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 textbook) 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
Suggested paper topics
- 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.
- 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.
- Has the international trading system been beneficial or harmful for less developed countries?
- 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 the currency behaved the way that it did.
- 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, if anything?
- 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.)
- What would be the pros and cons of having the NAFTA countries all adopt the US dollar as their currency?
- How could and/or should countries have cooperated to deal with the recent (2008-9) slowdown in the world economy?
- Explain the sources of the recent crisis in the Eurozone economies and discuss options for dealing with it.
- Explain the disruptions to the economy of Russia that have happened recently and their causes and effects.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 should also be submitted electronically.
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.)
|Wednesday, January 21:
||E-mail topic for approval.
|Wednesday, February 11:
|Wednesday, March 18:
||First draft due electronically (comments returned by Mar 25)
|Wednesday, April 8:
||Final version due
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.
The paper should conform to the following format:
- Papers should be formatted for standard, white, 8 1/2 by
11 paper. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- All text pages must be numbered. Numbering of pages with tables
and graphs is desirable, but optional.