Economics Research Paper and Final Exam Project
Now that you have acquired some knowledge about Economics, it is time to put your new skills
and understandings to good use. Controversial problems and issues abound in the world today and
nearly all of them may be understood in economic terms. Choose a topic of interest to you,
research it well and create a short report summarizing your findings or a short essay
recommending how a problem might be solved. Either way, you should demonstrate economic
thinking in your paper through the use of concepts you have learned in class (such as:
Cost/benefit analysis, marginal utility, opportunity cost, shifts in supply and demand, market
price, economies of scale, predicting changes in price, market structures, etc.). You may not
choose a topic that is similar to your first project.
State college funding
Immigration (in the U.S. or elsewhere)
Minimum wage debate
Homelessness (Colorado or U.S. or elsewhere)
The world market for oil (predictions of future price? Where does the U. S. get oil?)
Alternative energy sources (hybrid cars? Alternative energy sources?)
Poverty (local or global)
The Millennium Project (project to reduce world poverty 50% by 2015)
Sports (Pro., college, or high school, player endorsements, football contracts, salaries of stars vs.
average starter salary, steroid use and penalties, Title IX)
Music industry vs. file sharing (copyright issues)
Media markets (radio stations and newspapers and television stations all owned by the same
Cable television/ Dish networks/ Digital television
Radio stations (Denver market/ XM/ Clear channel)
Labor unions and strikes
Pharmaceutical companies—Prices of medications
Corrupt CEO’s and new laws to stop them
International trade: helpful or harmful?
Consumer debt in the U. S.
U.S. trade deficit
College tuition increases
The World Trade Organization
The International Monetary Fund
The future of China
The future of India
Lawsuits against tobacco companies
Economic effects of war with Iraq
The European Union (new admissions? Does anyone want to join?)
Soft drink companies (contracts with school districts)
Internet commerce (taxes?)
Tourism and travel
Library databases hold many full-text magazine, journal, and newspaper articles. Databases may
be accessed from your home computer through the Jefferson County Public Library homepage
http://Jefferson.lib.co.us/. Click on “Research Tools” and then “newspapers and magazines.”
(EBSCOhost- Academic Search Premiere and GaleNet are good places to start). Look for articles
in periodicals such as The Economist and economic journals.
•Bureau of Economic Analysis
•U. S. Dept. of the Census
•U. S. Department of Commerce
•The Library of Economics and Liberty
•Statistical Abstract of the United States (found in any library or online)
Tips for writing an excellent paper
Never use first or second person. Third person only. (do not use “I” or “we”)
Cite all information that is not common knowledge using parenthetical citation. This
includes facts that you use in your paper, but are not direct quotes. This also
includes the opinions of experts.
• Be as clear as possible. Do not leave the reader confused.
• Stay on topic (a good outline will help with this)
Pretend your reader knows nothing about the topic you are writing about (do not
leave out any important details/ do not assume I know what you mean—make it so
clear that no one could misinterpret your paper)
Make sure you identify exactly who and what you are writing about. Avoid using
pronouns such as “they” and “them”
• Do not use contractions (write “can not” rather than “can’t”)
• Plan out your work
• Proofread your paper
Have someone else proofread your paper, is it clear to someone unfamiliar with
• Review the rubric
• Proofread your paper again
Examples of correct use of economic terminology:
From a paper on female garment workers in Bangladesh:
In Bangladesh, female garment workers are the primary wage earners in many
households (Hewett 7). Because time spent working is time that cannot be spent in
school, education often becomes the opportunity cost these young women pay in order
From a paper on the New York Newsboy’s Strike of 1899:
The owners of the two newspapers knew that consumer demand for the newspapers
was elastic and, therefore, neither company could raise newspaper prices without losing
demand. However, the owners believed that the demand for newspapers by newsboys
who sold papers on the street was inelastic. The owners raised the price newsboys paid
for the papers to $.60 per paper from the previous $.50 per paper expecting the
newsboys to continue purchasing the papers just the same (Gambol 14).
From a paper on sweatshops:
One major cost of producing clothing is labor. Therefore, companies that can minimize the cost of labor in
their factories will have lower marginal costs for each item produced.
From a paper on the airline industry:
Economies of scale exist in the airline industry because it costs the airline very little to add one more
passenger to a plane. Therefore, the airline has an incentive to offer reduced price tickets very near the
time of departure. Airlines would gladly accept even a small amount of marginal revenue from another ticket
sale in exchange for an empty seat.
Use in-text citation
See me if you have questions or need help
Report Criteria 5 3 1 Weight
The paper is clear and Development is basic or The paper has no clear X6
focused. Main ideas are general. Support is sense of purpose. (30 points
Support clear and well supported attempted, but doesn’t go Information is limited or
with relevant facts. far enough to show strong unclear or main ideas
Subject is well researched. sense of purpose. Main may be difficult to find.
Relevant information and ideas are reasonably The text may read like
quality details give the clear, though they may not a collection of
reader important be detailed or expanded disconnected, random
information that goes enough to show strong thoughts with no
beyond the obvious or purpose. More research discernable point.
predictable and leaves the may be needed or the Works cited page
reader with few questions. reader may be left with includes fewer than two
Works cited page includes many questions. Works sources.
at least five sources. One cited page includes at
source must be a book, 3 least three sources.
sources must be articles
from a newspaper or
Student utilizes economic Student attempts to use Economic reasoning, X8
reasoning throughout the economic reasoning terms and concepts are (40 points
Reasoning paper. Many applicable throughout the paper. absent from the paper
economic terms and Economic terms and or the paper shows
concepts are used to fully concepts are mentioned, little evidence of
explain the topic through an but fail to fully explain the economic reasoning.
economic perspective. topic through an economic
Student cites all quotes and Student cites all quotes Student fails to cite X2
facts that are not common and facts that are not quotes and facts that (10 points
and Works knowledge using in-text common knowledge using are not common
Cited Page citation. in-text citation. Works knowledge using in-text
Works cited page is free of cited page is generally free citation. Works cited
error. of error. page contains many
Student incorporates Student incorporates data Student includes no X2
relevant data in the form of in the form of charts, data in the form of (10 points
Graphs or Data charts, graphs, or tables graphs, or tables into the charts, graphs, or
into the paper. The visuals paper, but the data may tables into the paper.
enhance and support the not be particularly relevant
content of the paper. to the topic.
No more than one error in No more than three errors More than three errors X1
spelling, punctuation, in spelling, punctuation, in spelling, punctuation, (5 points
capitalization, grammar, capitalization, grammar, capitalization,
usage, or paragraphing usage, or paragraphing grammar, usage, or
occurs in the paper. occur in the paper. paragraphing occur in
__Normal (1-1.5” ) margins Problems exist with cover Problems exist with X1
__Font is always Times page, margins, font, or cover page, margins, (5 points
New Roman 12 point, overall neatness and font, or overall
__ 4-5 pages, double- presentation. neatness and
Total = 100 points