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Challenges and Debates in Economics


Answer one question. All questions are equally weighted.

1)Explain the significance of any two of the findings on ideological biases within economics identified by Javdani and Chang and elaborate on how they might be addressed in the future.

2)Why are merit goods of particular relevance to Sandel’s identification of the negative consequences of a market society?

3)If both the law and the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility suggest that a company should pay its fair share of tax, to what extent should corporations be considered socially irresponsible if they actively avoid this social obligation?

4)“More than 30 years later, prospect theory is still widely viewed as the best available description of how people evaluate risk in experimental settings. Kahneman and Tversky’s papers on prospect theory have been cited tens of thousands of times and were decisive in the awarding to Kahneman, in 2002, of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences” (Barberis, 2013:173).

·Identify how prospect theory contradicts neoclassical utility theory and the implications for consumer behaviour when faced with uncertainty.

5)Using specific examples of policy interventions, discuss why policymakers have sought to apply behavioural economics to some regulatory policy areas.

6)“It shouldn’t be radical politics to want to save the planet, the economy, democracy, and us. It should be what it is: common sense.” (Haque, 2019)

·If we have only until 2030 to ‘limit climate change catastrophe’, what can economics do to help?

7)"While it was deemed acceptable to bail out the banking system with minimal interference in their subsequent recovery process, the Covid-19 crisis is likely to demand a much more intrusive interference in the normal functioning of the economy. Whole sectors may need to be shut down ... In the UK, this has effectively required a Conservative government, previously wedded to a belief in market forces, to take over responsibility for paying a large fraction of the private sector wage bill. "  

Michael Best and John Bradley (2020)

·How might the Covid-19 pandemic change the discipline of economics in the future?

Learning Outcomes

Assessments relate directly to the module’s learning outcomes (below). The coursework’s assessment criteria will reflect the following learning outcomes:

Demonstrate awareness of debates within and about economics

Discuss and analyse economic issues, utilising suitable tools of analysis

Critically assess applications of selected micro and macro models to contemporary economic contexts, with awareness of alternatives to orthodox theory

Critically survey published literature from a variety of sources and engage effectively with online research tools.

Assessment criteria

The essay must:

Provide evidence of relevant reading and research.

Demonstrate a clear and concise writing style.

Demonstrate the student’s understanding of any theoretical concepts that the question addresses.

Show that reflection and development from in-class discussion and lecture materials has occurred.

Draw appropriate conclusions that fit with the preceding analysis.


The essay should be typed in 12 point Arial or Helvetica (with 1.5 line spacing) and follow an essay-style format

It should identify a minimum of five “academic” sources. “Academic” sources are textbooks, academic journal articles and, at this level, business analysis sources such as The Economist.

The word count excludes the title page and reference list.

The maximum word count is 1250 words. Essays should not be less than 750 words.

It must be submitted in digital form to the Turnitin assignment drop-box on the module’s Blackboard site. Digital submissions must be received by the assignment deadline. Don’t assume instantaneous delivery.

Good referencing and academic practice will be credited, as will good standards of written English.


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