Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Teaching Methods > Quantitative Writing > Examples


Effective QW assignments in economics come in a variety of flavors from simple to complex. They can be used in courses at all levels from principles of economics to senior capstones. They can be done in-class or out-of-class. They can be individual or group assignments. The analysis can be simple or complex. For examples in other disciplines, see the Pedagogy in Action collection.

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Subject: Economics


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Writing about Numbers We Should Know part of Examples
Neil Lutsky, Carleton College
This opening assignment for an introductory quantitative reasoning course asks students to write about "Numbers We Should Know." Its goal is to help students begin to think quantitatively, evaluate the sources of quantitative information critically, and write using numbers precisely and thoughtfully.

Exploring Economic Inequality with Data part of Examples
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College
This set of assignments exposes students to data which can be used to analyze economic inequality in international and historical context. Then students are asked to generate a thesis-driven argument drawing supporting evidence from one or more of the data sources.

Do Quantitative Indicators Make Qualitative Meaning?: Analysis of World Development Indicators, Human Development Indicators, and Happy Planet Indicators part of Examples
Tun Myint, Carleton College
The following urls contains relevant materials for this assignment:

Economic Development of British Colonial America part of Examples
Serena Zabin, Carleton College
Through a close study of a rich set of demographic and economic statistics, students will see the development over 150 years of two similar yet divergent colonies (Virginia and Barbados). They will work through population, land use, and trade statistics with closely-guiding questions in order to find links between one set of numbers and another.

Data Rich Economic Policy Brief part of Examples
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College
This assignment asks students to write a data-rich policy brief, showing their ability to apply standard microeconomic models and contextualizing the policy debate with numeric evidence.

Empirical Economics Research Proposal part of Examples
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College
This assignment asks students to propose an original research question and identify data that could be used to answer that question.

Analyzing the Last Five Years of the US Economy for an Intermediate Macro Course part of Examples
Steven Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
Intermediate students are asked to analyze data on the components of consumption and investment expenditures and explanatory variables based on textbook models of each. Students look for rough correlations between the explanatory and dependent variables.

Writing Precise Explanations of Graphic/Tabular Display of Economic Data part of Examples
Dean Peterson, Seattle University
This assignment asks for short, precise explanations of economic data displayed in graphs and tables.

Comparison of GDP and the Human Development Index (HDI). part of Examples
, Carleton College
This assignment exposes students to data on economic growth anddevelopment as commonly measured by per capita GDP and the HumanDevelopment Index (HDI) for 100 countries of the world. There is a bigdebate about how good an indicator HDI is compared to GDP per capita asa measure of development.

Measuring Wellbeing across Racial Groups using Data and Statistics part of Examples
, Carleton College
This set of assignments exposes students to statistics and data pertaining to economic wellbeing over time across racial (black-white)categories in the U.S.

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