Communication in Economics

Econ 479-01 –  Communication in Economics

Required: A subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Subscription information can be found at

D2L:    A copy of this syllabus and your grades are available at –

Course Objectives:
The objective of this course is to develop writing and analytical skills for economics.

Management Issues:
All assignments are to be submitted to the drop box on D2l.  Hard copies are not accepted.  Copies emailed to the instructor are not accepted.
It is the University’s goal that learning experiences be as accessible as possible.  If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options.  You are also welcome to contact Disability Resources to establish reasonable accommodations.

Class Meetings:
This is an online class.  Students should communicate with the instructor using email (send email to the address above and not to D2l).

Course Requirements:
1.    Three writing assignments are required.
a. The first assignment is a short paper written in the style of a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.  Consult current issues of the Wall Street Journal for potential topics and to see how to present a brief and cogent argument (read several letters for reference).  The letter should take a position on an economic topic recently discussed in the Wall Street Journal and provide evidence to support that position.  The letter can be in response to another letter, an opinion piece or some current event issue.  Maximum length is 300 words or one page.  This paper is worth 100 points.
b. The second assignment should be presented as a Journal opinion article.  The article should be timely and address an economic issue of current interest to Wall Street Journal readers.  Read several articles in the Op Ed section of the Wall Street Journal for reference.  Formal footnotes are not required but the article should clearly refer to other contributions in the Journal or elsewhere.  Minimum length is 400 words or approximately two pages and maximum length 600 words or approximately three pages.  Footnotes, titles and other extraneous material are not counted when determining the length of the paper. This paper is worth 100 points.
c. The third assignment should be presented as a Journal opinion article and address an economic issue of current interest to Wall Street Journal readers.  Minimum length is 400 words and maximum length is 600 words.  Footnotes, titles and other extraneous material are not counted when determining the length of the paper.  This paper is worth 100 points.
2.    Each paper should be submitted as a Word file.  Do not submit in odt or other formats because the papers are checked by and this program will not read these formats.  Use 12 pt. type (Times New Roman font) in Normal style with 1.25 inch right and left margins and 1 inch top and bottom margins.  Double space the paper and left justify.
3.    Plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course.  You may not copy any work by anyone else or have anyone else write the paper for you.  You may not submit work that you did for other courses.  The originality score given by is used to monitor plagiarism but other information may be used to determine whether or not the paper is the original work of the student who has submitted it.
4.    Submission Requirements:  Submit to the Dropbox on D2l.  Deadlines apply.  Assignment due dates are shown below.  All papers must be submitted before 10PM on the due date.  On time submissions are graded on a 100 point basis (the maximum possible grade is 100).  You may resubmit each paper as many times as you want up until the deadline.  Submissions up to one hour late can be submitted to the Late Submission drop box.  These papers are graded on an 80 point basis.  Papers can be submitted later than one hour after the deadline to the Very Late Submission drop box.  These papers are graded on a 50 point basis. A safe practice is to submit a copy well before the deadline and replace it with revisions over time.  This avoids the problem of late submissions.  Hard copies are not required.  Do not email papers to me.  Emailed copies are not accepted and will result in a reduction of 20 points from the paper’s score.
There are no acceptable excuses for missing these deadlines and you do not have to explain why you have submitted a paper late.  The grade basis given above also applies if you originally submit an incorrect copy of your paper on time and decide to replace it after a deadline with a correct version.  The correct version will be graded using the grade basis for the late submission.

Grading Rubric:  Each paper will be evaluated using four criteria
1) Organizational structure – 25 points.  Is the paper logically organized?  Are ideas cogently presented and explained?  Is the writing convincing?  Does the writing sustain interest?
2) Writing style – 25 points.  Is the writing original and provocative? Does the paper have a professional tone?  Does the paper satisfy the requirements in the syllabus?
3)  Analysis – 25 points.  Does the paper take and support a position?  Is the analysis reasonable?
4)  Grammar, punctuation, spelling and syntax – 25 points.  Is the writing grammatically correct?  Are words spelled correctly?  Is word choice correct for the context of the sentence?

Final Grades:
A)  Each paper is worth a maximum of 100 points.  The final grade is determined by summing the scores for the three papers and dividing by three.
B)  A total score of 90 or above earns an A.  A total of 80 – 89 earns a B.  A total of 70 – 79 earns a C.  A total of 60 – 69 earns a D and a total below 60 earns a final grade of E.
C) There is no extra credit for this course.