Term Paper Topics
Chapter 2: Ancient and Medieval Economic Thought
· Investigate discussions of division of labor in Xenophon and Plato and compare their concepts and conclusions to Adam Smith’s notion of specialization and division of labor.
· Analyze the different viewpoints expressed in Plato’s Republic and compare these to modern views and government structures.
· Analyze the medieval concept of just price in light of Friedman’s explanation.
· Analyze a policy or policies of the medieval Church from an economic perspective.
· Compare Arisotle’s model of exchange with later developments in the theory of exchange, investigating the relevance to change today.
Chapter 3: Mercantilism
· Is Mercantilism alive today?
· Analyze and evaluate Eli Hecksher’s analysis of mercantilism vs. Ekelund and Tollison’s analysis.
· Is it possible to maintain a favorable balance of trade?
· Conduct an analysis of mercantile policies in other countries (current or historical).
· Apply the doctrinal and policy approaches to another historical or modern system of thought.
Chapter 4: Economics before Adam Smith
· Compare Mercantilist policies with Physiocratic policies.
· Analyze the Tableau Economique in light of the modern circular flow of the economy.
· Is Economic Sociology an over extension of economic analysis?
· Analyze and evaluate the contributions of the Physiocrats and their immediate predecessors in light of modern monetary theory.
Chapter 5: Adam Smith
· Investigate and explain Smith’s views on mercantilism.
· Compare Xenophon, Plato, and Smith on specialization and division of labor.
· Compare Smith and Mill on the role of government
· Similarities and differences in The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations
· Smith’s relevance in modern economics
Chapter 6: Classical Economic Analysis (1)
· Compare and contrast the quantity theory of money espoused by the mercantilists, the pre-classicals, and modern economics.
· Relevance of the Malthusian Population Principle in Third World Countries.
· The Natural vs. Artificial Identity of Interests: Necessary or Unnecessary Justification for Government?
attempts to measure utility throughout the history of economics.
Chapter 7: Classical Economic Analysis (2): Ricardo
· Conduct an analysis of the Corn Law controversy and its impact.
· Compare and contrast the theories of rent developed by West, Malthus, Torrens, and Ricardo.
· Compare and contrast Senior and the Austrian theory of roundabout production.
· Analyze the validity of Say’s Law in light of modern economic research.
· Analyze Ricardo’s theory of value in comparison to a Marxian theory of value.
Chapter 8: Classical Economic Analysis (3): Mill
· Conduct an analysis of Mill’s policy views and evaluate their relevance in contemporary society.
· Analyze the similarities and differences in the work of Ricardo and Mill.
· Analyze the differing interpretations of the Stationary State.
· Discuss Mill’s acceptance and recantation of the wages - fund doctrine.
· Discuss Mill’s departures from laissez faire: cases and rationale.
Chapter 9: Economic Policy in the Classical Period
· Analyze the private and public interests behind the passage of the Factory Acts.
· Analyze a modern-day labor regulation that is promoted by private interests.
· Compare Mill’s position on ex ante equality with modern day government policy. (Do contemporary governments promote ex ante or ex post equality?)
· Examine Mill’s position on equality of women in light of modern day feminist ideals.
· Find evidence and apply Chadwick’s contract management to a contemporary industry.
· Compare Smith’s views on government with Mill’s views on government.
Chapter 10: Karl Marx
· Compare Ricardo and Marx on the labor theory of value.
· Analyze the extension from Hegelian dialectic to dialectic materialism.
· Analyze and compare the views of production of Marx, Ricardo, and Mill.
· Analyze Smith and Marx on the division of labor; can both be right?
· Analyze the methodenstreit from a private industry perspective.
· Compare Rosher’s views on profits prices, money, the church, etc. with Mill or Smith.
Chapter 11: Neoclassical Theorists: Cournot and Dupuit
· Analyze and compare Cournot’s duopoly analysis with modern oligopoly and game theory.
· Compare and contrast the theoretical developments of Cournot and Dupuit.
· Analyze price discrimination as a pricing mechanism of modern public goods.
· Explore and analyze the contributions of Charles Ellet to microeconomics.
· Analyze the success of the French and German engineers in economics.
Chapter 12: Microeconomics in Germany and Austria
· Compare Ricardo and Von Thunen on cost differences in agricultural production
· Compare and contrast the value theories of the Austrian and Marshallian followers.
· Analyze Bohm - Bawerk’s impact on modern day capital theory.
· Compare Menger, Wieser and Bohm - Bawerk on value.
· Analyze the development and use of the equimarginal principle in economics.
Chapter 13: Microeconomics in England: Jevons
· Analyze the development of the equimarginal principle by Grossen and Jevons.
· Compare and contrast Dupuit and Jevons on utility theory.
· Analyze the influence of Bentham on Jevon’s development of marginal utility.
· Investigate and analyze Jevon’s use of statistics in light of modern econometrics.
· Analyze the usefulness of the indices created by Jevons.
Chapter 14: Alfred Marshall
· Apply Marshall’s concept of the short run, a moderate period, and the long run to a modern day industry.
· Trace the development of Marshall’s internal and external economies to externality theory.
· Compare Marshall, Cournot, and Dupuit on the use of mathematics in economic analysis in light of modern usage.
· Compare Pigou, Marshall, and Coase on the efficient solution to externality problems.
· Compare Marshall’s development of partial equilibrium analysis to the general equilibrium analysis of Walras.
Chapter 15: Leon Walras
· Compare Walras, Hicks, and Arrow on tatonnment.
· Compare and contrast Walras and Marshall on utility.
· Explore the Correspondence (edited by Jaffe) for common themes in Walras’ writings.
· Analyze the validity of Walras’ law.
· Explore the criteria for Pareto optimality in the context of a modern public policy debate.
Chapter 16: Thorstein Veblen
· Compare and contrast Veblen and Marx on the theory of business cycles.
· Compare Galbraith’s prescription for the provision of public goods with the traditional neoclassical view.
· Analyze Mitchell’s influence on the use of twentieth century economics.
· Compare Veblen, Galbraith and Mill on the role of government in society.
· Is Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption a legitimate economic explanation for the rise of the “yuppies” in the 1980’s?
Chapter 17: Chamberlin and Robinson
· Revisit and analyze the Taussig - Pigou controversy. Can new insights be gained?
· Trace the evolution of imperfect competition in the 20th century. Should it replace the competitive model?
· Compare and contrast Pigou, Dupuit, and Robinson on price discrimination.
· Analyze the usefulness of market structure classification developed by Chamberlin, Machlup, and Fellner.
· Analyze railway pricing in the works of Hadley, Taussig, Edgeworth, and/or others in light of price discrimination and joint supply.
Chapter 18: John Maynard Keynes
· Analyze Keynes’ objections to say’s law espoused in The General Theory.
· Compare Keynes’ ideas with modern Keynesian and Post-Keynesian thought.
· Analyze the impact and consequences of expansionary monetary and fiscal policy.
· Is the Keynesian liquidity trap real or imagined?
· Compare and contrast the neoclassical and Keynesian / New Keynesian views on obtaining full employment in the economy. Where do you stand and why?
Chapter 19: Contemporary Macroeconomics
· Compare the role of income in the theories of Friedman and Keynes.
· Analyze the evolution of the quantity theory from the classical period to contemporary economics.
· Has rational expectations theory been a help or hindrance in forming sound policy?
· Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of monetary and fiscal policy.
· Analyze the role of expectations in relation to consumer behavior and economic performance.
Chapter 20: Austrian Economics
· Compare the Austrian theory of money with Friedman’s monetary theory.
· Analyze support for the gold standard, from Mises to contemporary economists.
· Compare and contrast Austrian economics with the neoclassical view of competition.
· Compare and contrast Menger, Jevons, and Marshall on value.
· Analyze Schumpeter’s support for the entrepreneur and the dynamic process of competition.
· Is Schumpeter’s idea of an entrepreneur valid in contemporary society?
Chapter 21: Public Choice and Regulation
· Analyze the decision to provide a public good in a town or state familiar to you.
· Conduct an empirical analysis of a regulation to find the economic “interests” behind it.
· Employ the rent seeking paradigm to analyze an industry undergoing regulatory change.
· Compare the Austrian view of regulation with the Chicago school.
Chapter 22: Contemporary Microeconomics
· What changes in the US economy have contributed to the increased opportunity cost of household production?
· Analyze the use of time in the analyses Senior, Bohm - Bawerk, and Marshall in light of contemporary economics.
· Compare Marshallian demand theory to the notion that the demand for market goods is a derived demand.
· Analyze the application of economics to traditionally sociological issues. Are these productive contributions or is this taking economics too far afield?