an empirical research proposal


1. Final Project: Instructions

The final project consists of an empirical research proposal: you and two co-authors have to develop a research question about economic growth and, or inequality and write a short essay about it.

Think of the paper as the following: You have to formulate a question that you could answer with data if you had more time. At this point, you don’t need to answer this question, though, and answering it would take a much longer time (maybe you can try answering it after the course!).

What question can you ask? Any empirical question related to economic growth and/or inequality. The question must be empirical: it should not be a theoretical paper. Your question must be specific, though, and your paper should not be a “journalistic” article.

You can use descriptive statistics (tables, graphs) and other basic statistical methods like linear regression to motivate your question. It would be best to write well (spelling, grammar, punctuation, structure). Check with the U Manitoba Academic Learning Center for resources for students. It is also crucial to follow the format detailed below.

2. How to Write the Paper?

The paper should be between 3 and 5 pages long, with reasonable spacing between lines (1.5 works fine) and reasonably large font size (11 points works fine). The 3–5-page limit does not include references supporting figures, or tables. You can consist of your prominent two figures within the 3-5 pages, but more figures than that should be included in the Appendix. Your essay should include at least two figures (graphs or tables).

You should start by motivating your project and then introducing your question. Why is your question important? What led you to think about this? What is your hypothesis or prior belief at this point? How are you planning to answer this question? What kind of data should you use?

Keep your motivation to the point. Please do not exaggerate and overstate your contribution to the literature. Do not make strong policy claims based on tentative and preliminary research.

Since you will not have a conclusion in terms of answers, you should finish your paper by discussing what tools you need to learn to tackle the question (statistics, econometrics, computer science, etc.). It would be best if you discussed directions for future research.

Include a separate references section at the end of the paper. Every work cited in the text must appear in the references; every work listed in the references must be cited in the text. The references should be in alphabetical order. There are many different acceptable styles for citations and references. The only fundamental requirement is that you include enough information. You have to describe where and how you downloaded the graphs/tables/data you are using.

3. Ideas and Creativity

You should watch the documentary “Inequality for All.” Use one of the introductory paragraphs of your essay to explain whether the issue you are studying was addressed in the documentary or not. Use another paragraph to clarify if the course textbook discusses your topic or not.

Try to research something that genuinely interests you. My recommendation is that you start thinking of potential questions as soon as possible and keep a log where you can write them down and keep track of them. Otherwise, you will tend to forget them. You can then select what you think is the most exciting idea.

4. Final Grade

The project has a total of 100 points. Equal weights will determine your final grade on the following four categories: (1) Question and Motivation, (2) Writing Style, (3) Statistical Analysis and (4) Format.

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