The group project is due Ses #11, and will count for 25% of the grade. You will need to write a 10–15 page report on the macroeconomic environment in one country (other than the U.S.) as it is likely to look after the 2008–2009 global crisis. You can be optimistic or pessimistic, but you should ground your assessment in data of some kind, as well as the analytical concepts covered in the course. This is a group assignment. You can work in teams of 3–4 people on this project. You may choose to post your report on BaselineScenario (this is encouraged, as it will bring you a broader readership, but it is optional and will not affect your grade).
Guidelines and Suggestions
The following are broader suggestions, based on previous experience with Sloan Fellow papers in this class.
- Do provide an initial table of contents or otherwise lay out the structure of the paper at the beginning. This helps more than you can imagine.
- What is your bottom line? Can you summarize the main points of your argument or interpretation of events in just a few sentences? If not, then you may not have converged sufficiently within your group on the main conclusions to be drawn.
- Don’t just “dump” data on the reader at any point, whether in the main text or in appendices. Explain what numbers you are using and why. Otherwise readers are overloaded and tune out.
- Be sure to explain your exact sources for key points, whether facts or assertions. The credibility of sources varies a great deal and this helps the reader evaluate which parts of your work are built on rock and which more likely based on something sandy.
- When a team is comprised only of non–native English speakers, it is a very good idea to ask a native speaker to help edit the final text.
- Avoid vagueness of any kind. Be direct and specific.
- Integrate exhibits in the text—don’t just say, “see exhibit 4” (e.g., for graphical analysis) without discussing fully in the text. Assume that all readers of everything are busy and distracted people—they sit down with your text hoping to be drawn into it. Make things easy for them.
- Make your timeline of events under discussion very clear always.
- Use the analytical frameworks discussed in class—for 15.015 this is BBNN and ISLM, primarily, but also we talk a lot about fiscal issues and the macro aspects of financial regulation (and financial sector failure).
- If your entire team is from the same country and particularly if you are writing about that country, you might want to have an outsider look at your text. Do you have sufficient distance from the policies and events under discussion? Are you writing with a sufficiently critical eye?