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WRITING ASSIGNMENT 2
This assignment focuses on applying economic concepts to daily life. You will identify a published article that is either directly or indirectly informed by microeconomic concepts and explain the issue at hand and economics at work. This is an opportunity to find connections between economics and other interests or events and demonstrate a deeper understanding of concepts such as microeconomic theory of consumers, firms, and competition. You can write about any topic in microeconomics besides what you chose for your first writing assignment.
Your assignment is to write a commentary such as an Op-Ed (opinion piece) or high-quality blog
post, this means that rather than reporting straight news you should give commentary and
opinion about an issue at hand.
• Select a news article, editorial, or opinion piece online that interests you and has clear economic content or that can benefit from your insight as an economist.
• Respond to your chosen article and support your point of view using strong economic reasons. This response must begin by briefly summarizing the initial article’s position (in one or two lines) and stating your own thesis. Potential approaches include:
• Pointing out how economic principles/concepts that the initial article did not identify underlay the issue at hand.
• Use economic reasoning to critique opinions formed in the initial argument.
• Use economics to propose potential solutions to unsolved problems.
• Write clearly, concisely, and for the general public. Form your argument using good
writing and intuition, not graphs or math (you get enough of that in tests/exams!).
• Choose an appropriate title for your piece that catches the reader’s attention and gives a
sense of the main theme and topic. (I recommend doing this after writing your first draft,
it will be easier!)
• Organize your commentary into 3 to 6 short paragraphs of about 3 to 5 sentences each.
• State your main point (thesis) early. This means introducing the issue, the initial article’s
point of view (including a direct reference), and your own point of view in the first
• Support each claim you make. In total, use at least two pieces evidence such as statistics,
examples, or economic reasoning.
• Use economic concept(s) covered in modules 4 through 6. You might use and explain
more than one economic concept, but you should focus on a single key argument or idea
and your central idea must come from the second half of the course.• Your audience is a well-informed and intelligent person who will understand basic economic concepts but lacks knowledge about the details of economic theory or policy.
This means that you must explain the requisite economic concepts and specialized
vocabulary to your readers, and you get points for being engaging and clear. Write like a
• Try to emulate the clarity, concision, and focus of good professional articles. Be sure to
avoid the passive voice (https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/revising/passive-voice/).
• Your commentary must be 350-500 words.
• Add a working URL link to the source article you reference at the end of your
commentary. This URL will not count towards your word count.
• Use double spaced 12-point font and a default word processor front (Times New Roman,
Calibri, Arial, … no unusual font such).
• Submit as a PDF formatted Lastname_Firstname_Studentnumber_ECO1021A_WA1.pdf
(mine would be Herzog_Ian_9999999_ECO1021A_WA1.pdf)
• Upload via owl by Friday, December 3 at 11:59 pm.
THE ECONOMIST STYLE GUIDE
I highly recommend the Style Guide from The Economist Magazine if you want more writing
advice. The Economist is widely recognized as the world standard for economic journalism (and
is also a good source of inspiration). The complete Style Guide is at http://cdn.staticeconomist.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/style_guide_12.pdf.
NEWS ARTICLE SOURCES
Here are some (but not nearly all) of the places I recommend going for Canadian economic
news: Globe and Mail (and Report on Business), National Post and Financial Post, Toronto Star,
CBC News, Maclean’s, …
Great non-Canadian sources include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times,
The Economist, Vox.com, …
For Op-Ed and high quality blog examples you can see the opinion pages of all the above
sources as well as Bloomberg Opinion, NYTimes’ The Upshot, TimHarford.com, …
You will be graded on the following criteria (in decreasing order of importance):
1. Economic reasoning and quality of argument.
2. The introductory framing of the issue, initial article, and your main point/thesis.
3. Writing style, organization, and clarity.
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