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 individual writing 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.
In the podcast, economist Kate Raworth introduces a new economic framework called the “Doughnut model.” She argues, “the blind pursuit of economic growth leaves out too many people and puts too much strain on the planet’s resources,” which runs counter to our understanding of traditional economic thinking. Imagine you are an economist and the President of the United States asks you to critically analyze the “Doughnut model.” Based on your analysis, you are to make a recommendation to the President.
Follow the paper outline below:
Introduction (10 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 (10 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 the “Doughnut model” (30 points): The President has heard about the Doughnut model but does not know enough to enact a policy. In this section, you need to explain what the Doughnut model is (i.e., you will need to research this, going beyond what has been explained in the podcast). Note, the President has taken ECON 102 before, so you should be able to explain the Doughnut model using the models we have learned throughout this course.
Critical Evaluation of the “Doughnut model” (40 points): This is the most important aspect of this assignment.
Students should focus on whether they agree/disagree with the Doughnut model 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 Doughnut model 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 a 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, 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 (10 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/lecture can account for one source. The textbook can account for one source.
How to format your assignment
- Your assignment should be typed, double-spaced, and have a font size of 12 points.
- Minimum of 3 pages (not including models, works cited page).
- The assignment should be in Word.
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. 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.
- You are encouraged to take advantage of Glendale Community College’s Writing Center. https://www.glendale.edu/students/student-services/learning-center-tutoring/writing-center
- Remember: NO PLAGIARISM!!! Your electronic work will be scanned for plagiarism using University software tools. Students must work on their writing assignments individually. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Students who commit any form of academic dishonesty described in the course syllabus and below will receive an “F” for the course and subject to disciplinary sanctions. Make sure you review the course policy on academic dishonesty.
- Academic Dishonesty: Any acts that violate the right of another student with respect to academic work or that involves misrepresentation of a student’s own academic work. Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) cheating on assignments or exams; plagiarizing (misrepresenting as one’s own anything done by another); submitting the same or substantially similar papers for more than one course without the consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another of necessary course materials, or sabotaging another’s work.
- Plagiarism: This involves passing off anyone else’s work as your own, and includes copying a whole paper or parts of it and claiming it as your own work. It also includes turning in your own same or essentially similar paper for two or more courses. Glendale Community College has very strict rules concerning plagiarism. If you use any other person’s work, words, or ideas, please cite and acknowledge the sources.
- Note that Glendale Community College has purchased a program that allows professors to check if any student paper, essay, or research paper has been copied or paraphrased from the Internet. I will use this program to check for plagiarism.
- A score of 10% or more is considered plagiarism and will receive an automatic F.