Political Economy

Respond to each of the four questions (or prompts) below (each worth 25 points). Your answer to each question should not exceed 600 words (or roughly 2-3 paragraphs). This does not mean that you should write exactly 600 words and stop, expecting an “A” for the answer. It means that you will need to be pithy. Pithiness often requires revisions and rewrites. Shorter answers are welcomed. Your answer will be evaluated on a proper use and understanding of political economy concepts, use of citations, paragraph/sentences structure, and grammar. Please use a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial). Do not “lock” your file and use that as an excuse for being tardy. Locked files that the teaching associates cannot access will be considered late and assessed the penalties above. In order to test who has done the reading and viewed the lectures, and to incentivize future reading and viewing, each answer must have at least two citations to either the reading material, the pre-recorded lectures, other videos, and/or podcasts (unless otherwise noted). Question 1= QUESTION 1: EVERYONE KNOWS ITS WINDY (25 POINTS) A giant windstorm has just ripped through the Pacific Northwest, cutting power to nearly 500,000 Puget Sound residences and commercial businesses. Given the extent of the damage, repairs will take up to a week to complete (and more in some places).2 Fortunately, many households have backup generators that run on gasoline. However, roughly half of the gas stations cannot run their pumps because of the power outage, and it is difficult to get shipments of gasoline in due to damage to roads in the area. Clearing the roads will be the first priority of recovery workers and most vehicle access will be restored within two days. With reference to at least two readings, podcasts, or lectures, discuss two ways in which gasoline can be rationed to those who need it. Your answer should include a discussion of how the price mechanism operates in a market and what the effect price controls will have on behavior (including the possibility of secondary [black/gray] markets). If price controls are put into place, how might gasoline be rationed?  Question 2= QUESTION 2: THE GREAT ROCK N ROLL WHODUNNIT (25 POINTS) Evaluate the following scenario using at least one political economy concept introduced in the first five weeks of class. Your answer must include at least two references (citations) to the readings, assigned videos, and/or lectures. It is Sunday evening at 10 p.m. and you are feverishly working to complete your POL S 270 midterm essay exam. At 10:05 p.m. the neighbors in the neighboring apartment begin playing their stereo very loud, rocking out to the latest release of AC/DC while you are trying hard to concentrate. You can clearly hear the music through the walls connecting the two units and it is difficult to work. You ask the landlord to tell the neighbors to turn down their stereo, but he refuses to do so. You then call the police to report a disturbance. Although there are no known laws in the area regarding noise, the police talk to the neighbors and get them to turn the stereo down. In evaluating this scenario, your response should address the following: What important political economy concept is at work here? Who is causing this “problem”? What other solutions could have been used to mitigate the problem? Briefly provide one additional example of the central concept at play in this scenario that is not discussed in any of the course readings or lectures. [WARNING: The answer to this question is not as easy as it seems. An “A” answer will shed sunshine (and not throw shadows) on to the deep lesson at work in this scenario.]  question 3= QUESTION 3: MORBID OPTIMALITY (25 POINTS) A political economist friend of Prof. Gill’s recently said, “The optimal number of deaths from the flu is not zero.” (This statement recognizes that illnesses occur exogenously in nature and are not released into the environment by intentional human action.) Evaluate this statement with reference to at least two different readings, lectures, or podcasts in class. Note that you are not required to agree with the above statement. Rather, you are to use the concepts introduced in class to understand why a political economist would say this. Question 4= QUESTION 4: WRITER’S CHOICE (25 POINTS) Choose one of the following concepts below and write a brief essay explaining it to a person who has not taken POL S 270. Use at least two (2) examples to illustrate the concept, one of which may come from the readings, lectures, videos, or podcasts. The other example should not be drawn from the readings, lectures, videos, or podcasts, but rather one that you think to which the concept applies. For this question, you need only cite one (1) reading, lecture, or podcast source from the class. • Moral hazard. • Pooling and separating equilibrium. • Principal-agent problem. • Unintended consequences. • Asymmetric information. • Thick and thin rationality  SOURCES (all books, should be able to find pdf forms)=  1. Winter, H. 2005. “Trade offs: An introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues”. 2nd Edition Chicago: University Press. Chicago Press.  2. Leeson, P. 2009. “The invisible Hook: The hidden Economics of Pirates 3. Anderson,T.L and P.J Hill. 2004. The Not so Wild. Wild west: Property Rights on the Frontier 4. Hirschman, A.O. 1970. Exit. Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Declines in Firms. Organizations and States

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