What Final Exams in Introductory Economics Courses at Berkeley look like

Here are two final exams from Professor DeLong at UC-Berkeley. Maybe I should make my final exams a little bit more difficult.

Political Economy 101, “Modern” Theories of Political Economy.
PART I: SHORT ANSWERS: Do 7 of 8. 1 hour–one-third of exam–10 min. per question:
  1. What facts about the way the world appeared to be working before 1914 made it reasonable for Norman Angell to hope that full-scale war between great powers had become a thing of the past?
  2. The dominant social-democratic consensus when Milton Friedman wrote was that the logic and working of the market needed to be curbed by an active, powerful, energetic government aggressively regulating in the public interest. What does Milton Friedman think is wrong with this? What does he think is wrong with the conventional “conservative” point of view?
  3. What does Karl Polanyi mean when he calls the commodities of land, labor, and finance “fictitious”?
  4. Does Paul Krugman believe the West should feel threatened by the fact that Asian countries have achieved “miraculous” growth under a different political ideology? Why or why not?
  5. What does Benedict Anderson mean by “imagined” when he calls nations “imagined communities”? What does Benedict Anderson think that “print capitalism” did in creating his imagined communities?
  6. What was the main point of each of the following three articles: i.) Stephen Holmes on the meaning of liberalism; ii.) Francis Fukuyama on the “end of history”; iii.) Benjamin Barber on “Jihad vs. McWorld”?
  7. What does Robert Reich mean by “symbolic analyst”? What does he want symbolic analysts to invest in and why?
  8. What are the differences between Dani Rodrik’s and Joe Stiglitz’s approaches to understanding economic development policy?
PART II: LONG ESSAYS: Do 2 of 3. 2 hours–two-thirds of exam–1 hr. per question:
  1. In what ways are thinkers like Milton Friedman and thinkers like James Scott close intellectual allies? In what ways are they mortal intellectual enemies? How have the pieces of twentieth century history that they have lived through and focus on led them to their respective conclusions? How does the thought of each differ from the ideological labels traditionally applied to them?
  2. One way to understand almost all of the thinkers read in this course is that they are all trying in various ways to escape from the box history placed us in when history turned out not to follow the “pre-WWI classical liberal” path of steadily increasing prosperity, democratization, globalization, and peace. Take at least six of the thinkers read in this course and put them in their proper place in this perspective: What things in twentieth-century history made them reject or try to fix classical liberalism? How did they think that humanity should get out of the traps and problems that history was presenting?
  3. A large number of the thinkers we have read are explicitly concerned not just with what is but with what ought to be–not just with the technocratic “what works” but with the moral questions of “what kind of people we are” and “who are we responsible toward.” Consider John Maynard Keynes, Karl Polanyi, Milton Friedman, and Joe Stiglitz. How are each of their arguments and points of view “moral” rather than “technocratic”? Does the moral element strengthen or weaken the cases they make, in your opinion.

Here is the for Econ 113 American Economic History:

Econ 113: American Economic History: Mock Final Exam
Identifications: do all (1/3 of exam):
  1. The Cold War against the Soviet Union.
  2. The Federal Reserve
  3. Keynesian economics
  4. Medicare and Medicaid
  5. Social Security
  6. GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)/WTO
  7. Productivity slowdown
  8. Phillips Curve
  9. Gilded Age
  10. Teachers, nurses, waitresses, secretaries…
  11. Mass production
  12. Freely-available land
  13. 1492
  14. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  15. Henry Ford
  16. Gold Standard
  17. Encomienda
  18. Navigation Acts
  19. Cotton Gin
  20. Glorious Revolution (in Britain)
  21. Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio River System
  22. American System of Manufactures
  23. Canal Building Boom
  24. Middle Passage
Short Answers: do 4 of 6 (1/3 or exam):
  1. The past third of a century has seen, first, a significant slowdown in productivity growth (leading to a great deal of worry about whether there are indeed rapidly-approaching “limits to growth”) and then a significant speed-up in growth (leading to a great deal of exuberance, irrational and otherwise, at the end of the 1990s). Briefly discuss the causes of both the productivity slowdown starting in the 1970s and the productivity speedup starting in the 1990s.
  2. Why did the European settler population in what was to become the United States grow so fast in the two centuries after 1600? Why were there so few indigenous inhabitants to resist the occupation of the land that was to become the United States by European settlers?
  3. Why would an international trade economist like David Ricardo have thought that the United States would and should become a very large almost entirely agrarian civilization–a giant Canada? It was clear by 1900 that David Ricardo was wrong? Why was he wrong?
  4. The story of the United States is one of extraordinary economic growth—the United States today is still, by a substantial margin, the most productive economy in the world. Which factor would you assess as most important of all in driving U.S. economic success? Why?
  5. Why did Alexander Hamilton (and others) believe that America’s national debt could, under the right circumstances, be a national blessing?
  6. In your view, is U.S. economic policymaking today still shaped by the memory of the Great Depression and a fear of another such, or has the memory died away so far that it is no longer a serious consideration?
Essays: do one (1/3 of exam):
  1. Outline the major changes in the economic role of women in America in the twentieth century. Draw up a balance sheet: in your estimation, which changes have been broadly good? Which changes have been broadly bad?
  2. Why was the Great Depression the only great depression that the U.S. has suffered? What are the chances that the U.S. will suffer another economic catastrophe like the Great Depression in the next half century?
  3. Sketch the economic role of African-Americans in the United States from colonial times to today. What were the major factors and processes that kept African-Americans relatively poor over the past three centuries? To what extent are these processes still operating today? And, in your view, how much longer is the shadow cast by past discrimination likely to last?
  4. The federal government today plays an enormous role in the economy. Outline what that role is, and how it has grown since independence. Assess what pieces of the federal government’s role in the economy are positive and what pieces are negative.
%d bloggers like this: