Thursday, May 22, 2014

Economics in the News Assignments

So right now I am struggling though creating an assignment where the students have to find articles and give me several points on that we have learned.  Right now my thought is to do something which reinforces what we are doing in class at any point during the year and I am thinking of doing two a month.  The requirements would be:

  • in one paragraph summarize your article and give me a link to it
  • give me five connections to our course that also define any words that are being used
  • give me a graph that summarizes part of the article and explains what is going on in it
So something like
  • This article discusses the fact that Congress ended unemployment benefits for a number of Americans this past January.  The article mentions that of 1.3 million Americans who were cut off in January only 1/4th have found a job.  Those who are still looking after six months find it much harder to find a job than those who have been unemployed less than that time. This brings up five concepts we have learned. 
  • Fiscal policy = Congress making policies with the appropriations' committees to decide on where to spend money
  • The formula that defines unemployment: rate = # of unemployed/total labor force over 16
  • People who are no longer looking for a job are not counted as unemployed.
  • frictional unemployment =  the people who are leaving their current job to look for another one (inc. transitions from one job to another even when you know where you are going)
  • structural unemployment = markets change (demand) or technologies cause people to lose their job
  • So you could use the chart below to show how expansionary policies by the Federal Reserve such as selling buying Treasury bills to expand the money supply or lowering interest rates to increase investment would lead to more demand and less unemployment. 
If you have an idea for using current events in your class I would love to hear it either by hitting comment or by emailing me at 

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