Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory and Policy


The purposes of the data exercises are to:

  • Enhance your skills at finding current economic data on the web;
  • Improving your skills at data presentation and explanation;
  • Provide you the opportunity to learn how to analyze economic data and, very importantly, to explain what it means - in short, turning data into useful information; and,
  • How to present that to a reader in a clear and understandable form.

For Data Exercises 1 and 2:

  1. You will select two related economic variables that you have studied during the relevant weeks;
  2. Find appropriate data on both variables;
  3. Present that data in a clear graphic or tabular form (or both if appropriate);
  4. Explain what the data shows - discuss/explain the data;
  5. Explain what the data means - give meaning to what the data shows; and.
  6. And explain why it matters - what is the economic importance or usefulness of what you found in your data analysis and discussion.

Points 4 and 5 initially seem to be about the same thing and they are close in meaning.  Point 4 is the process of walking the reader through the data presented in the table or graphic.  Point 5 is explaining to the reader what that data means.  In other words, tell the reader what the data is and explain what it means.  Remember this is a process of giving meaning to data.  Standing alone, data is just numbers.  Your task is to give those numbers a context and a meaning that converts numbers into information.

For Data Exercises 1 and 2, you get to select the variables you want to examine.  For Data Exercise 3, the instructions specify the variables to be examined (you have a limited choice).  After the variables have been identified, the process is the same.

Points to Remember:

  • Stay calm, this is actually a fun assignment and a great learning experience and it is not as daunting as it first appears;
  • You have to have real world data; i.e., numbers;
  • You have to have citations in the body of your report;
  • Tables and graphics need a citation immediately following the table or graphic, if you create the table or graphic then the citation is to the source of the data; and,
  • You need references at the end of the report.

Format Requirements:

  • Upload your report in MS Word format (.doc or .docx), if you use another format ask before uploading to be sure I can open it;
  • Double space the paper;
  • Have a title page;
  • Have a reference page;
  • Excluding the title and reference pages, the report should be 3 - 5 pages; and,
  • If you use an appendix, that would be in addition to the 3-5 pages.
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