You have quite a bit of freedom as to which topic you study for this
course. It can be a technique, a policy, an industry, or a technology, for
example. Keep in mind, though, that:
1. The topic should apply the economist's way of thinking.
2. You must write your report and give your oral presentation by yourself. This is one of the few courses in which you get practice working on your own. If two of you want to write related reports and help each other, that's fine, but you will be graded independently.
3. You should do some data analysis. This might mean regression analysis, or it might mean comparing financial accounts across companies, or it might mean analyzing data and presenting it in tables and graphs (creating a new variable from data you have found for example). Or, you might collect your own data-- on prices charged by different stores in Bloomington, for example. The best path to an ``A'' paper is to either collect your own data or use regression analysis.
4. You should use some graphs, to get practice and feedback in how to use them.
If you chose ``The AA Battery Industry,'' your report would contain more facts and less theory, and would be based on many easy-to-understand (but hard-to-find!) sources instead of a few hard-to-understand sources that I tell you about. If you chose ``A Plan for Social Security,'' you would have a mix of a few facts, some simple theory, and a lot of your own analysis. You may pick your topic from the list below, or pick one that you think of yourself. It is important that the topic be interesting to you-- this is a chance to learn about a topic you've wondered about-- but I include this list to give you some ideas.
Are Patents Too Short?
The Effect of Campaign Spending in 2008
Are Copyrights Too Long?
The Failure of the Rating Agencies to Predict Risk Correctly
The Market for Mortgage-Backed Securities
The Market for Subprime Loans
What Is the Cost of Smoking?
What Is the Cost of Drinking?
Will Netbooks Replace Laptops?
Can Linux Supplant Windows?
The Future of MS-Word
The TARP Program
SHould There Be a Fiscal Stimulus?
What Form Should the Fiscal Stimulus Take?
Should the Government Nationalize Banks?
The Market for Abortions
What Is the Future for Inflation-Indexed Bonds?
The Path of the Real Interest Rate Since 2000.
What Is the Future for Home Prices?
A School Voucher System for Indiana
The Effects Bankruptcy of GM Would Have
Should We Abolish the Corporate Income Tax?
Should Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Be Dissolved?
The Effect of Climate Change on Indiana
Switching from Income Tax to Carbon Taxes
The Future of Nuclear Power
Housing Prices in Indianapolis
Whose Fault Was the Financial Crisis of 2008?
Should the Investment Banks Have Seen the Financial Crisis Coming?
The Effect of Police on Crime
The Effect of Prisons on Crime
The Contribution of Low Interest Rates to the Financial Crisis
The Effect of Taxing Health Insurance Benefits
Which Industries Supported Which Parties in the 2008 Elections?
Explaining Salary Differences Between Professors in Different Subjects
How the Megachurches Market Religion
Explaining 2009's Gasoline Prices
The Money Multiplier in 2009
What Would Have Happened if the TARP Program Had Not Been Approved?
Politics and Fannie Mae
Book prices in Bloomington--compare across stores
Milk prices in Bloomington---compare across stores
A plan to reform social security
Should something be done now about global warming?
A plan to reform parking stickers at IU
Profit rates in different industries: why do they differ?
The future of real estate development in Bloomington
Forecasting choice of major at IU in 2020
Can General Motors survive?
The effect of unionization on salaries of airline pilots
The economic integration of North Korea after reunification
Economic development in Iraq
Economic development in Afghanistan
How do corporate profits change with inflation? Is real estate overpriced?
Are movie tickets priced optimally in Bloomington?
How should software be included in the consumer price index?
Does the American steel industry have a future?
CEO retirement--when should it occur?
The AA battery industry
The restaurant industry in Bloomington (or Indianapolis, or...)
The church industry in Bloomington (or Indianapolis, or...)
The bookstore industry in Bloomington (or Indianapolis, or...)
Sales taxes on goods sold on the Internet
The effect of reducing copyright terms to 20 years
Estimating the increase in use of cocaine after legalization
Which cars have the highest profit margins and why?
A comparison of grocery prices in Bloomington, Indianapolis, and nearby small towns
How is adult alcoholism in 2005 related to changes in drinking ages in 1980?
Why do such a small number of US sugar producers get import protection at the expense of so many sugar consumers?
How I would create a movement to defeat the political power of sugar producers
A comparison of health care provision in different countries
Do multinational enterprises help or hinder economic development?
Is free trade increasing in the world or declining?
The behavior of prices in Internet auctions
An evaluation of the acquisition of X by Y (insert company names)
Is Chapter 11 abused by businesses?
How has downloading affected the music industry?
Should Indiana University be privatized?
Should the I-69 highway extension be a toll road?
Is the I-69 highway extension good for the United States as a whole?
Are there too many sellers of pizza in Bloomington?
Are the offices of Indiana criminal prosecutors understaffed?
How I would reform the Indiana state income tax
Why are crime rates different in different regions within the United States?
I've posted lists of topics used in some previous semesters on the course website as an illustration of what kind of topics students have found interesting.