The Economics of Impact

– Objective: There are many serious global issues which affect students, citizens, and the environment. This project requires students to engage with these issues in an in-depth manner, demonstrate the applications of key course concepts, and propose potential solutions through policy recommendations (driven by economic analysis).
– Outline: Multiple concepts in Economics represent valuable analytical tools. Supply/Demand, GDP, percentage change formulas, inflation calculation, and statistics/correlation allow us to analyze the world in an in-depth manner. We use these tools to glean valuable information and perform research or analysis. The applications of these tools is extremely high (Economics, data analysis, city-planning, statistical research, etc.) The goal of this project is for you, the student, to demonstrate the value of our subject in a concrete and analytically-focused manner. This project will involve three key steps: Students will begin by choosing a global issue that resonates with them. Research will allow others to understand the complexities of this issue. There are many potential issues that students can focus on (Income inequality, climate change, global poverty, lack of education, malnutrition, etc.) The 2nd step requires students to demonstrate how topics/concepts from our class allow us to understand these global issues in a more in-depth manner. The 3rd step requires students to step into the shoes of a policy maker by making recommendations for further research or policies which can improve outcomes for those affected by these serious global issues.
– Step 1: Research and choose a global issue that resonates with you. Focuses on the types of global issues that affect many of individuals worldwide. I believe it is vital for students to be knowledgeable about these issues which affect so many. Here are some important elements to consider while researching:-Who is affected by this global issue (globally, locally, by country, etc.)?-The history of the issue: Where did it originate? How long has this issue been around for? What region(s) were affected first? How have things changed in far back reaching or more recent years? -Important data & statistics (to concretely demonstrate the severity of this issue)-What are some of the ramifications/consequences of this issue? Ex: High income inequality has led many poor individuals to borrow money to afford certain everyday goods (housing, cars, school, etc.) -Have governments or other policy makers intervened to improve outcomes?What was the efficacy of these policies?-Personal experiences or anecdotes? -Visual aids should be used in this section and steps 2 and 3 as well
– Note: Your issue does not necessarily have to affect the entire globe or populations of countries. However, it should affect enough individuals to be considered a serious issue.
– Step 2: This step requires students to utilize their current economic knowledge. Application of Course Concepts: We will cover many different topics throughout this course. Students will be required to use these concepts to analyze their chosen market. Please make sure to reference material from multiple parts of the course to more fully understand this issue. For instance, the market forces of supply & demand, GDP, the financial system, inflation, growth rates, unemployment, productivity and growth, and the open macro-economy, and aggregate demand/aggregate supply represent valuable analytical tools.Note: We will also have a lecture devoted to econometrics/statistics. This class will provide multiple new concepts related to potential economic analysis. The article analysis were practice for step 2 of the final project. As you have demonstrated the importance of our course material in the context of current event news, your analytical skills have been honed. I encourage students to employ these skills for the final project as well. Examples of applications for course concepts:-How can our understanding of GDP/economic growth increase understanding of high levels of income inequality?-What role does statistical analysis play in understanding any serious global issue in a more in-depth manner?-In which ways does the financial system alleviate or exacerbate certain issues (recall our presentation on the Guatemalan education presentation)?-When can we utilize the model of aggregate demand/aggregate supply to understand certain issues better (this is our final model of the semester)?-Do our calculations of various economics variables (unemployment, inflation, interest rates, the time value of money, etc.) contribute to better understanding of a serious economic situation?
– Step 3: Recommendations for policymakers, governments, or fellow students. The primary purpose of this project is for students to utilize relevant course concepts to derive valuable conclusions. These conclusions will facilitate decision making by policymakers and related individuals/institutions. -Make sure your recommendations are supported by hard evidence, key course concepts/theories, or critical thinking. -It is unlikely that you will be experts in this issue by the end of this project. However, think carefully about how the knowledge you have gained can make an impact. -I highly encourage students to express multiple recommendations (at least 3) to more than one group or party. Ex: 1 recommendation for a government, another for private institutions, and a final recommendation for fellow students. There are multiple ways that students can choose to express their recommendations. I encourage students to think outside of the box regarding these expressions.
Ex: Recommendations can be expressed as a policy report, academic writing, or written from the perspective of an individual with firsthand experience.

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