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Written Assignments
The 10 written assignments below consist of short essay questions. Each
question deals with material from your text. Your response to each
assignment question should be well developed, conveying your thorough
understanding of relevant course material. If you include research from
beyond your text in your answers, be sure to provide proper source
If an answer requires you to present a graph or other content that you
cannot prepare on your keyboard, you may scan such answers in order to
submit them. Check with your mentor if you have any questions.
Submit the following assignments according to the instructions in the
Student Handbook section of the Course Manual on or before the
appropriate due dates (see the Course Calendar).
Written Assignment 1
1. What is the mechanism by which the “invisible hand” pushes
markets to equilibrium?
2. Explain the two main causes of market failure and give an
example of each.
3. Use a production possibilities frontier (PPF) to describe efficiency.
(This question can be answered either with or without the use of a
graph, depending on whether you have a graphing program on
your computer. It is possible to describe the various points on the
PPF without a graph.)
4. What is the difference between a
Course Syllabus
6. Describe goods and/or services in the provision of which you
have an absolute advantage. Explain what that advantage is.
Describe goods and/or services in the provision of which you
have a comparative advantage. (What do you give up less of?)
Explain what that advantage is. Now select a country and do the
same analysis for that country. What differences are there in
applying the principles at the national level?
Written Assignment 2
1. What are the factors that determine the quantity of a good that
buyers demand?
2. Select a product you use that has recently undergone a price
change. Discuss how this price change has affected you in the
short term and how in the long term this price change will affect
you. Determine whether your demand for this product is inelastic
or elastic, and explain your reasoning.
3. Define the equilibrium of a market. Describe the forces that move
a market toward its equilibrium.
4. List and explain the four determinants of price elasticity of
demand, discussed in Chapter 5.
5. If demand is elastic how will an increase in price change total
revenue? Explain.
Written Assignment 3
1. How does a tax affect market activity? How does a tax on a good
affect the price paid by buyers and the price received by sellers?
How does the tax affect the quantity of the good that is sold?
2. Consider a good that you normally purchase that has a tax.
Discuss how the tax on that good is divided between you, as the
Course Syllabus
buyer, and the seller of the good. What determines how the
burden of that tax is divided between buyers and sellers?
3. Using the graph below, answer the questions that follow.
a. What is the equilibrium price paid by the buyer and received by the seller
before the tax is imposed?
b. How many units are made and how many units are sold before the tax
is imposed?
c. What is the amount of the tax?
d. After the tax is imposed, how much more will the buyer pay than the
original equilibrium price?
e. After the tax is imposed, how much less will the seller receive than the
original equilibrium price?
f. As a result of the tax, what has happened to the level of market activity?
Written Assignment 4
Course Syllabus
1. List the two assumptions that underlie the conclusion that free
markets are efficient. Explain how these assumptions either do or
do not apply to an industry of your choosing.
2. What happens to consumer and producer surplus when the sale of
a good is taxed? How does the change in consumer and producer
surplus compare to the tax revenue?
3. Name two types of market failure. Explain why each may cause
market outcomes to be inefficient.
4. How do the elasticities of supply and demand affect the
deadweight loss of a tax? Why does this effect occur?
Written Assignment 5
1. What is the effect on the economic well-being of a nation when a
tariff is imposed? Consult a newspaper and identify an industry
where there currently is a tariff. What is the effect of this tariff on
the U.S. economy?
2. What does the domestic price that prevails without international
trade tell us about a nation’s comparative advantage?
3. What is the difference between the unilateral and multilateral
approaches to achieving free trade? Give an example of each.

Written Assignment 6
1. Why do economists use real gross domestic product (GDP) rather
than nominal GDP to gauge economic well-being? Define the GDP
2. What is the consumer price index (CPI)? Which do you think has a
greater effect on the CPI: a 10 percent increase in the price of
chicken, or a 10 percent increase in the price of caviar? Why?
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3. Describe the three factors that make the CPI an imperfect measure
of the cost of living. Then explain how the GDP deflator differs
from the CPI.
Written Assignment 7
1. Select a nation that has a low per capita income and discuss how
the catch-up effect would work for that country. Consider the
determinants of productivity and explain some of the things that
would tend to prohibit or limit that country’s ability to catch up
with the richer nations.
2. List and describe the determinants of productivity.
3. What is the role of the financial system? Name and describe two
markets that are part of the financial system in the U.S. economy.
Name and describe two financial intermediaries.
4. What is the government budget deficit? How does it affect interest
rates, investment, and economic growth?
5. What benefits do people get from the market for insurance? What
two problems impede the insurance market from working
6. Describe the efficient markets hypothesis and give a piece of
evidence consistent with this hypothesis. What does this say about
using past price histories to predict future prices?
Written Assignment 8
1. Explain the relationship among savings, investment, and net
capital outflow.
Course Syllabus
2. Inflation distorts relative prices. What does this mean and how
does it affect consumer spending and disposable income? Give
some examples of how inflation has affected your buying power.
3. What are the costs of inflation? Which of three costs do you think are
most important for the U.S. economy?
4. Describe the economic logic behind the theory of purchasingpower
parity (PPP). What factors might prevent PPP from
holding true?
5. What is the importance of trade agreements, and how is
international trade related to the standard of living of the United
States (as opposed to that of a small industrial nation or to a
developing nation)? What significance do trade agreements have
to your company or a company with which you are familiar?
6. Go to the Web site of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at What is the current U.S. unemployment
rate? Find the unemployment rate for the demographic group that
best fits a description of you (for example, based on age, gender,
race, and your geographic location). Is it higher or lower than the
national average? Why do you think this is so?
7. What are the three categories into which the BLS divides
everyone? How does the BLS compute the labor force, the
unemployment rate, and the labor force participation rate?
8. Why is frictional unemployment inevitable? How might the
government reduce the amount of frictional unemployment?
9. What claims do advocates of unions make to argue that unions are
good for the economy?
10. What factors prevent the Federal Reserve (the Fed) from
controlling the money supply perfectly? Explain how the Fed
would set policy if it needed to contract the money supply? Be
sure to include all three Fed tools in your response.
11. Explain the difference between nominal and real variables and
give two examples of each. According to the principle of monetary
neutrality, which variables are affected by changes in the quantity
of money?
Course Syllabus
Written Assignment 9
1. Describe supply and demand in the market for loanable funds and
the market for foreign currency exchange. How are these markets
2. What is capital flight? When a country experiences capital flight,
what is the effect on the country’s interest rate and exchange rate?
3. List and explain the three theories for why the short-run
aggregate-supply curve is upward sloping.
4. In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. economy experienced a severe
downturn in economic activity due to the financial crisis. Relative
to the price decline of the housing market, what are two
repercussions that caused a sizable fall in aggregate demand?
5. What might shift the aggregate-demand curve to the left? Use the
model of aggregate demand and aggregate supply to trace
through the short-run and long-run effects of such a shift on
output and the price level. Use the following diagram to help
explain your answer.
Course Syllabus
6. Suppose the Fed expands the money supply, but because the
public expects this Fed action, it simultaneously raises its
expectation of the price level. What will happen to output and the
price level in the short run? Compare this result to the outcome if
the Fed expanded the money supply but the public didn’t change
its expectation of the price level. Use the diagram below to explain
your answer.
Written Assignment 10
1. What causes the lags in the effect of monetary and fiscal policy on
aggregate demand? What are the implications of these lags for the
debate over active versus passive policy?
2. Name and describe two examples of government policies that act as
automatic stabilizers. Explain why each policy has this effect.
3. How would a downward change in the money supply affect you
personally? How would it affect your career? What impact would
rational expectations have on your decisions in this situation?
4. What is the theory of liquidity preference? How does it help explain
the downward slope of the aggregate-demand curve?
Course Syllabus
5. Suppose that survey measures of consumer confidence indicate a
wave of pessimism is sweeping the country. If policymakers do
nothing, what will happen to aggregate demand? Explain what the
Fed should do if it wants to stabilize aggregate demand. If the Fed
does nothing, explain what Congress might do to stabilize aggregate
6. What is “natural” about the natural rate of unemployment? Explain
why the natural rate of unemployment might differ across countries.

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