current events, but in rare cases, you may want to write about a theoretical or historical subject. I will be more interested in your argument and your analysis than in how many facts you have.  Your paper should have both of these features:

  1. It should contain an argument. For example, it is not enough just to describe pollution in the Hudson River. You should make an argument about why firms pollute the Hudson River, or about what the government should do to clean up the pollution, or about why the government should not take action to clean up the pollution, etc. When you are developing your argument, think of your reader as a person who will listen to reason, but who needs very good reasons in order to be persuaded, since s/he is inclined to disagree with you. If you think, for example, that the government should tax polluting emissions, imagine your reader to be someone who rather thinks the government should not tax: s/he will need to hear very good arguments from you, if s/he is to change her mind.
  • It should use some economic concepts, something you have learned in this class. This does not mean that you have to use graphs or algebra—although you may if you want.  Rather it means that you need to show that economic ideas can be useful in thinking about real-world problems.

Paper Guidelines

  1. You must clear your paper topic with me first. Just send me an email with your idea.
  2. The paper should be 4 – 6 pages typed with a 12 point font and double spaced.
  3. Papers will be written using the APA or MLA style.  The APA or MLA has specific guidelines for documenting your information. You will collect information, put that information in your own words and then tell the reader (me) where you got that information.
  4. Go to the Learning Assistance Center, in the basement of the library, and ask for the APA or MLA guidelines handouts. They cover the basics of proper APA or MLA documentation. You can also get then by selecting the library link from the pull down menu on the HVCC home page.
  5. You must use at minimum 5 legitimate sources (not all web sites). Legitimate sources are professional journals, magazines, newspapers and books. All sources require an author and date of publication.
  6. If the paper is late, a 5 point deduction will be taken off for the first day, and 2 additional points for each day thereafter.
  7. Submit your paper through a link provided at the bottom of Week 13 in lectures.

If you are having trouble coming up with a topic on your own, here are three topic examples that you may choose from, along with questions that you may want to address in a paper.

Issues you may want to address in a cigarette tax paper:
  1. Will cigarette taxes have the desired effect of reducing the demand for cigarettes?
  2. Do increases in cigarette taxes have any other effects?
  3. What are the distributional effects of cigarette taxes? Who pays for the bulk of the taxes: richer citizens or poorer citizens?
  4. What do governments spend cigarette tax revenues on? How much of the tax collected goes to programs designed to help people to stop smoking? How much of it goes to increased health care costs due to smoking?
Issues you may want to address in a stadium subsidies paper:
  1. What are the benefits to a town of building a new stadium?
  2. Can a new stadium revitalize a decaying section of a city?
  3. Do the benefits of the government building a new stadium outweigh the costs?
  4. Does the construction of new stadiums by the government have effects in either parts of the economy (either positive or negative)
Issues you may want to address in an economics and SUVs paper:
  1. What impact does the lower fuel economy of SUVs have on the economy? (Think both in terms of the price at the pump and the price in health care, environment etc).
  2. What impact does the safety record of SUVs have on the economy?
  3. If passed what impact will the California bill that requires cuts in the tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases by cars and light trucks have on SUVs and the economy?

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