Sample Economics Research paper Assignment on ECO 359 – Reading and Writing in Economics

ECO 359 – Reading and Writing in Economics
Fall 2022
Núria Quella
Last updated July 3, 2022
The Draft is the second deliverable you will submit. Please, note the due date and hour (always Eastern
Time or New York time) and mark it in your calendar. Make also a note of the documents you must
upload for your submission to be complete, the required format, and of the target length of each
document. After your Draft has been accepted and you have received my feedback (by midnight of Mon.
Oct. 31, US ET, at the latest), you will proceed on to write the Final Version of your paper.
Week Due Date Deliverable Target Length
Oct. 20
(by 11:59pm,
US Eastern
Two documents:
1. Draft
2. Progress Report
(copy and paste
my previous
About seven pages, plus one cover page,
plus one (or more) page(s) for list of
References, plus an Appendix for
all visual objects.
Progress Report:
At most one page plus copy of my
feedback to your Proposal.
The purpose of this document is to help you present the results of your self-directed learning in a
Draft format. In your Proposal, you presented the initial concept and tentative design of your study, that
is, the scaffolding of your paper. Now you must proceed on to a more formal and demanding kind of
writing. In this phase you need to be more aware of the conventions of economic writing, of its methods
for analysis and argument. Aim for clear and precise communication (take your favorite textbook as an
example of what clear and precise reads like). Be persuasive and always keep in mind that your audience
is composed of your economics faculty and your peers, NOT the general public. This will require you to
think hard before you write.
1 Do not share or reproduce this document without my consent. Posting or reproducing this document without my consent is
a copyright violation.
This writing assignment will serve to develop your skills of research and inquiry. These skills will
include information literacy, analysis, and communication. They may also include hypothesis design and
formation, and interpretation of data. More specifically, after completion of your Draft, you should be
able to:
1. Describe a subject from an economics perspective.
2. Select information, sources, and data relevant to a subject.
3. Summarize information and data in an organized and structured manner.
4. Explain the fundamentals of a subject in a clear, direct, and precise language.
5. Use and apply the concepts, models, and terminology of microeconomics, macroeconomics,
econometrics, and other economics courses you have taken.
6. Analyze a subject, its parts, and related literature.
7. Relate a subject to its broader context.
8. Contrast ideas, methodologies, and conclusions about a subject and critique them.
9. Illustrate and support your arguments with data-driven evidence from reliable sources.
Drafting is the second step in your writing process. The purpose of your Draft is to explore further
and expand upon the ideas and methodology presented in your Proposal. In your Draft, you will clarify
and modify your initial ideas, develop a more cohesive text, and organize your content in a way that will
allow your audience (and yourself) to better understand what you are trying to say, its purpose and
Whichever subject and form you have chosen for your paper, start by adapting your Draft to the
typical structure of an economics paper, then tailor it to suit your particular subject and type of paper.
The typical format of an economics research paper will usually contain the elements that appear in the
Table below, in this same order:
I recommend you start by creating a document with all the sections in
the Table below. Then leave blank the sections you are not working on yet. Keep in mind the length of
each section is a suggestion and it is meant to help you give an initial structure to your paper at the Draft
2 All economic writing contains pretty much the same elements. Later on, in your professional life, you may want to use this
same structure BUT adapt section names. E.g., you may have an ‘Executive Summary’ instead of an ‘Abstract.’
stage. The actual length of each section at the Final Version stage may not be exactly what is suggested
in the Table below… but it should not be too far from it either.
Component or Section Suggested length
Title & Subtitle 6 – 15 words
200 words at most
As of now, do NOT attempt to write an
Abstract: leave this section blank.
Key Words 3 – 6 keywords
In its final version, it must include these elements:
purpose of research, motivation, general
background, original contribution, methodology,
and brief summary of your results or findings, and
About 15% of total length of paper3
Write the final version of this section ONLY
AFTER you have written the Background
Review and/or Literature Review, have results
or findings, and conclusions to include.
Background Review and/or Literature Review
Must contain background of your subject,
conceptual development or conceptual framework.
About 40% of total length of paper
➔ Start here! This is/these are the first
section(s) you will write.
This section may look very different depending on
what kind of paper you are writing. It may consist of
a synthesis of main strands of ideas and
presentation of how they connect to or contrast
with one another. Or it may be the result of
empirical work.
About 30%-40% of total length of paper
This is the second section you will write, after
your Background Review and/or Literature
Must include:
• Summary of findings/results/analysis
• Implications (conceptual or policy-oriented)
• Limitations
• Recommendations for future research
About 10 – 15% of total length of paper
This is the third section you will write.
Note that efficient economical writing is not sequential, that is, you will not write your paper’s
sections in the order in which they will appear to the reader. For example, do not attempt to write an
Abstract; leave this section blank until the very end, in your Final Version, when you have written all the
other sections in your paper and it is complete. As of now, pencil in your title (and perhaps subtitle) and
your key words and reassess them periodically as you progress in your work. They will acquire their
definitive form only when you have a firm view of your paper’s final structure and contents. The title,
3 Assuming the Final Version of your paper is around eleven pages, aim to have an Introduction of around 1.5 pages,
approximately. If your Final Version turns out to be over eleven pages, your Introduction does NOT need to be longer, as it
will contain the same elements, regardless of paper length. Your other sections, however, may be longer.
key words and Abstract are the portal through which a reader is most likely to access your paper. It is,
therefore, extremely important to choose effective key words and a title that is descriptive, revealing of
the paper’s content, and that grabs your audience’s attention.4
Start with your Background Review (if you have one) and your Literature Review. These are
important sections, and you may find that completing them takes longer that you had anticipated (they
may even take the longest to complete!). The Literature Review is the core conceptual section of your
paper and it is where you establish credibility with your audience (do you truly know your subject?).
When you submit your Draft, you should at the very least have completed these two sections (or the
Literature Review if you do not have a Background Review). Then, go on to work on your
Results/Findings/Analysis section. Finally, proceed to work on your Conclusions.
In your Draft, you may or may not be ready to tackle further work on your Introduction. If you are
not, leave it for your Final Version. It is perfectly fine to do so. If you are not ready, just copy the
elements in your Proposal (except your tentative title, of course) and that will be your Draft
Introduction. In the Final Version of your Introduction, you will review these elements and include what
is relevant and noteworthy in your results/findings/analysis and a brief summary of your conclusion(s).
This may seem counterintuitive now but, by the end of the semester, you will see it has saved you a lot
of work! Keep in mind an Introduction is a presentation of a COMPLETED work and, therefore, it makes
most sense to write it once you have finished all the other sections in your paper. If you follow this
sequence, you will not have to duplicate (or triplicate) your efforts by re-doing your Introduction every
time you modify some other section in your paper.
Note that the sections listed in the table above are a baseline: their function is to serve as a
reference, so you can start thinking about the structure of your paper and the relative lengths of your
sections. Keep in mind that, depending on the subject and form of your paper, the sections listed above
may be different lengths and have different names. For example, if your paper is a review or survey of a
particular subject, your Literature Review/Background Review will be relatively lengthier, and your
section on Results/Findings/Analysis will consist of your own analysis and evaluation of the literature.
You may also decide to create subsections according to the most important elements in the
literature/background in your subject. Or, if your paper is empirical, you will need to add a section where
you explain your methodology and another section where you describe in detail the data you are using.
4 Never promise anything your paper will not deliver! Title, key words, and Abstract must be a reliable portal.
Regardless of the subject and form of your paper, be organized and give it a clear and logical
structure. Always make it as easy as possible for your audience to find and identify content: create
sections (and subsections) with descriptive titles and never make your Draft one long essay. Do not
force your audience to do your work: motivate, explain, and engage them. See the last section of this
document for a list of journals with papers you can use as samples.5
► Cover Page
In your Draft, include a cover page with the following elements, in this same order:
• Title and (perhaps) subtitle.
Although you will consider the definitive version of your title last, you should try your hand at a good
title. Use a subtitle if you think you need it.
The title should grab the reader’s attention and clearly reflect the main theme, issue, or position in
your paper. Try to reflect the true nature and focus of your work and do not create false
► Abstract.
Leave this element/section blank in your Draft.
► Key Words.
When you think of your paper, what words come up more often? How would you describe your work
in a telegraphic fashion? Pencil in these words or terms and look at some sample papers (or some of
your own scholarly sources) for an illustration of what these words look like. Note that one ‘key
word’ may actually be two or more words. For example, ‘economic growth’ (counts as ONE key
word), ‘optimal taxation’ (also ONE key word), ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ (one key word).
Place your Key Words right below your (blank) Abstract in one line (two if you need more space).
Separate your key words with semi-colons.
Advice: some of the key words you list should appear in the title.
5 Different journals place different requirements on authors and, consequently, not all papers look the same; some publishers
do not require Key Words, for example (we do). However, all papers have similar structure and must contain similar elements,
even if they do not receive the same name. Above all, all papers present a clear structure and descriptive section titles
according to their subject.
➔ Place your title, your name and affiliation (Stony Brook University), Abstract (