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Position Paper: Mandatory 10 hours of study a week - An Economist's Perspective


To apply the economics that you are learning to the complicated real world and to help you practice your writing skills.

You work as a Teaching Assistant for a math professor. The professor doesn’t know our economic terms and definitions, but she is smart and understands basic economic concepts. She expects the highest-level economic analysis you are capable of, in clear English, without any use of jargon. You must use only words – absolutely no tables, graphs, equations or bullet points.

She is not happy with the amount of time that her students are spending on her course. She thinks that if students truly understood how they could have improved their grade by putting in more effort, they would have spent more time on her course. Next semester she is going to make it mandatory for every student to work at least 10 hours a week on her course (including lecture + tutorial time). Assume she can enforce this. She claims that this will make students better off as they will get a higher grade. She wants to know your opinion on this as an economist.

1. Tells the professor whether you agree or disagree with her claim.

2. Details the criterion you are basing your judgement on and the reasoning behind your choice.

a. Your economic reasoning should use Eco 206 concepts - think about student’s choices and how this new rule will affect it etc.

b. You must be clear about the strengths and weaknesses of your position.

c. Attempt to convey the conditions under which your arguments hold and any potential missing elements.

1. An introduction (first paragraph) that gives the professor a clear answer – Agree or Disagree. In your thesis statement briefly explain what you will be arguing in the assignment and provide a concise summary of your reasoning.

2. Main body, structured into different paragraphs, that provides your analysis.

3. A short concluding paragraph that reiterates your clear answer and the reasons for that answer

• Length: You have a maximum of 750 words1 which should be about three pages when typed, with double spacing and using a font size of 12 points.

• Put the word count of your assignment in parentheses at the end. For example, “(737 words)”

• Every page of the assignment must have a header with your full name, student id number and the class information (i.e. Eco 206, Fall 2019)

• Each assignment should be either a docx or pdf document

Understanding the following definitions will help you write a better analysis.

• Jargon: Technical Economic terms that are difficult for non-economists to understand. e.g. MRS

• Thesis statement: One or two sentences that summarize the main argument you will make in the assignment.

• Claim: Statement or assertion that something that may be true or false

• Analysis: Systematic explanation of the economic reasoning behind your claim.

• Evidence: Data/information that support a particular idea/assumption/claim

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