Economics Writing Homework Questions

Economics Writing Homework Questions
Below I have 5 graphs/maps showing you various economic indicators for the United States. The first three images show you how things have changed since about World War II. The last two images show recent snapshots of differences in poverty rates and high school graduation by state. Please write about 800-1200 words explaining the economic history surrounding the stories in the graphs.
Here’s one way to approach this assignment:
Look at each graph/map, one by one. Read the caption, look at the two axes, and determine what kind of information the graph/map has for you. This is a graph/map about what?
For the first three graphs, you should ask yourself:
“What story does this image tell? Why would Holly choose this graph?”
“During what time periods do we see things changing? In what direction are they changing? Does that surprise me? In what time periods are things staying the same?”
“What do I know about this time period?”
For example, in the first graph, I happen to know that Social Security – or our government-organized retirement program – started in 1935, and we see older men beginning to leave the workforce around that time. Probably that red line goes down between 1948 and 1990 because older men were increasingly able to retire. Social Security only pays you if you’ve worked on the market, and at this time women were just starting to enter the labor force, so we don’t see older women “retiring” during the same period. Do you see how I used my knowledge of history to explain a trend in that graph?
For the last two images, look at what areas in the U.S. have high poverty rates and low high school graduation rates. Look for a trend. What do we know about the economic history of the region(s) that struggle most with these issues?
Tell me the stories that you are connecting in your mind and use the graphs to point me to those stories. Show me what is – and isn’t – changing in the world. What does this have to do with the Cold War? With capitalism, growth, depressions and recessions? About technological development? About the role of the government? What do you see happening to workers?
For each graph I provide some pointers, but I try not to give away too much, because I want you to practice looking at these kinds of images and connecting them with the stories and issues we’ve been studying.
Image result for united states labor force participation rate by gender
“Labor force participation rate” means the percentage of people who fit this label and have a job. This is people working on the market.
The vertical grey lines in the background of this image represent years that the economy was in recession. So, for example, the years 2008-2009 have a thicker grey bar than 2002, because the recession lasted longer.
“Productivity” is the average of how much stuff (value) a worker creates in an hour at their job
“Compensation” is the average of how much a worker is paid to do things.
What was going on toward the end of the 1970’s that might explain why these two measures start to diverge?
A “multi-generational family household” means you have 3 generations living in one home. Basically, grandparents, parents, and children all living together.
Image result for map poverty united state
Poverty is the measure of whether or not you have enough income to cover your basic needs. (We’ll go into detail about the measure later in the semester)
This compares 2000 to 2010. What happened during this period, and what other historical geographical divide is extremely similar to the stark inequality we see in 2010? How might they be related?
Image result for us high school graduation by state

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