1. Research Paper For this course, I will accept three different types of origi

1. Research Paper
For this course, I will accept three different types of original research papers: case study,
empirical analysis, or theoretical analysis. Your paper should have a clear link to what we cover
in this course (lectures and readings).
General Approach
(a) Focus on a common practice of modern firms
Examples: advertising, price discrimination
(b) Focus on a common feature of modern markets
Examples: role of new technology, government regulation
After choosing one of the two general approaches above, you should decide whether you want to
do a case study, an empirical analysis, or a theoretical analysis within that general approach.
(a) A Common Practice of Modern Firms
Select a firm practice that interests you. In preparation for undertaking the research, you should
evaluate the industries and major firms to which this practice appears to be important. Compare
and contrast: why is this practice more prevalent in one industry than another? Why does firm X
adopt this practice more than firm Y?
Brainstorming in this manner should lead you to some interesting research topics.
For a case study, you should examine a particular instance of this practice by a firm (or a select
group of firms) in an industry. In general, you should pick an instance where the practice raises
some public policy concerns. As you are choosing a single instance, I will expect a detailed,
micro-level analysis, along the same lines as the case studies presented in The Antitrust
For an empirical study, you should collect data on firms and/or industries in which these
practice occur in differing amount or form. Use the data to measure either the determinants of the
practice (what are the factors that lead firms to adopt this practice) or the impact of the practice
on firm/industry performance. An ideal paper would examine both. The main constraints would
be [1] the availability of relevant data and [2] familiarity with econometrics and econometrics
For a theoretical study, you can do one of two things: you can either write a literature review
on the recent models proposed by academic economists to explain some aspect of the chosen
firm practice or write your own model (can and most likely will be an extension of an existing
model). The first option will require you to read and synthesize quite a few academic papers,
some of which will be technical in nature. The second option will require you to gain familiarity
with the analytical tools of modern economics, including constrained optimization and game
(b) A Common Feature of Modern Markets
This approach is similar to (a) above but focuses on a market feature instead of a firm practice.
The outline should be approximately 2-3 pages and the paper should be approximately 12-15
pages (doubled-spaced, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins).
I expect the paper to be well-written. Properly document your paper and use formal citation
practices. As a warning, I will prosecute plagiarism to the fullest extent. I do not mind you using
research or information from another source as long as you properly cite it.
A good reference on how to properly cite your sources is the MLA Handbook for Writers of
Research Papers, available in the Langson Library Reference Collection. Related information is
also available online in the MLA Formatting and Style Guide provided by Purdue Online Writing
Lab, located at:

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