Fiscal Policy

Fiscal Policy

Project description
The question
Critically appraise the fiscal strategy of the UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

1. Formatting
The essay must be word-processed. Number the pages. Write your name and programme, and the date, the text of the question, an abstract of not more than 100 words, and a word-count, which should include everything except the bibliography, on the first page. Start the text on the second page. Do not use foot- or end-notes: if its relevant, include it in the text, if not, exclude it. Divide up your essay clearly for example, it should be clear where the introduction and conclusion start and finish. The word-limit is 2,000 words. The School operates a 10% policy, so the essay should be between 1,800 and 2,200 words.
2. Diagrams
If you wish to use one or more diagrams, tables or charts, use large at least half-page bold, clear, diagrams. Drawing them yourself is much better than simply copying and pasting which does not in itself demonstrate any understanding.
3. Structure
The essay should consist of at least two or three numbered substantive sections, each with an appropriate title, plus an introduction and conclusion, also numbered and titled, to wrap the whole thing up nicely. Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them. The introduction should address the question, explaining what it means to you, and how you are going to go about answering it. It will include a brief preview of the answer, and a statement of the structure of the essay. The conclusion will summarise the results of your work, state succinctly the answer you have given to the question, and set it in context, discussing the limits of that answer. The introduction, like the conclusion, may be the last things you write, but it will often, with the abstract, be the first thing the marker reads. All the sections, including the introduction and conclusion, but excluding the abstract and bibliography, should be numbered using the decimal system, ie 1, 2, &c. Any subsections you think are necessary should also be numbered 1.1, 1.2, &c. Be very sparing in the use of subsections.
Reference your work thoroughly throughout. Much of the point of written assessment is to see what you’ve been reading and what you’ve got out of it. Use the following pattern for a reference in the text of your essay:
text text text, as suggested by Denis (2002: 210), although the contrary case has been made elsewhere (Skidelsky, 1975: 302). More text more text more text
Please note the page number at the end of the inline reference. This, along with the chapter number in the bibliography entry for a book, is the modification of the Harvard system mentioned above, which however, in other respects, is a model you should follow religiously. Failure to reference properly defeats much of the purpose and I penalise this heavily. Plagiarism of any kind is cheating and will lead to disciplinary action. All coursework scripts will be submitted to Turnitin.
There is one item which you must consult, and that is the relevant chapters of the various IFS Green Budgets available in Moodle.
5. Standard of English
Please aim for English of a publishable standard. Spelling, grammar, syntax, capitalisation and punctuation when weak distract attention from and often obscure what you are trying to say. Read through your coursework before submitting it and, if in doubt, get someone else someone whose first language is English to look through it as well. Register is important. (Look it up.) Read journal articles to learn the registers that scholars use to communicate with each other. Emulate.
6. Correct or defensible answer
This speaks for itself. Your answer should display evidence of wide and deep, ie thoughtful, reading. In particular, you should show that you have profitably consulted the readings indicated to you during the course of the module segment on fiscal policy. Simply including them in the bibliography is not enough. In many cases there is no absolutely right and wrong answer, only answers that are well, or not so well, supported by reference to the evidence.
7. Clear logic
Even if you get the answer wrong, through misunderstanding some aspect of the question, for example, you may still be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic and insight into the issues, by addressing the question in a clear and logical manner. On the other hand, you may know what the answer is, but if you cant explain that in an orderly and coherent manner you are going to lose marks.
8. Material is well integrated
You may decide that there are several sub-topics that you need to address in order to answer the question fully. Your account should in that case make clear what the links are between the various parts of your answer, not just list them.
9. Relevance
Keep your eye on the ball: ensure that every paragraph, every sentence, every word does some work and makes a contribution towards answering the question. Do not just assume that it’s OK if vaguely related to the topic. Answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Do not assume that the relevance of what you say is obvious to the reader: make sure that you explain what the relevance is.
10. Critical Appraisal
Don’t just report: evaluate, appraise, criticise. Show some initiative: give your own opinions; don’t be afraid to take sides. Exercise the professional judgement which you are investing in developing. The essay is an exercise in building a case. It is not a matter of reporting stuff first and then giving your personal opinion: the whole essay is your professional opinion as a trainee economist.

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