In order to get honors conversion credit for this course, students who are in the college honors program will need to submit three assignments, the last being a short term paper for the course and the first two being preliminary assignments leading up to the term paper. The paper should address a question of your choice in international economics, one that you can answer with a combination of simple economic theory (which you can draw from the text) and economic data. The question can be one that you make up yourself, with my approval, or it can be adapted from the list below. It is not expected that you will do any reading of economic literature beyond the regular reading assignments for the course. However, you will need to search out data to answer your question, on the web or in other sources.

Suggested paper topics

  1. Pick a country other than the United States, describe its trade pattern (what goods and services it exports, and what it imports, to and from whom), and examine the reasons for this pattern of trade.
  2. Pick an example of international trade policy, such as a particular trade restriction that some country has imposed or proposed, and discuss the likely effects that this policy will have had or would have, and the reasons for it.
  3. Has the international trading system been beneficial or harmful for less developed countries?
  4. Pick a country and find data on how the value of its currency has changed over time -- the last 30 years, say. Then provide whatever explanation you can about why it behaved the way that it did.
  5. How does the United States gain, or lose, from having a large current account deficit, and how does the US deficit also affect other countries? What can and/or should be done about it?
  6. Describe and explain a past international financial crisis (such as the crisis in Argentina in 2001, the 1997 Asian Crisis, the 1994 Mexican peso crisis, etc.)
  7. What would be the pros and cons of having the NAFTA countries all adopt the US dollar as their currency?
  8. How could and/or should countries have cooperated to deal with the recent (2008-9) slowdown in the world economy?
  9. Explain the sources of the recent crisis in the Eurozone economies and discuss options for dealing with it.

Your assignment

  1. Pick a paper topic, either one that you design yourself or one from the above list, making it more specific where necessary. Send me an e-mail telling me your topic and, if you design your own, you should describe it, for my suggestions and approval.
  2. Write a one-paragraph proposal (1/2 to 1 page, no more) that describes the question your paper will address and how you propose to answer it. This should include mention (but without details) of the concepts, theories, and/or models that you will draw upon to explain the problem (from the textbook, most likely), plus reference to the source or sources of data that you expect to use. Send this proposal to me by e-mail.
  3. Next you should write a first draft of your paper. The text of your paper should be no more than five pages double spaced, not including any tables and graphs. (If you can't keep it that short, narrow your topic.) You should prepare the paper, following the format instructions below, as a Word ".doc" or ".docx" file, then send it to me as an e-mail attachment so that I can insert my comments electronically.
  4. After you get the draft back from me with my comments, produce the final version of the paper responding to those comments as needed. Unless I tell you otherwise in my comments, the final version should also satisfy the five-page limit. The final version may be submitted either electronically or as a hard copy.

Schedule

These parts of the assignment should be turned in, at the latest, by the beginning of class on the dates below. (If you turn something in before these dates, I will try to return it to you earlier.)

Monday, January 20: E-mail topic for approval.
Monday, February 10: Proposal due
Monday, March 17: First draft due electronically (comments returned by Mar 26)
Monday, April 7: Final version due

Evaluation

Evaluation of your project will be based on both the quality of the economic analysis and the quality of the writing, in the final version only, and on the extent to which you have followed the instructions and met the deadlines specified. The evaluation will not matter for your grade in the course. If I do not think that the final paper you turn in is of honors quality, then I will not give you honors credit.

Paper Format

The paper should conform to the following format:

  1. Papers should be formatted for standard, white, 8 1/2 by 11 paper, and if printed should be on one side of the paper only. Text should be in a legible 11- or 12-point font, double spaced, with 1- to 1.5-inch margins. Be sure that paragraphs are clearly separated, either by indenting the first line or by extra spacing.
  2. A title page should include (only) the title of the paper; author's name, e-mail address, and student number; the course number; and the date. Title page does not count as part of the five-page limit.
  3. Data should be presented in tables and/or graphs, on separate pages following the text, with the sources of the data clearly identified. Be sure to report enough about the data so that it can be understood, including the date(s) and place(s) to which it refers and units of measurement.
  4. If you use textual sources other than the course textbook (you needn't), you should list them in a bibliography on a separate page (not counted among the five). References to the textbook can be done within your paper's text, by author and page or chapter as needed. (E.g., "... following Gerber's (p. 59) explanation of the Heckscher-Ohlin Model...".) Data sources may be identified on the pages of tables or graphs only, including the web address (URL) for anything from the web.
  5. All text pages must be numbered. Numbering of pages with tables and graphs is desirable, but optional.
  6. If you print the final version of the paper, do not use covers or binders. Attach the pages only using a staple in the upper-left-hand corner.