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Business Economics Group Project Brief

Format: A group project comprising a maximum of 5,000-word written report.

Weighting: This project contributes 50% towards your final module mark:

Groups: Should be of four/five members (depending on seminar group size – further guidance will be given for each seminar group). We are aware that you prefer to choose who you work with, so we will leave you free to form your own groups. However, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that you are in a group – and it is YOUR responsibility to make the group work. Your tutors should not be expected to arbitrate disputes. Students without a group by the specified deadline risk being awarded a mark of zero for non-submission of assessment.

All group members are jointly responsible for the entire assessment – we are not marking ‘individual parts’ separately. All group members will receive the same mark unless a signed statement of contribution (available separately) is submitted which provides compelling justification for some other mark distribution. Ability to work effectively as part of a team is one of the learning objectives being assessed, so disputes are best avoided if you want to pick up marks for this element.

All submissions will be scanned for plagiarism and collusion. Please refer to your course handbook for advice on electronic submission.

Task: To undertake a macroeconomic analysis of a chosen economy using publicly available macroeconomic data, other country specific information AND relevant macroeconomic theory.

Aim: To evaluate how well the chosen economy is performing against the three primary macroeconomic objectives of achieving high and sustained GDP growth, price stability and low unemployment; to explain the significance of this performance; and to identify the principle reasons for this performance.

Objectives:

  1. Choose a country for analysis and identify a comparator set of four, similar economies, to use as a benchmark.
  2. Collect the necessary macroeconomic data and produce the charts listed in table 1, below.
  3. Identify and explain the GDP growth performance of the chosen economy using charts 1, 2, 3 and 4, relevant economic theory, and other relevant information.
  4. Identify and explain the price stability performance of the chosen economy using charts 5 and 6, relevant economic theory, and other relevant information.
  5. Explain the observed GDP growth and price stability performance simultaneously using the aggregate demand and supply model.
  6. Identify and explain the employment performance of the chosen economy using charts 7 and 8, relevant economic theory, and other relevant information.
  7. Using charts 4 and 6 discuss the fiscal and monetary policy in the country and the impact it has had on macroeconomic variables
  8. Explain the changes in trade patterns in your chosen economy using Chart 9.
  9. Provide a summary and conclude on the overall health of the chosen economy.

These objectives, taken in order, should provide the structure for the report.

The data: Your analysis should be firmly underpinned by relevant macroeconomic data. To come to conclusions about the performance of the chosen economy, it will be necessary to make comparisons over time and across countries. To this end, you should obtain data for the last ten years and, where relevant, data for a comparator set of four, similar economies.

The analysis relates to your chosen country. The comparator set of countries is for benchmarking purposes only. For example, if you were looking at the UK and comparing it with Germany, France, Spain and Italy, your work should be about the UK and not a full discussion of the comparator group.

Specifically, your analysis should be based on the charts listed in Table 1, below.  These should be created using Microsoft Excel, or similar software.

Table 1. Charts for use in the macroeconomic analysis
ChartData*
1Real GDP growth for the chosen country AND the comparator set over the last ten years: “GDP growth (annual %)”
 2Real GDP per capita for the chosen country AND the comparator set over the last ten years: “GDP per capita (constant 2010 US$)
3Expenditure components of GDP for the chosen country ONLY over the last ten years: Consumption: “Household and NPISHs Final consumption expenditure (constant LCU”Investment: “Gross capital formation (constant LCU)”Government expenditure: “General government final consumption expenditure (constant LCU)”Net exports: “Exports of goods and services (constant LCU)” minus “Imports of goods and services (constant LCU)” (you will need to make this calculation yourself).
4Government budget balance for the chosen country ONLY over the last ten years: “Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP)”
5CPI inflation rate for the chosen country AND the comparator set over the last ten years: “Inflation, consumer prices (annual %)”
6Main policy interest rate of the central bank for the chosen country ONLY over the last ten years (not available from the World Bank, but widely available elsewhere – try the chosen country’s Central Bank website
7Unemployment rate for the chosen country AND the comparator set over the last ten years: “Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (modelled ILO estimate)
8     9Youth unemployment rate for the chosen country AND the comparator set over the last ten years: “Unemployment, youth total (% of total labor force ages 15-24) (modelled ILO estimate)” Balance of Payments for your chosen country ONLY over the last ten years: “Current account balance (%of GDP)”
10Any other relevant data you wish to include.

*Most of the data you need is available from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators database, available here: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=world-development-indicators The italicised terms in “quotation marks” are the names of the relevant variables in the database. Simply search these terms and you will find them easily.

Grading Criteria: You are being graded on your ability to:

  • obtain relevant macroeconomic data from credible sources and organise/present his data effectively. (20% weighting)
  • analyse and interpret the data, drawing on relevant macroeconomic theory and knowledge of the chosen country to explain the significance and causes of what is observed in the data. (50% weighting)
  • draw sound conclusions based on the evidence provided. (10% weighting)
  • communicate your findings and arguments with logic and clarity. (10% weighting)
  • correctly acknowledge sources of information, and work effectively as part of a team. (10% weighting)

Please see the marking scheme, available separately, for further guidance.  

Referencing and presentation: Please strictly follow the presentation guidelines laid out in your course handbook.

The macroeconomic data provides the foundation for your analysis, therefore all charts and tables should be integrated into the main body of the text. There should be no appendices.

Referencing should be done using the Harvard system – please see the Brighton Business School Referencing Handbook for detailed guidance.

Standard Business School policy applies to work submitted after the relevant due date and to work that does not comply with the specified length. Please refer to your course handbook for further details. All marks and results are provisional and subject to confirmation by the relevant examination

Further guidance: A further guidance document is available separately. This can be found on StudentCentral in the module assessment folder and is essential reading if you want to improve your grade. It is based on common mistakes made by students in previous years, and effectively provides you with the key feedback given to those students

A video demonstrating how to obtain data from the World Bank’s WDI database will be made available on StudentCentral in the module assessment folder. 

All of the lecture slides and seminar materials relevant to this assignment are on StudentCentral in the Study Materials area of the module page. These will be a valuable resource, as will a copy of the recommended textbook (or a similar textbook).

Your tutors are available to answer specific questions in seminars and via email in the weeks leading up to submission, but please do not expect us to be on hand to resolve last-minute issues for poorly prepared students.

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