1) Economists argue that some environments are more conducive to economic growth than others. One of the ways economists differentiate one environment from another is in terms of its institutions. An institution is “the rules of the game in a society or, more formally, the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction: the rules and regulations, laws, customs, and business practices of a country.” Do you agree that institutions are conducive to economic growth? If so, how? Briefly discuss. 

This will be a paragraph or two


2) Optional Extra Credit

Due on Thursday, February 11 by 11:45pm
36 points or 3% of your overall grade


Read the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, or any other major newspaper or weekly publication and select a single article or articles that (1) either report on interesting economic news that can be analyzed by the concepts or models taught in this course or (2) discusses one or more economic issues related to the concepts or models taught in this course. It is OK to use an online economics news article.


Write a FOUR TO  FIVE page essay analyzing the topic or critique the article from economic perspectives. Essay must be typed and double-spaced, (Times New Roman, font 12). The questions that you may address in this essay may include, but are not limited, to the following:

ü  What is the main economic issue?

ü  How is the economic issue related to the concepts or models that you have learned from this course?

ü  What sorts of arguments/opinions have been discussed?

ü  Do you agree or disagree with the analyses/opinions? Why?

ü  What argument would you, as an economist, make?

The following is a suggested list of topics. This list is not exhaustive.

INDUSTRY STUDY.   For a specific industry, choose a current issue such as deregulation, foreign competition, and the impact of new technologies, mergers/takeovers, changing methods of competition, labor problems, or financial changes.

COMPANY STUDY  Study the recent growth or decline of a particular company or its current position. This topic might include such points as the market structure within which the company grew and now operates, the elasticity of demand for its products, the degree of unionization, the cost structure (degree of fixed cost, economies of scale), the role of advertising, the degree of international competition, etc.

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES Possible topics are: current economic problems of a particular country, OPEC, the European Union, the U. S. trade deficit, protectionism, U. S. trade relations with Japan or other countries, economic development of a particular country, the World Trade Organization, etc.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION.  Analyze some particular government regulation or antitrust policy relative to a specific industry or company or analyze a current regulatory issue (environmental protection, OSHA, the FDA, etc.).


A useful link: Resources for Economists on the Internet:

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