People Respond to Incentives
Mankiw’s Ten Principles of Economics
Suppose you are visiting the local Big Y supermarket to purchase groceries. At the grocery, you see an
advertisement for a store rewards card. The card offers gasoline discounts that are tied to the amount of
money that a consumer spends at the store. The advertisement explains that the discounts accrue after a
minimum purchase of $50. You decide to sign up for the card, in spite of the fact that you had only planned to
buy $47 worth of groceries. Why is this decision rational? Explain, using a fundamental principle of
economics, why you would make this decision.
Develop a response that includes examples and evidence to support your ideas, and which clearly communicates
the required message to your audience. Organize your response in a clear and logical manner as appropriate for
the genre of writing. Use well-structured sentences, audience-appropriate language, and correct conventions of
standard American English.
Assignment 1: Theories in action
Due date: Oct 3
Choose 6 concepts from the first unit (chs 1-3) to talk about. If you talk about a concept with multiple
components, you must first describe the entire concept and then talk about each component that applies to the
piece (Burke’s dramatistic pentad, all 3 of Aristotle’s artistic proofs, etc)
Directions: for each of the theories you have chosen, provide the following:
a. Briefly explain the theory or concept in your own words. Be sure to explain the key elements of the
theory or concept.
b. Find and example of the theory “in action.” In other words, you are to find a real-life example that
demonstrates how this particular type of persuasion is being applied. Utilize newspaper articles, cartoons,
advertisements, political statements, courtroom proceedings (arguments used in a case), religious doctrines,
PR statements from organizations, editorials, cult doctrine, etc. Your example must be handed in with the
assignment. You many not use an example that has previously been used in class. You may only illustrate one
theory per example (this means you need to collect 6 examples!).
c. Briefly explain how the theory is evident in your example. You must connect the theory/concept to the
others somehow so that your paper “flows” coherently (for example like a chapter in a textbook).
d. Don’t forget to also have an introduction and conclusion to this paper.
NOTE: I DO NOT want you to just type in the concept in the internet, find an example provided by someone else,
and borrow it for this paper. You must find original examples. I cannot tell if you really understand the
concept by borrowing it from others. You must also find concepts/theories IN ACTION. That means it is not good
enough to find “theoretical” examples (e.g. giving the example that a certain euphemism is doublespeak.
Instead, you must find an example of the current USE of that euphemism as doublespeak.)
Role and Audience: Address your paper to other Communication Studies students who are taking this class and
might use your paper as a study guide.
Format: You are limited to 3 pages, double spaced, 12 point type, with no extra spaces in between paragraphs,
with standard margins. Cite your sources (including our text) using APA. Appendices should be labeled in text
(i.e. “see table A” in parentheses) and then they appear at the end of your paper (e.g. “Appendices” as a
header like you would use “References” to be followed by Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.)
Criteria for evaluation:
Grammar and correctness: 20 percent (spelling, punctuation, etc.)
Readability: 20 percent (your paper should be clearly organized, make clear main points and supporting points,
flow from one point to the next, and make a cohesive argument. There should not be any confusing or unclear
passages. Your writing should be appropriately geared toward your intended audience.)
Quality of analysis: 60 percent (you should be able to clearly identify your 6 theories in action, explain
these in your own words, and explain how the theory is evident in your examples.
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