Return to giant pool of money – econ 120


Return to Giant Pool of Money – Econ 120

By now you all know that the housing crisis has been implicated as one of the major contributors in the Great Recession.   But what exactly was the housing crisis?  This assignment consists of listening to an hour-long radio program that addresses that question.

1.  Listen to Return to the Giant Pool of Money  (This American Life, Episode 390 – in case you have to navigate to it yourself). 

2.  In one to two pages, single spaced, font and margins similar to this size, summarize the show.  In your summary, correctly use three key terms from your textbook.  Underline the terms and indicate which chapter and page (or section) they are from.  You will lose credit if you go over two pages.

3.  Use key terms from three different chapters (they are in the margins and are in boldface type) and none of them can be from Chapters 9 or 10.   Don’t discuss the terms, just underline and reference them.  Do not use events (like Great Recession); use terms.

4.  Write your summary in three parts:  Prologue, Act 1, and Act 2.  Give equal coverage to both Acts 1 and 2.  

5.  Break each Act into multiple paragraphs.  It can be very hard to read otherwise as the grading screen is small.   Also put a blank line in between paragraphs.

6.  Write a couple of non-normative sentences about what interested you.

7.  Note which file formats Safe Assign accepts (shown on the Blackboard Assignment page).  If you submit this in an unreadable file I will ask you to email it, but you won’t always get credit as the time stamp may be lost.

8.  When choosing your terms, carefully read the definition in the textbook.  Sometimes students don’t realize that terms like “invest”, or “production” don’t apply to monetary instruments as used in this course or textbook.

9.  Once again:  avoid all normative content in this summary.  I want to know what happened and what people did – not what you think should have happened or how they should have behaved.  

Important Hint:  The show uses the term “greed”, but it’s a normative term as it denotes a value judgment on behavior.  Those value judgments aren’t a part of positive economics; rather economics focuses on behavioral analysis.  So be sure not to use the term greed or other normative terms or statements or you will not get full credit (and if it’s significantly normative you won’t get any credit).  It’s fine to discuss things in terms of costs and benefits as long as you have a source for your interpretation of the costs or benefits.


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