Why do brides spend so much money on wedding dresses, whereas grooms often rent cheap tuxedos, even though grooms could potentially wear their tuxedos on many other occasions and brides will never wear their dresses again? Why are child safety seats required in cars but not in airplanes? Why are round-trip fares from Hawaii to the US mainland higher than the corresponding fares from the US mainland to Hawaii? Why do airlines charge much more for tickets purchased at the last minute, yet theatres follow exactly the opposite practice? Why do many people buy larger houses when they retire and their own children leave home?
In 500 words or fewer, answer an original question of your choice which requires you to use a microeconomic principle, or principles, discussed in the module. You must create an original question.This question should involve a pattern of events or behaviour that you personally have observed. The issue you address need not be one traditionally analysed using economics, but your work should be an original application of economic logic and reasoning to something which interests you.
Examples of issues students elsewhere have addressed are shown above
Your question and the issue you address need not be important or worthy, but try to begin with an interesting question. You should check with your seminar tutor that the question you wish to address is suitable. The most successful answers begin with a really interesting question (one that makes the reader instantly curious to learn the answer) and then use an economic principle or principles to construct a plausible answer. You do not have to provide a complete solution to the question – the key is to apply economic principles to achieve an insight into the issue.
It should be written as if to a friend or relative who has never taken a course in economics. It must be clearly understood by such a person. It does not need diagrams or mathematics. It should not be heavily laden with economic jargon or terminology. You should not need to include references in this task since it is an original application of principles. However, if you draw upon sources these must be referenced. You are not expected to do extensive research in support of your argument, although a relevant fact or two might help convince yourself and others that you are on the right track.
Rationale for assessment design:
On successful completion of the module, the student will be expected to be able to demonstrate the following:
|Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual, practical, affective and transferable skills
|LO 1. Assess the ways in which resources are allocated within market based economies.
LO 2. Explain how firms and individuals are affected by different market structures, market failures, and the macroeconomy.
LO 3. Apply economic principles to the real world and communicate the results effectively.
It is important that we help you develop employability skills throughout your course which will assist you in securing employment and supporting you in your future career. During your course you will acquire a wide range of key skills. In this module, you will develop those identified below:
|Skill||Skills acquired in this module|
|Leadership/Management of others|
|Problem Solving and analytical skills||X|
Assessment will be by means of two tasks due at the end of the module: A 1,500 word essay and a 500 word applied economics task.
The assessment is based on meeting these learning outcomes, where the assessment task is linked to these learning outcomes.
Marking Criteria for Element 011 Task A – 500 WORD APPLIED ECONOMICS TASK
|Maximum of 20 marks available for this task||Feedback||Mark|
|Choice of topic (5 marks)
Is the topic suitable for the task? Is it clearly outlined? Are economic principles likely to yield insight? Is it original? Is it an interesting problem/topic?
|Application of principles (5 marks)
Are the principles used appropriate for the issue? Are they well applied?
|Insight into chosen topic (5 marks)
Is the analysis plausible? Have reasonable and insightful conclusions be drawn? Are they justified by the analysis?
NB a complete or definitive solution to the issue/question is not required
|Quality of explanation (5 marks)
Structure, clarity, use of language (including avoiding the use
of technical language). Could the answer be easily understood by non-economist?
How this assessment links to the summative assessment:
Task A of the assignment is designed to test your ability to apply the concepts covered in the module to the real world (Learning Outcome 3). It is taken from Robert H. Frank’s 2006 paper `The Economic Naturalist Writing Assignment’ in the Journal of Economic Education.
The first (and perhaps greatest) challenge is to pick the issue or question you wish to address. There are many examples online (so don’t think your tutors don’t know this). To give you an idea of what you should aim for some (very good) examples are available at:
Be sure to check with your seminar tutor that the issue you wish to address is suitable – if you pick an unsuitable topic it will constrain the maximum mark you can achieve. Interesting is good. If you can answer a puzzling question or provide an explanation of a phenomenon which appears counter-intuitive at first sight you will do well. Feel free to discuss your issue with others, and to try out your explanation on your friends and family. Although the word limit is 500 words, it is possible to submit an excellent answer which is significantly shorter.
You may find inspiration in the following, but you must devise your own question:
- Frank (2007) The economic naturalist: in search of explanations for everyday enigmas, New York: Perseus Publishing.
- Levitt and S. Dubner (2007) Freakonomics. London: Allen Lane. Or the accompanying blog at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
- Harford (2005) The Undercover Economist. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Or the accompanying blog at: http://timharford.com/articles/undercovereconomist/(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Feedback on formative assessment:
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