`Bishop s University Department of Economics ECO 360 Advanced Topics in Applied Economics: Socio-economics. Course Outline Fall 2005






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`Bishop’s University Department of Economics

ECO 360

Advanced Topics in Applied Economics: Socio-economics

Course Outline Fall 2005

Instructor: Ambrose Leung Office: Cormier Centre 201

Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 3:00 – 4:30 P.M. Tuesday 2:30 - 3:30 P.M.

Phone: (819)-822-9600 ext. 2752 Email: aleung@ubishops.ca


Course Description:

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the analysis of social issues using economic methodology. The course is divided into three parts: (1) a general understanding of social interaction between individuals, the formation of norms, the role of trust and cooperation within a community; (2) the analysis of various social forces and institutions including family, school, and religion; and (3) the discussion of social problems such as risky behaviour, crime and violence, and urban poverty.

Course Prerequisites:

ECO 208 and ECO 212 or consent of instructor. EMA261 is recommended but not required. NOTE: This course is both reading and writing intensive; and requires a combination of mathematical, critical thinking, and creative writing skills. Diligent effort to keep up with all required readings, as well as class attendance and participation, are necessary to the successful completion of this course.

Course Text:


(1) Journals:

• Each topic covered in this course will be presented in a 75-minute lecture session by the instructor, followed by a 75-minute discussion session led by one or more students. Each student’s presentation should be between 15 and 20 minutes.

• Journal articles will be assigned for each discussion session. Each student must read the assigned discussion papers in advance, attend the discussion session, and submit a 1-2 page(s) journal for each paper discussed at the end of class. The purpose of the journal is to allow you the opportunity to think about issues to be discussed in class. All journals must be type-written and will be graded based on your understanding and critical evaluation of each discussion paper. The journals are worth 15% of the course grade. The lowest mark will be deleted from the calculation of your final grade. Late journals will not be accepted without any exception.

• Discussion leaders are required to prepare at least two questions related to the assigned discussion paper for class discussion.

(II) Class participation:

• For each discussion session and research project presentation, students who are not presenters must be prepared to actively participate and discuss issues raised by the presenters and/or other class participants. Class participation is worth 10% of the course grade.

• Effective September 19, 2005, each student is expected to attend all classes. Each student is allowed to miss one class during the course of the term without receiving any penalty. A 2% deduction will be imposed on each of the additional classes missed.

(III) Research project:

• Each student is to research on a social issue or problem of interest using economic methodology.

• The paper can either be (i) a literature survey of papers that apply the economic approach to analyse a social issue, including an appraisal/critique of the current state of the literature, or (ii) an original piece of theoretical and/or empirical work that applies the economic approach to understand a social issue, including a discussion of the limitations of the analysis.

• Some potential topics for the term project include, but not limited to, social interaction, cooperation, gift exchange, equity issues, discrimination, family,


A research proposal is due on October 13, 2005 by 1 P.M. The proposal must contain the intended topic of research, the purpose and the target audience of the paper, a brief description of the research methodology, and a list of at least five references and two of which from publications disseminated no earlier than January, 1998. The proposal is worth 10% of the course grade, which must be typed, double-spaced and no longer than 3 pages. Any late proposal is penalized by a 2%

deduction each working day it is late. Any proposal that is submitted FIVE (5) or more working days after the due date will receive a ZERO on the proposal.

A progress report of the research paper is due on November 10, 2005 by 1 P.M. The progress report must contain at least an almost completed literature survey of the proposed topic and if applicable, a detailed description of the research methodology (i.e., a concrete outline of a theoretical model and/or a description of the database and the empirical methods). The write-up of the progress report is worth 25% of the course grade, and must be type-written. Any late report is penalized by a 5%

deduction each working day it is late. Any progress report that is submitted FIVE (5) or more working days after the due date will receive a ZERO on the report.

The final draft of the research project is due on December 6, 2005 by 1 P.M. An electronic version of the paper is required. The content of the final draft must be typed, double-spaced, with font size 12 in Times New Roman, and no longer than 35 pages in length. The final draft of the research project is worth 35% of the course grade, and is to be presented in class at the end of the term. The submission of any late final draft will receive a penalty of an 8% deduction each working day it is late. No final draft will be accepted FIVE (5) working days after the due date.

Summary of grading criteria:

Journals: 15%

Class participation: 10%

Research project:

research proposal (due October 13, 2005 in class) 10% progress report (due November 10, 2005 in class) 25% final draft (due December 6, 2005 by 1 P.M.) 40%


4 Tentative Schedule:

(Required readings are denoted by * and can be accessed through the R drive. All other readings listed serve only as references. The instructor reserves the right to add to the list of required readings.)

Week 1 (September 13 and 15, 2005) Introduction


-Becker, Gary S. (1996), “The Economic Way of Looking at Life” in Accounting for Tastes, Chapter 7, pp. 139-161. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


- Becker, Gary S. (1996), “Norms and the Formation of Preferences” in Accounting for Tastes, Chapter 11, pp. 225-230. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Becker, Gary S. (1996), “Spouses and Beggars: Love and Sympathy” in Accounting for Tastes, Chapter 12, pp. 231-237. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

-Gintis, Herbert and Paul Romer (1998), “The Human Side of Economic Analysis: Economic environment and the evolution of norms and preferences,” working paper.


-Varian, Hal (1997), “How to Build an Economic Model in your Spare Time,” unpublished paper. (this paper can be found on the R drive under this course)

Week 2 (September 20 and 22, 2005) Social interaction and social capital Readings:

-*Lawson, Catherine L. and JoAnne Katz (2004), “Restorative Justice: an Alternative Approach to Juvenile Crime,” Journal of Socio-economics, 33(2):175-188.

-*Tiepoh, M. Geepu Nah and Bill Reimer (2004), Social Capital, Information Flows, and Income Creation in Rural Canada: a Cross-Community Analysis,” Journal of Socio-economics,


-Frank, Robert H. (1992), “Melding Sociology and Economics: James Coleman’s Foundations of Social Theory,” Journal of Economic Literature, 30(1):147-70.

-Leung, Ambrose (2002), “Delinquency, Social Institutions, and Capital Accumulation,” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 158(3):420-440.


Week 3 (September 27 and 29, 2005) Religion and church


-*Lipford, Jody W. and Robert D. Tollison (2003), “Religious Participation and Income,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 51(2):249-60.

-*Steen, Todd P. (2004), “The Relationship between Religion and Earnings: Recent Evidence from the NLSY Youth Cohort,” International Journal of Social Economics, 31(5-6): 572-581. -Azzi, Corry and Ronald Ehrenberg (1975), “Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance,” Journal of Political Economy, 83:27-56.

-Hollander, Gideon, Nava Kahana, and Tikva Lecker (2003), “Religious and Secular Human Capital: An Economic Model,” Journal of Socio-Economics, 32(5):489-98.

-Iannaccone, Laurence (1998), “Introduction to the Economics of Religion,” Journal of Economic Literature, 36:1465-96.

Week 4 (October 4 and 6, 2005)

Family I: Home production and the role of mothers Readings:

-*Dooley, Martin D., Stephane Gascon, Pierre Lefebvre, and Philip Merrigan (2000), “Lone Female Headship and Welfare Policy in Canada,” Journal of Human Resources (35):587-602. -*Woolley, Frances (2004), “Why Pay Child Benefits to Mothers?” Canadian Public Policy, 30(1):47-69.

-Bergstrom, Theodore (1996), “Economics in a Family Way,” Journal of Economic Literature, 34:1903-34.

-Gronau, Reuben (1977), “Leisure, Home Production, and Work: The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited,” Journal of Political Economy, 85(6): 1099-1123.

Week 5 (October 13, 2005) Family II: Children and family Readings:

-*Monks, James (2004), “An Empirical Examination of the Impact of College Financial Aid on Family Savings,” National Tax Journal, 57(2), Part 1:189-207.

-*Painter, Gary and David I. Levine (2000), “Family Structure and Youths’ Outcome,” Journal of Human Resources, 35(3):524-549.

-Amuwo, Shaffdeen, Robert Fabian, George Tolley, Ardith Spence, and Jacqueline Hill (2004), “Child Discipline and Family Decision-making,” Journal of Socio-Economics, 33(2):153-173. -Becker, Gary (1981), A Treatise on the Family, Chapter 3, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

-Bruce, Neil and Michael Waldman (1990), “The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan’s Dilemma,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105:155-65.


6 Week 6 (October 18 and 20)

Education and school Readings:

-*Drost, Helmar (1994), “Schooling, Vocational Training and Unemployment: The Case of Canadian Aboriginals,” Canadian Public Policy, 20(1):52-65.

-*Vartanian, Thomas P. and Philip M. Gleason (1999), “Do Neighborhood Conditions Affect High School Dropout and College Graduation Rates?” Journal of Socio-Economics, 28(1):21-41. -Ferris, J. Stephen and Edwin G. West (2002), “Education Vouchers, the Peer Group Problem, and the Question of Dropouts,” Southern Economic Journal, 68(4):774-93.

-Hanushek, Eric A. (1986), “The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools,” Journal of Economic Literature, 24(3):1141-77.

Week 7 (October 25 and 27, 2005) Crime and violence


-*Comanor, William S. and Llad Phillips (2002), “The Impact of Income and Family Structure on Delinquency,” Journal of Applied Economics, 5(2):209-232.

-*Wilson, Dennis P. (2005), “Additional Law Enforcement as a Deterrent to Criminal Behavior: Empirical Evidence from the National Hockey League,” Journal of Socio-Economics, 34(3):319-330. -Leung, Ambrose and J. Stephen Ferris (2002), “School Size and Youth Violence,” Carleton

Economic Papers 02-10.

Levitt, Steven D. (2004), “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(1):163-190.

Week 8 (November 1 and 3, 2005) Risky behaviour


-*Aughinbaugh, Alison and Maury Gittleman (2004), “Maternal Employment and Adolescent Risky Behavior,” Journal of Health Economics, 23(4):815-838.

-*Carpenter, Christopher (2005), “Youth Alcohol Use and Risky Sexual Behavior: Evidence from Underage Drunk Driving laws,” Journal of Health Economics, 24(3):613-628.

-Gruber, Jonathan (2001), “Introduction” in Risky Behavior among Youths. Jonathan Gruber (ed.), Chicago: National Bureau of Economic Research, pp. 1-27.

-O’Donoghue, Ted and Matthew Rabin (2001), “Risky Behavior among youths: Some Issues from Behavioural Economics” in Risky Behavior among Youths. Jonathan Gruber (ed.), Chicago: National Bureau of Economic Research, pp.29-67.


Week 9 (November 8 and 10, 2005) Poverty and underclass


-*Israel, Mark, and Michael Seeborg (1999), “The Impact of Youth Characteristics and Experiences on Transitions out of Poverty,” Journal of Socio-Economics, 27(6):753-76. -*Osberg, Lars (2000), “Poverty in Canada and the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Implications,” Canadian Journal of Economics, 33:(4):847-77.

- Mills, Edwin S. and Luan Sende Lubuele (1997), “Inner Cities,” Journal of Economic Literature, 35(2):727-56.

-Oxoby, Robert (2004), “Status, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Growth of the Underclass”, Economic Journal, 114(October):727-749.

Research Progress Report due on November 10, 2005 by 1 P.M.

Week 10 (November 15 and 17, 2005) TBA

Weeks 11 and 12 (November 22, 24, 29, and December 1 2005)

Research Project Presentation



Guidelines for Writing an Economic Research Paper

A. Leung Fall 2005

Like any other paper, an economic paper should, of course, be written and well-organized. Unfortunately, the ability to write well is a skill that cannot be acquired overnight; however, you can be sure that the more you practice, the more quickly your writing will improve. In addition, pay careful attention to how the articles you are required to read for your courses are structured. Articles in academic journals usually follow a certain structure that is easy to detect and follow. In order to make your paper more readable, it is a good idea to adopt the style of a particular journal such as the Journal of Socio-economics. Alternatively, you may want to adhere to the style guidelines set out in a particular style manual. Many such manuals are available. One that is widely used for the preparation of research papers is that of Turabian.1

Finally, before you start writing, pause to think about what you are going to say. It is often a good idea to draw up a detailed outline of your paper before you actually begin writing it. The order in which you discuss various points can have a big impact on the clarity and

readability of your paper.

If you would like to improve your writing skills, it is a good idea to pay the Writing Centre on campus a visit, which is located in Divinity 10. For more information, please contact the centre’s coordinator Ms. S. Mcalden at extension 2400.

Elements of the paper

Although the number and organization of sections and subsections varies from paper to paper, most good economic research papers contain the following elements.

An abstract: a short summary of about 100-250 words which appears before the main content of the paper (usually on the first page under the title of the paper).

The purpose of the abstract is to inform the readers about the contribution of the paper, including the motivation (why the paper is written), the methodology (how to understand the issues in question), and the evidence presented, if any (what is being found by the study). Since the abstract is a summary of the paper, it is usually written last after the rest of the paper is completed.

The main content of the paper usually contains the following elements:

(I) An introduction, in which the problem to be addressed and the contribution of the paper are presented. It is important to state clearly in the introduction the motivation of the paper.

1 Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 5th ed. (Chicago: University of


(II) A review of the relevant theoretical and empirical literature. The review should consider other authors’ approaches to the problem you wish to address, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses thereof. If you plan to do a literature survey, the coverage of issues is expected to be relatively broad, and it is important to categorize the issues into different sections. The purpose of a literature survey often is to compare and contrast the different approaches used in different articles.

If you plan to introduce an alternative theoretical model, or to conduct your own empirical study, you have to justify the purpose of doing yet another

theoretical/empirical study of a same issue presented in previous literature. Sometimes that justification may simply be that a different theoretical model can provide an alternative way to examine the same issue; or no one has tested the hypothesis using the data set that you wish to use. In other cases, it may be that you have identified some weakness of other analyses that you think you can use a different theory or empirical study to improve the understanding of the issue.

(III) The development and discussion of a theoretical model. If you plan to devise a new theoretical model, you must specify all the necessary assumptions required and show the construction of the model clearly. If a similar theoretical model has been

presented elsewhere in the literature, you must carefully explain how the new model is different from the previous one(s).

If you plan to write an empirical paper, you must provide a (brief) discussion of the theoretical model that you have chosen as the basis of your research. If the model is particularly well-known, or if it has been clearly described elsewhere, this discussion may be fairly short. However, you should always provide references for readers who wish to learn more about the underlying theoretical model if your model is not an original one.

(IV) For an empirical paper, a discussion of the data used must be included. This discussion should cover the data sources, the sample period and/or number of observations, some descriptive statistics about the variables used and any limitations of the data set. It is often impossible for researchers to locate data that correspond exactly to the theoretical definitions of variables; in this case, one must justify one’s choice of proxy variables and discuss the likely consequences of using the proxy variables instead of the theoretically appropriate variables. In discussing your statistical results, it is usually a good idea to put them in context by comparing them to those of previous researchers.

(V) A conclusion, in which you summarize the important results of your analysis (i.e., the contribution of your paper). Suggestions on the directions for future research are desirable, especially in the case of a literature survey. You may also wish to discuss





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