Micro-Economics Policy Term Paper

| September 28, 2018

PPD501a
TERM PAPER GUIDELINES
Fall
2013

The term project is a paper of no
more than 4 pages.
To ensure that our definition of a page is consistent, please use no
smaller than a 12-point font, single spaced, with margins no smaller than 1
inch all around. Graphs and references may exceed the 4 page limit.
Citations may be in brief form, but make sure you do cite sources
when you use them.
This is not to be a re-submission of a paper you have done/are doing
for another course. It’s OK to overlap with work you have in another course,
but this paper should show application of of the concepts in this course.

Please submit it as a MS Word document, via email.
Place your name in the
filenameso that I can find it after saving it.

You have two options:

1. Select at least two published articles about a policy issue based
on an economic point of view. Critique them from the perspective of this
course. The articles do not have to be in a peer-reviewed journal; a working
paper, newspaper article, or blog entry would also qualify if they apply
economics to a policy issue.

2. Write a policy brief applying the basic concepts taught in this
course to a current issue that you choose. Assume you are writing for a policy
maker who is considering a decision on that issue, who needs advice from an
economic perspective.

Examples of policy issues for the project include:
Health care policy
(including the ACA and pharmaceutical pricing issues)
Public education
Public safety
(including responses to terrorism)
Housing, urban
planning, or urban transportation
Environmental
protection, natural resources management, and/or agriculture
Regulation and/or
public development of business activities
Regulation and/or
public development of media and/or intellectual property

BE
BRIEF. This is not a research paper. I am not asking you for facts and figures.
Your application of general concepts to an issue is far more important than
going out to look for facts.

In
general, I’m looking for:
* a micro
topic, not a macro one
* a policy
problem with economic insights, not a theoretical economic problem
* an
analysis that refers to either a demand
response to policy, a supply response
to policy, or a change in surplus
due to policy (think about the
theory of demand and how demand might be affected by policy, and about the
theory of supply and how supply might be affected by policy)
* an awareness that there are probably multiple
perspectives on the problem, not a one-sided analysis

Writing a short paper like this on a policy
problem, the biggest difficulty most students will face is focusing on one or
two key elements of the problem and ignoring everything else. You’ve been
trained to research in great detail and write comprehensively instead of in the
economist’s style of making simple abstract models that hold everything else
equal.

Don’t
try to convince me that you are right.
Try to show me that you have
thought about what makes the difference between being right and being wrong
in this case.
If that only depends on a few dollars here and there in your estimates,
your conclusions are not very robust. If
you can show your point with a model using variables and made-up numbers to
illustrate it, you will have a much more general and robust analysis of the
policy problem than if you try to nail down actual numbers.

Here is a list of some links that might be of use on a few of the
possible issues:

Minimum Wage and Labor
Issues
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-frederica-wilson/the-food-stamp-fight-part_b_3957855.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-frederica-wilson/raising-the-minimum-wage-_1_b_3845550.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-bernstein/minimum-wage-increase_b_3758960.html
http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/raising-the-minimum-wage-_b_2750336.html
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2013/02/would-a-minimum-wage-hike-lowe.html
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/economics_labor/
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/04/05/149997097/what-americans-buy
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the-middle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/03/20/149015363/what-america-does-for-work

The
Microsoft Monopoly Case
These documents are located on Blackboard.
The Software View
US v Microsoft findings of fact
EU v Microsoft news items
DeLong and Summers, The New Economy
Note: This case is now ancient history.
Perhaps you could comment on it from the perspective of subsequent events. However,
the case raises issues that are still relevant. Is Google a monopoly? Look up
the recent FTC litigation about e-book pricing, involving Apple, Amazon, Barnes
& Noble, and some others.

Miscellaneous

Does Copyright Make Books Disappear?


http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-zycher21jan21,0,3616358.story

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-me-debate21jan21,0,841677.story?coll=la-home-politics

http://blakemasters.com/post/21169325300/peter-thiels-cs183-startup-class-4-notes-essay
Henry
George, The Single Tax (pdf on Blackboard)
Paradis, Wood, & Cramer: A Policy
Analysis of Health Care Reform: Implications for Nurses, Nursing Economics, September-October 2009/Vol. 27/No. 5

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