Positive and Normative Analysis

This is a short paper assignment which includes both positive and normative analysis. The topic concerns the possible relationship between state government opening/closing policies and the incidence of COVID-19 infections.

1. Start by reading the article denoted “state openings” in the Coronavirus folder in Files. This will provide some information on the topic, especially different states’ policies. There should be some discussion of this or similar information early in your paper.

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2. Access the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard through this link https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/ (Links to an external site.) You will find a button titled: Timeline of COVID-19 policies, cases, and, deaths in your state. This provides access to the type of interactive graphs we viewed in class. Pick any two states to conduct analysis. Some are more interesting than others. You may also, for extra credit, consider additional states. Observe the data and see what relationships might exist, or not, between opening policy and infection rates. Understand that nothing is conclusive here but you can certainly draw some initial observations. In this section you will discuss this analysis.

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3. The data provided is very basic and there may be alternative explanations of infection rates. Discuss these possibilities. You may use outside sources but they are not required. If you do use any you must cite them.

4. Discuss opening/closing policy in terms of the concepts in today’s lecture and Chapters 1 and 2. Scarcity, opportunity costs, trade offs, incentives, etc.

5. Draw some conclusions from all the information you considered in your paper on what you think policies should be. THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWERS. There is a wide range of answers. For example you may feel strongly one way or another. Or you might decide there is not yet enough research to inform policy. You are graded on creative thinking and linking this final normative analysis to the positive analysis that comprised the majority of your paper—not on your opinions.

Outside sources are not required but you are encouraged to use them. If you use a source you must cite it. Also paraphrase, don’t direct quote. NO PEDIAS!

Good writing style is stressed. Divide your paper into logical, separate sections The numbers above may suggest a section structure but use whatever you think is best. Delineate sections with subheadings. Use proper paragraph structure and watch spelling and grammar.

I grade on quality not quantity. Normally I might suggest a length. I am not going to here. I want to see your creativity, interest, and knowledge. I want this exercise to be fun and stimulating.

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