Summarize an academic article. Your article must be from a reputable business/economics/policy journal OR be a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Your goal is to condense the information contained in the article while acquiring for yourself a more thorough understanding of the issues the article addresses. You will probably want to choose an article related to your final paper for the class, but you are welcome to choose any article as long as it satisfies the criteria above.

Your summary should answer the following questions about the article:

  • What big question does the article seek to answer and why do we care?
  • What specific question does the paper seek to answer and how does it fit with previous research?
  • What approach does the author use to answer the specific question?
  • What methods and data does the author use?
  • What are the main results/findings?
  • How do the results/findings relate to previous research?
  • What further questions does the article raise?

For tips on how to read a social science article, refer to: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of well-regarded economics/economic policy journals.

  • Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP)
  • Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM)
  • Journal of Economic Literature (JEL)
  • American Economic Review (AER)
  • American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (AEJ: Policy)
  • American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (AEJ: Applied)
  • Econometrica
  • Journal of Political Economy (JPE)
  • Journal of Public Economics (JPubE)
  • NBER Working Papers
  • Quarterly Journal of Economics (QJE)
  • RAND Journal of Economics
  • Review of Economics and Statistics (REStat)

Articles in the JEP, JPAM, and JEL tend to be the easiest for a typical undergraduate to read. Please note that the author of a typical academic journal writes for an audience of other Ph.D. economists so the article you choose will likely include challenging technical details you do not understand. While I do not expect you to understand 100% of the article, you should understand its main points. If you do not have confidence that you understand the main points of the paper, choose another one.

If you are not sure your article qualifies as “from a reputable economics/policy journal”, ask me. If the journal your article appears in is not among the top 500 in this list: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. l will probably suggest that you look for another article

Aim for a length of 2.5-3 double-spaced pages. Be sure to include a full citation for the article you summarize. Please also print out the first page of the article you summarize (which should include the abstract), and staple this first page to the end of your assignment.


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