Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fiscal New Year Party 2012

As most of you are seniors, you know that the Economics Department hosts a party every year when the federal budget turns over. That day has come.

Friday, September 28 in the Economics Main Office. 1-4pm

Poker, Monopoly, trivia, prizes, and delicious food. Possibly some brownie points as well.

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Assignment #5

Read Poor Economics, Chapter 4 by Banerjee and Duflo, “Top of the Class”. In post of less than 500 words, answer the following questions in a clear, concise manner. This assignment is due on Friday, September 28 at 9am.

  1. Find a news article or recent blog post (within the last six months) that addresses some of the same issues presented in the book. Offer a compare and contrast analysis of an issue in the book to the article you found. Which story do you find more convincing? How are the stories different? What additional information would you like to see? What statistics or numbers do the authors of each use to make their case?
  2. Make sure to mention the news article or blog post in your post and link to the article or blog using the link function on your toolbar.
  3. Leave a comment for the author on the original post or article with a short summary of your own thoughts the matter. You can even link back to your post in the comment.

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Blogging partners

Remember to comment on your blogging partners’ posts and respond to the comments on your posts. Posts are due on Fridays at 9am. Comments are due on Mondays at 9am.

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Assignment #4

Carefully read Chapter 3, “Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?”, of Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.  In a blog post, address the following questions in a clear, concise, and organized manner. Limit your post to 500 words. This post is due Friday, September 21 at 9am.

  1. Summarize the argument or thesis of the chapter.
  2. Find four supporting statistics in the chapter.
    • List them, along with page numbers.
    • Explain how these statistics are important to telling the chapter’s story.
    • For instance, is the order important? What about the way they discuss the statistics before and after it is given? Do you find them believable? Do they detract from the story in any observable way?

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Gondwe Lecture

GondweMem Lectureposter12

The 7th Annual Gondwe Lecture will take place on Thursday, September 27th at 5pm in Joseph Theater in Breidenbaugh. If you attend and write it up in a blog post, related to econometric methods and your readings in Poor Economics, you will receive extra credit (or it may count towards replacing a missed post). Details are below.

Unlocking Africa’s Potential

Despite being one of the world’s greatest repositories of natural and human resources, encouraging signs in democracy and governance in a number of the continent’s countries and stellar economic performance in the last and the current decade, Africa remains one of the world’s poorest performers in development.
Yet with its population dividend, giant leaps in technology and potential for ecologically sound development, Africa is clearly on the brink.  Will the continent “dare to invent the future” as Thomas Sankara, once hoped; not only for itself, but for the entire global community?  What are the key factors to unlocking Africa’s phenomenal potential?

According to Kah Walla, presidential candidate in Cameroon’s last elections and one of Africa’s foremost political thinkers; innovative approaches to governance, economic growth, the integration of gender and the environment in all development strategies are all key elements for unlocking Africa’s potential.

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Assignment #3

Your topic, thesis statement and data set are due this Friday, September 14, so in addition, I’d like you to blog a bit about what you intend to discover with your project, what is the motivation behind it, what do your data look like, what kind of prior research or additional information do you need to go forward? Limit your post to 400 words. You will also have the same blogging partners as last week. Read their posts about their projects and offer comments and ideas about how to focus or narrow down the project, about an article or book that may be of help, or a related question. You must comment on each of your blogging partner’s posts and respond to comments on your posts to get full credit for this assignment.

Don’t forget that Friday is a library day. We will be meeting in the library classroom on the first floor with librarian Ronalee Ciocco. Bring a printout of this blog post and be prepared with questions about where you can find information on your topic. Attendance is required.

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Assignment #2

Having read Chapters 2 and 3 of Poor Economics, give some of your first impressions of the book. For instance: How do they present their arguments? Are they convincing? What other information would you like to see in the book? What have they told you that you didn’t already know?

  1. Choose one of the following three questions to expand your blog post. Use the bulleted points below to guide your writing. Limit your entire blog post to 400 words maximum.

Possible questions:

  1. Find the place on page 26 where the authors state the percentage of people in the world who do not have enough food. What does this statement mean? What does it hide?
    • How do the authors introduce the statistic?
    • How do they use the statistic to reinforce the basic thesis of the chapter?
    • What questions do you have about the statistic? Is it realistic? What is missing? Are there alternative interpretations?
  2. What is a hunger-based poverty trap? How do the authors use statistics to show its existence? Do you believe them?
  3. What do the authors claim about share of the household budget devoted to food?
    • How do the authors introduce the statistic?
    • How do they use the statistic to reinforce the basic thesis of the chapter?
    • What questions do you have about the statistic? Is it realistic? What is missing? Are there alternative interpretations?

    Finally, you’ll be assigned two to three blogging partners in class on Monday. You should exchange blog addresses with these students as soon as possible. Following the post that is due on Friday, you should comment on your peers’ posts and respond to their comments by Monday. Did your blogging partners come to the same conclusions as you? Did they make their argument well? What assumptions did they employ in making their arguments? What questions do you have for them?

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