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Paper #2

Fall 2017 Levinson Paper #2 Smitka sections
Due Friday 17 November

This paper should be neatly printed in double space, edited and proofread. I encourage you to work with someone to make sure you have a clear theme, good examples, and compact prose. Please feel free to schedule time with the Wms School Communication Center in the basement of Huntley. They will want you to bring a draft with you.

You will need a paragraph to state your topic, though your first sentence should provide a succinct statement. You likely need 3-5 paragraphs to develop your topic. Conclude with a paragraph (or two). Don't summarize or otherwise repeat things you've just said. Rather, wrap your paper up by noting a questions that Levinson leaves unanswered, or an argument you find incomplete or insufficiently detailed to be compelling.

The target length is to be as brief as you argument permits, which is likely 3-5 pages double-spaced. If you are concise you can make a good argument in 3 pages, but 5 pages is acceptable. If you're writing 8 pages, that'd better be because of extensive quotes or other evidence from the book that take up space, and not because your prose is prolix!

Use inline citations (the page number in parentheses), not footnotes or endnotes. It is entirely appropriate to use quotes from the book. If lengthy, double-indent and single-space. I don't expect you to use outside sources, through a graph from FRED may help you make a point or question one of his claims.

The Levinson book is rich in its array of macroeconomic themes. The second half, for example, begins in Chapter 9 with Simon Kuznets and income distribution, which leads in a circuitous manner to a discussion of social insurance and anti-tax political movements. Earlier he looked at Karl Schiller and the planning mindset of running an economy – he could have looked at Minister of Finance (and later Prime Minister) Ikeda (池田勇人) in Japan – and Raul Prebisch and import substitution policy in developing countries. Then there's Arthur Burns with rule-of-thumb monetary policy, and the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements that was an outgrowth of a series of bank crises rooted in the globalization of finance. The book does not lack in themes!

However, most of these do not tie in directly with the "principle" theories we develop in Econ 102. Your paper would be much the better if you do that. Hence I suggest the following themes ... (list may not yet be complete)

  • Focus on one demand-side policy response (direct or indirect) to the return to Our Ordinary Time.
    1. What was this policy, and how does it in principle affect the macroeconomy?
    2. What did this policy in fact accomplish?
    3. What side effects did it have?
    4. Other details? Did an array of countries do this, and did it work the same everywhere? (This extension is a possible conclusion to your paper.)
  • Focus on one supply-side policy response, as above. Note that this is probably a harder topic. I give this as an example of a possible alternate topic.

    1. What was this policy, and in principle how does it affect the macroeconomy?
    2. Did it accomplish this goal?
    3. Exceptions / extensions for your conclusion!
  • Other topics – run them past me so that I can make sure you don't wander too far from our Principles. Examples might include the international debt crisis or shifts in regulation of the financial system and their successes and failures