Economics Research Essay Help Online
BSB113 Economics Semester 1 2015
Assessment 2: Research essay
Students are required to prepare an essay (1250 words) on a key economic issue for a Minister or CEO who has limited time to research the economic problem or issue for themselves. The essay should provide the reader with an overview of current economic thinking and research on the economic issue, briefly detailing the supporting economic theory. It is a requirement of this assessment item that students provide appropriate in-text citations and a reference list inclusive of full bibliographic details of all cited research materials (e.g. academic journals, data etc.). The required referencing style is APA. The subject content of this task will relate to the materials covered in lectures weeks 1-7. Please note that this assessment will be submitted online through Turn-It-In.
You are currently volunteering for McCluskers Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth1 providing administration support for them at a local office. During a well-earned tea break, someone pitches in that Australians spent approximately $1 billion in alcopops taxes in the 2014-15 financial year. They then go on to decry the effectiveness of government policies aimed at reducing youth binge drinking.
You remember that your lecturer in BSB113 had spoken about using taxes as a way to “correct” for the negative effects borne by society of activities such as cigarette smoking and youth binge drinking. The lecture had used a partial equilibrium framework to demonstrate how individual consumption of such goods can lead to an inefficient equilibrium. This is because of a market failure caused by a negative externality in consumption. The lecturer then demonstrated how a tax on the good can move the market back to a socially efficient level of consumption. Confident of your understanding of the economics you say that taxes can be very effective at changing behaviour, particularly if consumers are very price sensitive, as is the case of young drinkers.
You then remember that the lecturer went on to say that the effectiveness of a tax to deter anti-social behaviour is complicated. Taxes aimed at specific types of alcohol (e.g. alcopops) can results in consumers substituting their consumption for other types of alcohol (e.g. spirits). There are also incentives for the alcohol industry to respond with heavy price discounts to encourage product substitution.
You go on to say (to the now captivated tea room audience – talking about economics always has that affect on people) that the alcopops tax indicated a willingness of the government to tackle a thorny problem. You say that the next step should be to think about a comprehensive policy approach. From a pricing perspective an example of alternative policy is a minimum price on all types of alcoholic beverages Non-pricing policies could include education, countermeasures (e.g. drink driving campaign, encouraging provision of alternative transportation, including public transport) and reducing the impact of marketing on young people and adolescents. (Nice save!).
Your input into the discussion was overheard by Professor Mike Daube, Director of the McCusker Centre. He is impressed by your insights and has asked that you write him a critical overview of the economics of youth binge drinking.
You email your BSB113 unit coordinator desperate for some help. Louisa suggests breaking your report down as follows:
1. Present an overview of the issues associated with youth alcohol consumption in Australia
Hint: As an economist, we generally start by framing the problem. We also refer to this as setting the context: In this part of your essay, you need to clearly articulate why drinking too much alcohol is perceived as a problem from a societal perspective. This is not simply a case of stating “I think it is a problem because …”. You need to present and interpret data on economic costs of alcohol consumption, rates of alcohol consumption and note key policies that have attempted to reduce alcohol consumption. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it presented in any particular order! Note that in this analysis the focus is on a particular group ‘youth binge drinkers’.
2. Present a description of the relevant economic model to show how a tax on producers that is equal to the external costs of binge drinking could result in a socially efficient level of alcohol consumption.
Hint: So what is the economic model which underpins your economic analysis? We have been pretty focused on developing one key model so far this semester. Remember that “X” marks the spot!. In this case it is over consumption of a good that is leading to a socially inefficient outcome. To correct for that, you can demonstrate how a simple tax can move the market for alcopopss back to a socially efficient level of consumption. Keep it simple and assume that the legal incidence of the tax is on producers (supply side).
3. Present a critical analysis of the effectiveness of alcopops tax.
Hint: You are working with a word limit so you will need to be selective and concise with your arguments. There is evidence out there that alcopops tax have been successful (though you will not be getting marks for simply repeating this sentence back). You must draw on appropriate academic literature and/or present empirical evidence about the success of the tax, its limitations and alternative policies that may be more effective/appropriate. To keep it manageable, Louisa has suggested looking at (i) one alternative pricing policy (minimum price) and (ii) one non pricing policy (the choice is yours). In your essay keep it simple – give an overview of how the policies will work and a summary of the potential strengths weaknesses of the respective policies. Note, you are not required to say one policy is better than the other.
Louisa also recommends that:
• you write an unbiased informed critical economic essay and not a political document
• your essay is academically rigorous with references to relevant data and academic literature
• you do not get drawn into reporting emotive arguments (interesting as they are).
Instructions for research essay
Your audience’s background knowledge in economics
Whilst the Director of the McCusker Centre does not have any formal economics training, he has picked up an understanding of economic theory and terminology. He is regularly exposed to documents drafted by economists and follows contemporary economic analysis in the media. For example, he is a regular reader of publications such as The Economist and takes a keen interest in economic articles published by economists for a wider audience in The Conversation (online) and Australian Policy Online.
Informed critical content
You are required to include a range of relevant scholarly sources that supports the flow and critical content of the discussion. All sources cited must be referenced using APA. For further information refer to Cite|Write http://www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/
If in doubt about how to reference a source please seek help from the subject librarian.
Maximum word length
Your research essay has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1250 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive of in-text citations). A suggested word count breakdown (to get you started) is presented below for the breakdown of the research essay task:
1. introduction …. 100 words
2. setting the context … 200 words.
3. a description of the relevant economic model… 425 words
4. a critical analysis of the key arguments … 425 words
5. conclusion …100 words
Note that your report should also include both an introduction and conclusion and should be in proportion to the length of the narrative being written (in other words don’t overdo it in the intro or conclusion as that means less words for the important bits).
The above word count is a starting point. Your actual word count for each section will be specific to your individual assessment (informed by the weighting in the criteria reference assessment table at the end of this document).
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