1,100 words in length (including all footnotes, references, etc) on one of A2, B2, C2 and students here for just one term



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EC3030/EC303B Essay Assignment

An essay not exceeding 1,100 words in length (including all footnotes, references, etc) on one of A2, B2, C2 and D1. Students here for just one term must do a longer essay, not exceeding 2,200 words in length and will not of course have to sit any summer examination.

Essays should be submitted electronically to johagan@tcd.ie and in hard copy to the Economics office by 15.00 at the latest on Monday 19th December.

Essays can of course be submitted well in advance of this time. Essays exceeding the maximum word limit will in most cases be returned for rewriting. Essays will be handed back if possible within two/three weeks of submission date.


The quality of an article/essay is defined by:

  • its content

  • the use of that content to make a well-structured argument or ‘story’

  • Good structure means an introduction and conclusion and clearly-defined paragraphs, subsections and subheadings.

  • Essay needs a title

  • novelty in terms of drawing attention to new angles or findings.


A necessary condition for a pass grade (40+) in the essay will be professional presentation (essay title, font, layout, references etc)


  • Please provide your name and student number

  • Possible submission to Student Economic Review


Essay Topics

  • One extra source of reading for three of the essays, which many of you have covered already is: O’Hagan and Newman (editors), The Economy of Ireland (12th edition), 2014. D1, pp. 191 to 194; C2, pp. 159 to 173; B2 (agriculture), pp 293 to 298. For those who do not have this book, there are 35 copies available in the library.

  • One term students may take a different title to the essay if they wish: such as for example. ‘Lessons from Spain (or Greece or Ireland or whatever) for EU Labour Markets’ or you could decide to focus almost exclusively on migration within EU and examine its effect. The main thing is at the start make it absolutely clear what you are doing and why. And email please if in doubt.

D1 Examine EU growth in terms of its determinants (q =A. f (k, h, i, r)). Explain how liberalization of trade, the formation of the single market and the creation of monetary union should impact on this process. What do you think are the prospects for growth in the EU and in particular the euro zone in the next few years? (Chapter 7 and lectures)
Note a few things in relation to this.

  • The question has three parts: you need to address all three parts but not equally.

  • In the first part you need to discuss, in a common-sense way, physical capital, human capital, institutions and natural resources (all covered in lectures, but NOT in book). There is NO need to include the Solow model, except to make reference to it if you wish.

  • The second part was covered in lectures and in summaries of earlier chapters in book.

  • Third part is over to you. You need to link the discussion here though back to the earlier discussion.


C2 Discuss the key characteristics and operation of EU labour markets, paying particular attention to the issue of migration. (Chapter 8)
This is a fairly open question and can be answered in many different ways. It does though ask you to address the following:


  • Key characteristics. Like with the test questions the word ‘key’ means you just select a few features, such as: extent of long-term unemployment, the extent of intervention in the labour market (minimum wages, regulations re dismissal and so on); social consequences of unemployment; fact that employment policy decided still at national and not EU level, and so on.

  • Operation (overlaps really with ‘characteristics). Best to use E/Pa or UE rate as measure of performance of labour market; how to address fact that human capital can appreciate during employment (and decline if out of work), role of trade unions, difficulty of dealing with long term unemployment, and so on.

  • Effects of EU membership on national labour markets: labour demand curves become flatter, which means cost increases cannot be passed on in price increases but lead to unemployment; gainers and losers from increased competition (but also increased overall living standards): for members of the euro zone adjustments in exchange rate as a way of trying to address cost increases not available; moves to have EU-wide trade unions to counter fact that businesses operate at EU level.

  • Migration. This refers to economic migration (i.e. moving for work) and not refugees fleeing from war-torn countries. As such, it relates primarily to migration WITHIN the EU and there is a very long discussion of this in lectures and book.



A2 Location effects in EU: facts, comparative advantage, agglomeration, and regional policy. Discuss. (Chapter 10)


  • You should not rule out doing your essay on this topic yet. Remember, for EC3030 students, you might like to cover A1 for summer exam and hence will also have to cover A2 in that case. The essay may also be of interest to those doing Economics and Geography. I use just the chapter in the book for these lectures and it is a very open question, but the following have to be covered.

  • What are the facts about the huge variation by income per head across EU regions and why do they matter.

  • Does the law of comparative advantage have any impact on the geographical location of economic activity in the EU?

  • Do economies of scale and hence the tendency to agglomerate mean that economic activity will be concentrated geographically in the EU, like has happened say in the UK or France already?

  • How does regional policy in the EU try to address these issues?



B2 Outline the key features of the EU agricultural sector, the problems with price support and policies to deal with this to date, and other policy issues arising in the food sector. (Chapter 9 plus lectures)


  • As for A2, this essay topic should not be ruled out yet. If you would like to cover B1 for exam (just EC3030 students), then you must also cover B2. Besides many of you have already covered much of this topic in EC2020 or perhaps in some other course. Structure of essay should be as follows.

  • Key features (e.g. dependent on climate): ONLY covered in lectures.

  • Problem with price supports. Example used last year in EC2020 gone over again in lectures next week. Also covered in places in book.

  • Policies to address these problems: covered in lectures, Economy of Ireland book and EC3030 book.

  • Other policy issues. Over to you. Could look at food safety, impact on environment, or lack of competition in food retail sector: just pick one and explain why. Covered in EC2020, Economy of Ireland book and lectures this year.







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