Instructions ( International Trade)

Instructions ( International Trade)

The objective of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to:
1.     Apply analytical skills and economic concepts to examine whether a specific trade theory (i.e. Theory of Comparative Advantage, Heckscher-Ohlin Theory etc.) matches what is seen in data.
2.     Learn how to write a formal report underpinned by economic logic and evidence.


Your report should include the economic analysis of a one of the trade theories we will discuss in the class, and your own insight. You should choose any pair of countries (US can be one of them) and a good. You should test whether your theory is supported by the data. Survey or descriptive papers (reporting other people’s work/ideas on issues, historical events) or hypothetical scenarios are not acceptable.

Your final report must be typed, double spaced, and between10 to 15 pages. The assignment is in four parts; each assignment must be turned in on the date indicated; and each will be graded separately. Your target audience for the report is educated college graduates.

The assignment is in four parts, each will build on the material in the previous assignment.
1. TOPIC of the report (due 9:00 a.m. on June 17, 2015)
You must submit a one-page paper carefully explaining the chosen topic. Explain why you selected the theory and the set of countries you intend to analyze.
Please start by writing a thesis statement – (one sentence (bold type) describing clearly the question or topic you want to analyze). The thesis statement (to be given in the introduction) should convey your main idea to the reader. Some helpful suggestions on thesis statements can be found on the websites below:
Definition and examples of thesis statements (St. Cloud State University): http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/thesistatement.html
How to write a thesis statement (Indiana University): http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml
Developing a thesis statement (University of Wisconsin) http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/thesis_complete.html

In this assignment, you should try to answer the following questions:

1. What are the trade theory, countries, and good that I am trying to analyze? (analyze or examine or investigate or evaulate)
2. Why is the question interesting? What is the empirical motivation?
3. Is data available? Is it from a reliable source?

Be careful that your project is not too general/ambitious. Please narrow the topic to some specific aspect of a more general question. Remember that well-defined topics are easier to complete successfully. Make sure you can get 20 years of data to analyze.

You MUST turn in this assignment on the due date – or your Outline (next assignment) will not be accepted.
2. OUTLINE of the report (due 9:00 a.m. on June 26, 2015)
This has two parts, A and B.
OUTLINE – PART A. You must submit a 2-3 page paper giving a clear outline of your project. It should contain:
* A title page that includes: title of the report, your name, I.D. number, and date.
* A clear introduction describing the trade theory you chose and the way you have decided to analyze it. Remember that your thesis statement should be included in your introduction and it should answer the question: what am I trying to prove/show?
* A summary of your essential ideas or arguments. Try to limit yourself to 3 main points. You could report the effects of the trade issue on different countries and agents. Feel free to make subsections where needed.
* Make sure you include a theoretical analysis where you discuss the theory you will use
* A conclusion in which you restate the thesis, summarize the main points you developed and present the results you drew from your analysis.
* A bibliography where you list the references and data used. You may add an appendix for graphs, data, or mathematical derivations.
You MUST have access to 20 years of data by this time.
For this assignment, each student is required to read and summarize one academic economic publication. The objective of this reading is for you to become familiar with the structure and format of writing in Economics. Each student must submit the complete reference of the article read, and its brief summary on a separate page. Do not quote the abstract!! This is worth 10 points. (Do not include the article).
Please use one of these academic economic publications: The American Economic Review, International Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of International Economics, or Journal of International Money and Finance. None other is acceptable.
Other publications including “The Economist”, “The Wall Street Journal”, magazines, and newspapers do not qualify.

3. FIRST DRAFT (due 9:00 a.m. on July 28, 2015)

You should submit a 10 – 15 page version of your paper containing all your main ideas/points. You MUST have all effects listed. If your first draft is good, you will only have to make minor revisions before turning it in as your final report and will not need to include new material.
The first draft should contain the same elements as the outline, but each main idea/point or effect should be fully developed and explained. You need to provide a complete list of references in your bibliography. Include only the sources you actually used in your paper and make sure your sources are credible.
4. FINAL REPORT (due 9:00 a.m. on August 7, 2015)
You should submit a final, polished version of your paper, taking into account the comments made on previous assignments. You should not need to add new material at this stage, although you are allowed to if you have discovered elements that would substantially alter the logic or the conclusions of your paper. You will be asked to submit a few statements telling us the changes you made in the paper based on the TA’s (and instructor’s) comments and suggestions on your first draft.
Remember to keep one copy of the final paper for your records.
5. PRESENTATIONS (July 29 and August 3, 2015)
All students will present a five-minute summary of their paper in class, focusing on the main ideas. This will also count toward your grade on the report. Feel free to write up a one-page abstract and read it out.
Make sure your topic is related to a focused question on international trade or trade issues. Please make sure you can obtain at least 17-20 years of data for the countries and issues involved. Remember that your paper must examine the trade issue from bilateral or multilateral viewp01oints. You MUST undertake some statistical work (regressions) to show the cause and effects of certain events on the economies (sectoral and aggregate impacts). Most papers with good statistical work get better grades.

Students are not allowed to choose the same topic.

Below are examples of “UNACCEPTABLE” topics because they are either vague, not related to trade, or too broad :
1. China/Russia and WTO
2. Asian Financial Crisis or Trade and the Current World Recession

3. A history of automobile trade between the US and Japan…
4. Role of WTO in the world trade
5. Multinational corporations and FDI
6. Any hypothetical scenario or a “trade survey”, (e.g. US trade with UK, pros or cons of including Chile in NAFTA, steel trade between US and Korea, CAFTA and its implications, …).
7. Please do not pick illegal goods or countries which do not have reliable data


You should use various resources and cite them properly.
You can use academic journals, popular newspapers (Wall Street Journal), magazines (Economist, etc.), and/or reports from various institutions. You can use tables, graphs, or maps to present information.
Please make sure you have a mix of internet and other sources; make sure the sources are well-reputed and credible; that is, do not chose all references from news magazines or obscure internet sources. Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source. Do NOT cite it. If unsure about the credibility of your references, please contact one of us.
Please provide appropriate references where needed in the paper. You can check here for tips on citing:
https://www.lib.umn.edu/instruction/tutorials#citing and at http://www.easybib.com/

PLAGIARISM: This involves passing off anyone else’s work as your own, and includes copying a whole paper or parts of it and claiming it as your own work. It also includes turning in your own same or essentially similar paper for two or more courses. The University has very strict rules concerning plagiarism. If you use any other person’s work, words, or ideas, please cite and acknowledge the sources. Note that the University has purchased a program that allows professors to check if any student paper, essay, or research paper has been copied or paraphrased from the Internet. I will use this program (Safeassign) to check for plagiarism. Please check the following website for more details on plagiarism.

1. “So You Have To Write an Economics Term Paper…” by L. Officer, D. Saks, and J. Saks.
2. “The Elements of Style” by W. Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
3. “The Writer’s Guide to College Economics” by T. L. Wyrich.
4. “Economical Writing” by Deirdre McCloskey

Some sample A papers written by previous students of the class are also on reserve.
Sources for economics journals: – Wilson library/JSTOR
Sources are listed on the Resources/Links page on the class homepage.

USING ONLINE SOURCES (Courtesy of Professor Roger McCain, Drexel University)
The Web offers a very large range of sources for presentations and papers, but it is a mishmash of sources that range from excellent to appallingly bad to deliberately misleading. You should not use an online source for any purpose in this course without first verifying that it is:

1. Substantive for the purpose intended. For most purposes a document that is only a few lines long will not be useful. This does depend on the purpose. To be used as a basis for the presentation, for example, the source should provide at least a few pages of information on the topic. By contrast, if the purpose is to define a term, then a line or two may be sufficient. Message boards and blogs should not be used.

2. Reliable. Much of the content on the web is no more reliable than the opinions you may hear in barroom conversation. Among the things that make information reliable are
a. Institutional Authority. Is the site sponsored by an institution that is recognized as an authority and that would exercise oversight, such as the United Nations or the National Bureau of Economic Research? Personal websites (including mine) are less reliable. Anything WIKI is questionable.
b. Personal Authority. Is the author identified? If so, is the author recognized as an expert in a field relevant to the topic? What evidence is there of this recognition? Does the author have graduate degrees in the field? Has she or he published articles in recognized scholarly organs relevant to the field? Books?
c. Internal evidence. Are there misspellings, grammatical errors, and other evidence of unscholarly writing? Are there logical errors and inconsistencies? Are there representations of fact you know to be false? If you find any evidence of these failings, DO NOT USE THE SOURCE.

3. Unbiased or biased in known ways.
a. If there is an institutional authority, it may be biased, and may make the bias known. If there is an “About Us” page or equivalent, check it. Examples would be the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which supports free market economics, and Marxists.org, which doesn’t. These are both excellent sources for some purposes but should be used with caution.
b. If the author is known, and has or announces a known slant, that may be useful.
c. Internal evidence may be found. For example, The Center for Economic and Policy Research “about us” page lists an advisory board including two economists who were high-profile supporters of Kerry in ’04.

The following are some common problems of students’ reports:
1. The paper lacks focus and is not well organized. A major reason why this happens is that students cannot decide on THE most important message that they want the readers to get from the report. This leads to the importance of a thesis statement – make sure it is included in the introduction. Examples of thesis statements from people who have taken this course earlier:
*I intend to demonstrate that changes to A’s overall tax policy resulted in lower corporate income tax rates which negatively affected service trade and the service sector between A and the rest of the world.
* The introduction of new technology and government trade policies in the –X trade between A and B between 1985 and 2005 has favorably affected A‘s producers of X.
*This paper will assess the effects of a free trade agreement on A’s —– industry, specifically addressing three points: how —–imports from B as a proportion of A’s total —– imports have increased, how a greater proportion of exports of —– from A are shipped to B, and how A’s producers have been or will be affected by the free trade agreement.
*In this paper, I will focus on the effects of these ongoing disputes on the —– producers in A. I will show that A’s producers are being hurt by these disputes in several ways: by mills closing, unemployment increasing in the industry, and imports from B remaining high. I will show how A’s producers were affected during each of the trade disputes. A and B’s unremitting trade dispute over —– has led to the demise of the —- producers in A.
*In this paper I will demonstrate that A has increased its exports of —– to B under free trade more successfully than has C by achieving a post-free-trade-agreement average export growth rate twelve times higher than its pre-agreement rate compared with C, and by merely tripling its growth rate in the same period and that this is due specifically to the A-B Free Trade Area and A’s skilled-labor-abundance in the labor-intensive —– industry.
2. There are not enough analyses and explanations in the report. Many times students state some ideas or conjectures without explaining step by step the logic behind these. Please guide the readers through your arguments carefully to make sure that they understand the arguments.
3. The use of quotations to substitute for the explanations. A common mistake students make in their reports is that they use quotations from textbooks or articles AS the arguments. It is acceptable for students to use some ideas suggested by others, yet students should try to explain the ideas in their own words and should not simply copy the quotations without their own explanations. The total number of quotations in a paper should be limited; they should be used to highlight a particular idea or show its importance. Make sure your entire written script is not just quotes. Generally, quotes should not be more than 10% of the entire script.
4. A lot of grammatical and spelling errors in the report. To avoid these errors, students should ask someone who is good in composition to proofread their reports. Students should also use the many writing services available on campus to get advice on correct grammar usage.
5. Confusing cause with effect. Another common mistake is not recognizing that an apparent cause of something might instead be an effect of that something. You should give evidence of the cause or effect or acknowledge that the evidence of causality here is not clear.

We suggest you use these techniques:
1. The use of graphs, tables and charts. Whenever possible, try to use these to summarize the statistics used in the report, and try to use graphs to summarize some of the economic arguments used (e.g. shift in supply and demand, effect of government policies on trade, etc.).
2. The use of footnotes. There may be some arguments that are interesting and yet do not fit into the report very well; a possible strategy is to present these arguments in a footnote.
3. A good “Introduction” and a good “Conclusion”. A good “Introduction” can compel the readers to continue reading the report with enthusiasm. Students should try to state clearly and precisely the issue that is addressed in the report, explain why the issue is interesting and/or important to the readers, and give the readers some hints about the major conclusion that is obtained in the report. A good “Conclusion” should remind the readers of THE most important message of the report and why it is interesting and/or important to the readers.

1. Remember to submit the summary and complete reference of the academic publication you read with the second assignment (Outline) (Penalty: 10 points).
2. Remember to turn in your assignment on time. No assignments will be accepted after the second day. (Penalty: 10 points per day up to a maximum of 20 points per assignment). There will be no exception to this rule.
3. Turn in the Final Report definitely by the due date – absolutely no acceptance of late submissions. Remember to turn in your Final Report by 9:00 a.m. on August 7, 2015.
Pay special attention to the material in bold font.



Good    Satisfactory    Weak
Thesis statement (idea, goal of paper)
Quality of thesis/goal
Why is it interesting?
Checked for data availability?

1. Please summarize the main point of your paper in a sentence or two. (Thesis)
2. Please give a description of the work you did since the first draft stage.
3. What suggestions (given by TA/instructor) did you use?