ECON 200: Microeconomics Required Assessment
Introduction to Assignment
Africa, by almost any measure, is the wealthiest continent in terms of natural resources yet, a large percentage of the continent’s population lives in poverty and continually struggles with civil strife. The material you covered in this course can help us to explain why economic development in many African Countries is still lagging behind other nations of the world.
In this assignment, you are required to write a research paper on the general topic of natural resource extraction and utilization intwo countries of your choice from Sub-Saharan Africa. You can select any two countries from the list of Sub-Saharan Countries available athttp://www.loc.gov/rr/amed/guide/afr-countrylist.html.
To prepare for your research, you are to review material from the following 3 chapters of the class text.
· Externalities(Chapter 10)
· Public Goods and Common Resources(Chapter 11)
· Income Distribution and Poverty(Chapter 20)
In addition, scan the background papers listed below and read at least one of the background papers or books in detail. Feel free to also seek out additional information.
Development of Thesis
Listed below are possible research questions that could help formulate the topic for your paper. In every case, be sure to support your thesis with concrete examples from your research of African Countries and with economic theory. Factual information about countries must be supported with valid sources and economic theory should be cited (either from your text or from academic publications). In addition, you must include your own analysis, in your own words, based on your sources and references. Be sure to tie together the information you present so that the main theme is clear to the reader; do not assume that the reader can guess why you are including the information.
Select two African countries based on your review of background papers and any additional information you have discovered in your background preparation. You will use these two countries in addressing your research question.
Possible Research Questions
1. Compare/contrast the control of natural resources/minerals in many African countries with the United States. Specifically focus on the role of property rights and the control of these rights. Give examples and support your claim with evidence and economic theory.
2. Given the current situation in many African countries, do we see the Tragedy of the Commons occurring? Consider not only how the “tragedy” is impacting the current population but also how hit may be devastating to coming generations. Give examples and support your claim with evidence and economic theory.
3. Should political leaders have the ability to control natural resources? What advantages and disadvantages might there be to such control in theory? What has been the actual experience? What evidence is there of the theoretical advantages and disadvantages in practice? Who has benefited from resource allocation decisions?
4. Whatexternalities result from the situation where political leaders control the resources and subsequently appropriate the income and wealth from these resources? Do political leaders have the same goals as citizens of a country in directing resources? You might consider actual and possible uses of resources including military, personal gain of leaders, infrastructure, public health, education, and any others you can think of. Where are resources currently directed? What are the opportunity costs of using resources in this way? Is the current allocation of resources efficient? Could resources be better allocated? Support your claims with evidence and economic theory.
5. What responsibility do developed countries have in alleviating the strife caused by the appropriation of resources by political leaders in African countries? Is there any validity to the claim that citizens of poorer countries are exploited by individuals in developed countries who make deals with political leaders for the nation’s resources? Is there action that can be taken by developed countries to help alleviate the problem? Has such action ever been taken? Be sure to support your claims with evidence from valid sources.
6. What market imperfections exist in the allocation of resources in African countries? What steps could be taken to either remove or ease the imperfections to allow the market mechanisms to function efficiently?
The paper will be 6-8 pages in length not counting the cover page or reference page.
APA format must be used. The paper will include a cover page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference page.
The introduction must clearly identify your research question and the countries you are using to support your thesis.
While the paper will be written in narrative reporting form, it will address a set of issues related to an overall research question. Do not enumerate or bullet the questions or issues in list form. Include the information that addresses the questions and issues in the body of the paper.
Information should be summarized and paraphrased as much as possible. Direct quotes should be limited to ideas that cannot be expressed in words other than those used by the source. A good guideline is to have direct quotes represent no more than 5% of the paper, not including statistics and the reference page. Substantial points will be deducted if more than 8% of the paper is directly quoted, and the paper will not be accepted if more than 30% is directly quoted.
Scholarly sources and/orreputable news sources must be used to validate factual information and to support critical analysis. There must be at least three such scholarly sources and/or reputable news sources cited in addition to information that may be taken from the assigned readings and course text. Editorials, opinion pages, commentaries, and blogs that are posted at news media web pages are not to be used for this purpose (that is, to validate factual information and to support critical analysis). Sources must be recent (within the last 5 years).
Opinion pages such as those mentioned above and user-contributed websites may be usedin addition to scholarly and reputable sources to demonstrate the viewpoint(s) of those potentially affected by policy, but may not be used to validate factual information.
Students are not limited to suggested resources; other reputable websites are also permitted. In evaluating a website, consider the credentials of the author of the article being cited. If there is any doubt the credibility of the source, check with your instructor.
List of Sub-Saharan Countries
· Delivering on the promise Leveraging natural resources to accelerate human development in Africa. (Gates Foundation and African Development Bank, 6/2015)
· Securing Africa’s Natural Resource to Avoid Conflict (Institute for Security Studies, 6/2013)
· Africa’s Natural Resources: The Paradox of Plenty (African Bank, 2007)
· Analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future (World Bank, 4/2013)
· Analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future (World Bank, 10/2013)
· The Economy of Conflict in the Oil Rich Niger Delta Region of Nigeria (Nordic Journal of
· Burgis, Tom. The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers and the Theft of Africa Wealth. 2015. ISBN: 978-1610394390.
· Chayes, Sarah. Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. Especially Chapters 10 and 14. 2015. ISBN:978-0393239461.
· Bond, Patrick.Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation. 2006. ISBN:978-1842778111.
Official Statistics and Country Profiles
· World Bank's World Development Indicators
· International Monetary Fund profiles of countries (this link is to Angola, but once there you can select any country)http://www.imf.org/external/country/ago/
· Poverty and Equity (Sub-Saharan Africa)
· United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database
· U.S. Department of State homepage (Country profiles the bottom right of the home page)
· CIA's world fact book with country profiles
Natural Resources Information
· World Resources Institute (WRI) on Natural Resource Rights
· Interactive map for Natural Resources Rights for Sub-Saharan African Countries
· National Geographic report on Africa’s resources
Rubric – 150 Points
High- 24 to 30 Points
Middle- 18 to 23 Points
Low- 0 to 17 Points
Analysis and Economic Content
Writing reflects a sophisticated understanding of economic theories, concepts and main ideas of course materials. Information presented is clearly related to economic concepts and economic perspectives and applications are clearly identified.
Writing reflects a basic understanding of economic theories, concepts and main ideas of course materials. Information presented may be related to economic concepts but this relationship is not clearly identified and may not be apparent to the reader.
Writing does not reflect an understanding of economic theories, concepts and main ideas of course materials.
Scope and Compre-hension
Major thesis is clearly identified and presented with depth. Countries are clearly identified and described with enough detail to address the research question. Analysis and position regarding the research question is clear and demonstrates clear understanding of the issue and is well supported.
Major thesis is clearly identified and presented but may lack depth. Countries are identified and described but my not provide enough detail to address the research question well. Position regarding the research question is clear but analysis may not demonstrate clear understanding of the issue or may not be well supported.
Major thesis is not clearly presented. Countries may be identified but there is not enough detail to clearly relate them to the research question. Position regarding the research question may not be clearly communicated.
Paper demonstrates original or innovative thinking. Writer communicates insight and perceptiveness in making connections. Paper begins with strong objective facts and then progresses to interpretation, application, and analysis.
Paper demonstrates some original or innovative thinking. Writer communicates some insight and perceptiveness in making connections. Paper tends more toward reporting without interpretation, application, or analysis.
Paper does not demonstrate original or innovative thinking. Writer does not communicate insight and perceptiveness in making connections. Paper is almost entirely reporting without interpretation, application, or analysis.
Clarity of Writing and Writing Technique
Writing is crisp, clear, and succinct. Sentence structure is effective and author paraphrases effectively and offers additional interpretation and perspective. Supporting references and examples are offered effectively. Paper is well-organized with effective segue. No spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors are made.
Writing is generally clear, unnecessary words may be used. Paragraph or sentence structure is repetitive or too similar to the source without additional interpretation or perspective. Supporting references and examples are not clearly tied to the thesis. Paper could be better organized. Few spellings, grammar, or punctuation errors are made.
Hard to understand, writing is disorganized or distracting. Information is too similar to the source without additional interpretation or perspective. Supporting references and examples are missing or weak. Paper is unorganized or organization is distracting. Paper contains misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and improper punctuation.
Citations/ References, APA format
Citations and paper follow APA format.
Citations are provided but do not follow APA format. Paper may follow some APA guidelines but lacks APA compliance in some places.
Citations do not provide enough information to identify sources. Paper does not follow APA format.
Use of Direct Quotes
** 10 point deduction if more than 8% of the paper is direct quotes (not including tables, charts, quantitative data, personal interviews, in-text citations, and reference page).
**Paper not accepted if more than 30) of the paper is direct quotes (not including tables, charts, quantitative data, personal interviews, in-text citations, and reference page)
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