Recent trends in inflation

The task. Consider the following scenario. You work for a major company in either the US or Canada. You were tasked with writing a policy brief for the senior executive management and the members of the board that broadly addresses the topic of the recent increase in inflation in the country of your choosing (you must focus on either the US or Canada) and takes a stance in the ongoing debate about inflation. In particular, your brief should address the following questions:

1. What are the competing views on the nature of the recent increase in inflation? a. where is the inflation coming from? b. how “transitory” is it? c. In order to answer these questions, you will need to find and read in detail at least three articles that

outline different views on the recent increase in inflation. You will need to reference the articles in your brief.

2. How “good” are the opinions described in 1? This is where you get to apply the knowledge you have accumulated in this class and look at the opinions through the lens of the models we have studied in class

a. Are they consistent with the models? Can the models we have discussed generate the predictions and substantiate the views described in 1? Consider yourself to be the expert who is evaluating how well-founded the opinions of other experts are given what you have learnt about how the economy behaves in Eco202.

3. What is your position on the origin and the duration of the recent increase in inflation? It should be well substantiated for a good mark.

4. What policy options (both fiscal and monetary) are available to the government and which one of them are likely to be more effective given your answers to the previous questions?

Your brief should address all of the questions above, but it does not have to do it in this order: you have to determine what would make your brief the most internally consistent and logical. Your brief should be well structured, with an introduction and logical paragraphs and be internally cohesive.

What is a policy brief? A policy brief presents a concise summary of information that can help readers quickly understand, and oftentimes make decisions about, important issues. Your policy brief should include:

1. An introduction that briefly describes the recent trends in inflation, as well as major recent developments in the economy and the world in general that you think might be relevant. Be selective: many things happen in the world, not all of them will be important for inflation, keep your introduction brief.

2. Describe and evaluate the views on the nature of the recent increase in inflation based on the articles that you choose.

3. Analyse how “well-founded” these views are given what you have learnt, and based on your analysis, present and defend your position

4. Analyse whether government intervention is necessary and if it is, what policies governments can engage in and which ones will be effective.

The brief should be written in connected prose and in logically ordered paragraphs. You can, but do not have to, provide headings for your paragraphs and a title for the brief as a whole. You must have at least three references. Any references you cite should be identified and listed at the end of the paper using the citation style of your choice. The bibliography does not count towards the word limit. You do not need to cite the lectures or the textbook. What audience are you writing for? Think about senior management/ board of directors for a big company. Most of them would be highly educated, but will not necessarily have an economics degree, so they might not be familiar with academic economics terminology or economic models. Please write in a way that would make the brief accessible to people without an economics degree. Given your target audience, in your brief, you should rely on theoretical insights from the models studied in class to motivate your analysis, but DO NOT explicitly refer to the models. You can use terms like “cost-push inflation”, “aggregate demand”, “open market operations”, “disinflation” without definition, but do not use terms like the ASAD model or the ISMP model or refer to parameter names like o bar. Sources Find at least three articles that discuss the nature of the recent increase in inflation (its source and whether it is transitory or will be long lasting). You must use reputable sources: reputable news agencies, nespapers and journals, both academic and non-academic. You can get started by looking at The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Brookings.edu, Vox.eu, etc. (this is not an exhaustive list). You can refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for advice on how to write up your references. It is available at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html.

How to format your assignment To be able to earn full marks you must do the following:

• Your assignment must have an introduction and be separated into logical paragraphs.

• Your assignment must be typed, double-spaced, and have a font size of 12 points.

• Put the word count of your assignment in parentheses at the end. For example “(943 words).” The header of your assignment (the first four lines) should have your full name, student ID number, the class information (ECO202, 2021–2022), and the title of your assignment.

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