• Current policy debates, e.g. free vs. fair trade
  • Controversial social issues related to firm or consumer behavior, e.g. profit maximization in the NFL
  • Tension between microeconomic theory and empirical evidence. e.g. does raising the minimum wage cause unemployment ? 


My expectation is that you will lay out a debate or controversy (does not just need to be just two sided debate), clearly articulate the sides of this debate (using the theory you learned in this class, you can included graphs in your paper if you would like), and finally add in your own voice into the paper. You don’t necessarily have to “choose a side” but you need to analyze the debate in a way that moves beyond the arguments in the sources you use.  The paper is one of the key ways in which I am evaluating your intellectual development in the course, so I am expecting a level of sophistication in your engagement with the material.

Length: 1300-1500 words (about 5 pages double spaced). Do not go over 1500 words! Word count does NOT include works cited.

Citations:  I expect that you will use AT LEAST 4 outside sources for your paper. These can be news article, peer-reviewed journal articles, books, etc. You must cite all source on a works cited page, and include in text citation with page numbers.


  • Do not just quote sources. Read the material, think about it, and discuss in YOUR OWN WORDS. Even when you paraphrase , you MUST open the sentence or paragraph explaining where the argument came from AND add an in text citation at the end of the sentence or paragraph. This is called the sandwich method of citation.
  • When you express your opinion it should be based on logic, observations, or evidence from sources. Its ok to write in first person.
  • Use spell check and proofread! I will take off points if it’s clear you have not proofread your paper.

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