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ECO-6007YAdvancedTopics in Economics (Spring 2016)

ECO-6007YAdvancedTopics in Economics (Spring 2016)
Coursework 3 ?Macroeconomics Essay (take-home assignment)
Contents of the Essay
The essay will be titled “Origins and Implications of Low Interest Rates”
The essay must contain two sections1 (that correspond to two “tasks” for you):
1. The ?rst section is an analytical summary in which you address the following questions
(a) When did interest rates start to decline in advanced economies?
(b) What are the possible causes of the global decline in interest rates?
(c) Why do low interest rates represent a challenging situation for policymakers?
(d) What kind of policies should be implemented according to economists and policymakers
involved in the current debate?
2. The second section contains your own considerations about the last point raised above
(“What kind of policies…”)
General guidelines and hints
Concerning your task 1: the analytical summary should be based on your reading of the
current literature. You can address the four points (a.?d.) by summarizing what you ?nd
in recent articles written by professional economists (academics, policymakers, researchers
working at international organizations… no journalists, please). In order to select your
literature, two good initial readings are:
?The Geneva Report on the World Economy 17. You do not need to read the
whole book: there are speci?c Chapters that more or less correspond to the four points
(a.?d.) listed above. You can ?nd the whole report on BlackBoard.
?The Introduction (pp.1-23) of the ebook Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and
Cures, edited by C.Teulings and R.Baldwin, CEPR Press (VoxEU.org Book). You can
?nd the whole ebook on BlackBoard.
Note that the two publications mentioned above are intended to be starting points. Try to
go beyond the Geneva Report ?in particular, when you address point “d. What kind of
policies…”, it is expected that you cite di¤erent articles from di¤erent authors.
1The actual total number of sections will depend on the format (individual or teams) that you choose: see below
for details.
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Concerning your task 2: your own considerations should contain a critical assessment
of the policy proposals that you describe in your analytical summary (point “d. What kind
of policies…”). Try to think about the pros and cons of each policy suggestion, highlight
the ideas that you ?nd more convincing and motivate your statements on the grounds of
economic reasoning.
The style of the essay should focus on expositional clarity but the reader should be able
to appreciate that your statements are based on rigorous economic logic. Try to write
something that looks simple but precise at the same time.
The essay must also contain a ?nal section of “Bibliographic references”
Deadline for submitting your work to the HUB in electronic format: 2 March 2016 (3pm)
Formats (individual, teams…)
Individual Essay Format
You should write a standard (single-authored) essay. WORD LIMIT: 1600 words.
Team-of-Two Format
You should work in a team of two. Your assignment should include a ?rst, jointly-written
section containing your “Task 1” (the analytical summary) and then two distinct, separately-
authored sections containing your “Task 2” (your own considerations) in which the two
authors present related or contrasting perspectives. OVERALLWORD LIMIT: 2200 words.
Team-of-Three Format
You should work in a team of three. Your assignment should include a ?rst, jointly-
written section containing your “Task 1” (the analytical summary) and then three distinct,
separately-authored sections containing your “Task 2” (your own considerations) in which
the two authors present related or contrasting perspectives. OVERALL WORD LIMIT:
2700 words.
Further speci?cations
If you choose one of the Team formats then the ?rst (jointly-written) section should use
no more than 25% of the overall word limit, and the individual sections should each use
no more than the equally-divided share of (the overall word limit minus the length of the
?rst section). You will receive an overall mark for the submission (re?ecting the quality of
the overall package) and also a separate mark for each of the individually-written sections.
Each team-member?s personal recorded mark will then be the arithmetic mean of the overall
mark and the mark for their own section.
If submitting as a Team essay, write the registration number of each of the team members
on the cover page, and the registration number of the individual author at the head of each
section, so that we can attribute the relevant credit.
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The essay will be marked anonymously: you should not include your name(s) anywhere on
the essay.
All assessed work should be typed, contain full bibliographic references and a word count.
Students must keep original coursework with comments attached and the electronic versions
of all work submitted for the duration of their period of study. This is because if plagiarism
is suspected, students may be asked to re-submit the electronic version of their coursework
(including previous years) for screening. Failure to provide the electronic version could result
in a mark of zero.
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