« The Way to Beat Poverty - NYTimes.com | Main | ECON 280 paper #1 »



Julia Harbaugh

“A Guide to Writing in Economics” was a good refresher to general economic writing after a few months of being away from papers. A majority of the information included resonated with me and I have been exposed to the suggestions in past economic papers. This will definitely be a useful tool going forward in 398 and I know I will be going back to it as a template.
Although a majority of the points made seemed like “old news” to me after reading economics for more than 3 years, there were a few points I had never thought of. Sometimes people reading economic papers are experts in the topic, while others may be completely new to it (this was me when I took Smitka’s China’s Modern Economy… I didn’t know anything at China before that class). It seems like common sense to being sentences with “old” information, and then end sentences with new information. However, I have never thought of it that directly. In the past I have written a new idea then later explained it using already accepted knowledge. It makes so much more sense to connect to the reader and tell them things they may already accept to be true, and then continue to the new information. Rather than bombarding a reader with new stuff, the flow is much better and comprehensible by going from old to new. This is especially important if you have an audience similar to me in China’s Modern Economy, it’s overwhelming to be flooded with new ideas when you do not have a foundation. I look forward to using this tactic in 398 as well as other classes to make my prose stronger.
Another interesting point in the paper was in regards to the “Freakonomics and the Like” section. I absolutely loved reading Freakonomics in high school and it was one of the first things that turned my interests to economics. “A Guide to Writing in Economics” brings up a good point that most economists generally neglect these accessible books intended for the educated public. Additionally, usually journalists rather than economists write these books. While abroad in South Africa I read The Trouble With Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working, which was very interesting and targeted toward the educated public. There was economic information however there were not any regressions or coefficients, which isn’t surprising because the author is a journalist. Although both of these books were very insightful I think their popularity and prevalence will remain consistent and they will not replace the higher-level economic papers.
Overall, “A Guide to Writing in Economics” will be a good template going forward and it reinforced the importance of being concise and clear in economic literature.

The comments to this entry are closed.