ECON-SHU1 Principles of Macroeconomics: Current Events
What’s Going On
This assignment is simple but will require some preparation. It will be worth 10% of your
course grade. It is due the last class lecture (December 14th).
For this assignment you will:
1) select five themes/topics/concepts from class, only one of which is drawn exclusively
from Part I (so that the focus overall is on macroeconomics). Your themes are not
constrained to be those explicitly given in the course or a single section.
2) find and read two news articles/commentaries/op-eds/analyses/etc. from English
language periodicals for each theme (so ten articles in total). The articles should
a. highlight some aspect of the chosen theme
b. be about recent events (September 2020 – December 2020)
c. cover distinct events or stories. Okay: one on US restriction on Huawei and one
on US-China tariffs. Not okay: two articles about the US election. Better: one
about global trade and another local businesses during Covid (if you can make
d. be between 500 and 1500 words long, as a guide. A typical lead article for the
Economist is about 1000 words. Feel free to explore if you find that the most
inspiring article for you falls outside this range, but reading the articles should
neither be trivial, nor burdensome.
3) write an essay for each theme (so five essays in total). Each essay should
a. include the theme in the title, e.g. Opportunity Cost: A Lover’s Rebuke or Empty
b. reference and briefly summarize both articles selected
i. enough that the reader knows your later references without themselves
reading the article
c. connect the chosen articles both to each other and your selected theme
d. argue for why your chosen theme is important (or not) as illustrated by the
events of the article AND course content
e. demonstrate personal reflection about the theme
f. be well-organized, clear, and free of major grammar mistakes
g. be between 500 – 1000 words (1 or 2 pages)
h. NOT be about the news articles themselves, but which uses these articles as an
opportunity to discuss your chosen theme
4) start your submission with your favorite essay. Have your least favorite essay last (see
5) collect your references on one page at the end
6) append the articles to the back of your submission
The total submission, not including the news articles, should be between five and ten pages (if
e.g. A4 10pt Times New Roman), though length is secondary.
1) The first essay is worth 30% of the total score.
i. Is the theme insightful? Are connections made beyond those directly
made by the textbook?
ii. Do the events of the articles relate to the theme in an interesting and/or
iii. Are the connections more general?
iv. Some sense of “depth”
b. Style: Pleasing and clear? Signs of personality?
i. Mechanics (grammar and spelling), length, relevance of theme and
2) The last essay is worth 10% of the total score.
a. Full marks for satisfying the basic requirements, with no regard for originality,
style, or depth. It could be a little under 500 words. I know it’s hard to have so
many great ideas the night before the due date. Just make sure you connect the
events of the articles to the theme.
3) The remaining essays are worth 20% each of the total score.
a. Well-executed essays with well-chosen articles on well-worn themes, e.g. Trade
Is Good…And Bad.
4) Points may “leak” points across essays at our discretion, so that two exceptional essays
might compensate for two weak ones.
5) The general grading idea is that I’d like you to really try and make connections with one
essay, even if that leaves you less time to work on some other idea that didn’t quite