Assignment 3: Essay Topic Proposal and Preliminary Bibliography
This assignment should consist of two pages. The first page is the topic proposal. The proposal should be
informed by preliminary reading that you have done on your topic and should contain:
(1) A clear, precise statement of the topic you have chosen for your essay: Try to state your topic in the
form of a question or hypothesis. E.g., rather than “China’s One-Child Policy,” state your topic something
like “To What Extent Did the One-Child Policy Reduced Fertility in China?”
(2) A summary of the main issues or aspects of the topic that you expect to examine in your essay: The
summary can be a few paragraphs long and should outline major aspects of the topic that you have
identified in your preliminary reading and plan to cover in your essay. It should reflect and refer to your
preliminary reading on the topic.
If you have any questions or want input on any issues, you can ask in the proposal. A key purpose of this
assignment is to give you a chance to receive some feedback and suggestions.
The second page is a preliminary bibliography. It should contain 5 to 10 references, all of which YOU HAVE
READ to inform your proposal. Do not include any references that you have not read. These should be mostly
scholarly references–books, articles from scholarly journals, scholarly working papers, and such. At least one
should be about the economics of your topic, e.g., if you choose China’s one-child policy, then you should
look for and read some scholarly writing about the economics of population and development.
Note: I encourage you to pick an essay topic that is related to your group topic. It is okay to modify or change
your topic after turning in the proposal, but you must consult with me if your topic is changing substantially. I
will not accept an essay on a topic that is substantially different from your topic proposal unless you have
discussed the new topic with me well in advance of the essay due date. The topic proposal and essay are
individual, not group, assignments; however, I encourage you to discuss your essay with your group or other
classmates, so as to get feedback and suggestions.
Format of assignment: Single space; 11 or 12 point font; 2.54 cm margins. The bibliography should follow a
consistent, standard format and give full bibliographic information about each source.
Where to look for literature on your topic: The reading list for the group presentation assignment; the course
reading list; Econlit (a database of economics publications available via Western Libraries online; Google
Scholar; references at the ends of the chapters in the textbook.
Here are a few of the many websites that contain working papers and research resources on China’s economy:
http://www.nber.org/workinggroups/papers/CE.html (National Bureau of Economic Research China
Economy Working Group) –mostly macroeconomic topics
Institute for International Economics)
http://www.worldbank.org/reference/?lang=en (World Bank—click on “data,” “publications” or “research,”
then look for working papers, articles, data, etc. on your topic)
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/wp1_sp.aspx (IMF publications, e.g., working papers and country
reports)—mostly macroeconomic topics
http://en.nsd.pku.edu.cn/publications/workingpaper/index.htm (Peking University National School of
https://www.brookings.edu/center/john-l-thornton-china-center/?type=research (Brookings Institution
Thornton China Center–some analyses and research papers some about politics and policies)
1E.g., search for “chin*”, which will retrieve publications that contain “China” and “Chinese.”.
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