Paper Length/Details: I do not like to specify a minimum, or maximum, length as the content of the paper is more interesting to me. I expect you to research and provide a thorough discussion of the topic you have chosen.
For those who feel a need to have some lower bound on paper length, I would suggest the paper should not be shorter than 5 double-spaced pages, with 1″ margin and 12 pt font size. However, this is meant as a guideline and will not be enforced if, for example, I think you have handled your topic well in 3 pages. There is no upper bound on paper length.
You may, of course, use the web or any other resource to gather material. However, you must use some reference materials in addition to the web – books, newsmagazines, journals, etc. The paper must be your work, in your own words. You may not copy substantial amounts of material from a source, and you must provide citations for sources and indicate clearly material that is directly copied from a source.
An important part of the research process is to search for, and research, a topic that is important to you. Thus, I hate to list topics because: (1)I do not want you to think I am excluding other topics that may interest you; and (2)I would prefer you do some creative thinking about your own topic. However, on the next page is a very brief (and unimaginative) list of some topics. Immediately below are some of the hottest current topics:
· Proposed Free Trade Areas: – Are there any additional difficulties in enforcing free trade rules when economies in which the central government plays a large role are part of the free trade area? How have the various free trade agreements into which the U.S. has entered affected trade among the participating countries and employment in each country?
· US-European Trade Disputes – over the years there have been a number of trade disputes between these two economic blocs, even though they are usually good allies (with the exception of the Iraq war). Many of these disputes have involved agricultural products, such as disputes about trade in genetically modified organisms (GMs) – though recently settled disputes concerned trade in steel and other current disputes focus on U.S. tax rebates for firms exporting goods and the role of each bloc in subsidizing domestic aircraft manufacturers (the EU subsidizes Airbus, the US defense program may be deemed a subsidy to Boeing). What should international policy be on GMs? Should each country be allowed to regulate these products as it sees fits? Should countries harmonize tax policies so that disputes such as the current one are avoided?
· Trade and the Environment – another issue, especially with respect to trade between richer and poorer countries, concerns the impact of trade on environmental goals and whether trade pacts (like NAFTA) with the poorer countries somehow hurt the environment or put US firms at a disadvantage because of stricter US environmental rules. Also, what are the prospects for a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Treaty (which the US did not sign)? If countries agree to specific targets to limit pollution, should these “pollution rights” be tradable between countries? Should developing countries be exempted from international environmental standards since the current “rich” countries did not face such standards when they were developing? Does trade promote a “race to the bottom” in the sense that environmental standards tend towards those of the country that does the least to protect the environment? Should trade agreements and environmental agreements be made jointly?
· Labor Standards and Trade – should international trade policy also include an attempt to impose (US or European) labor standards on other, poorer countries (for example, concerning age, working conditions, number of hours worked per day, etc)? If so, whose standards should be used? Should there be any restrictions on trade in goods produced by prison, or slave, labor? What are the economic implications of doing so?
· Globalization and the World Economy – What does “globalization” mean? Do international agreements (through the World Trade Organization (WTO)) limit national sovereignty and is that a “good” or “bad” thing? Should countries be allowed to protect certain industries, e.g., those that are central to “national culture”? If so, where do you draw the line about which goods can be protected?
· How important are Multinational firms (MNFs) in the world economy? What fraction of world output do they account for, and are they beneficial or harmful? Does the power of MNFs to move anywhere in the world restrict policies of individual governments? Should there be rules limiting their spread?
· Wage Inequality and Trade – data indicates a growing gap between the wages for skilled and unskilled labor, and several candidates have made this part of the Presidential campaign. What role has trade and immigration played in this process? What implications does outsourcing have for this trend? What policies, if any, should the US take to offset this trend.
· In depth treatment of some topic under GATT or WTO, such as: Dispute Settlement Process; Agriculture and the GATT, Dumping, …
· NAFTA – What are the key elements of this agreement. Is it working? What is the overall impact on jobs? Should it be renegotiated? Why or why not?