Project Assignment 1

Outline and Sources


The purpose of this assignment is to come up with a plan for your final paper. The final paper is going to involve coming up with an argument (or hypothesis) you want to explore and then finding some data that will help you test it.


  1. Choose a topic
  2. Find a dataset to work with
  3. Gather sources relevant to your topic and generate a preliminary bibliography.
  4. Write an outline for your paper.


You can write about anything related to the syllabus for this course. But here is a list of potential topics you might consider:

  1. Modernization theory. To what extent does democracy promote economic development? Is the relationship stronger in some countries than in others and if so why?

  2. The resource curse. To what extent does the presence of natural resources promote or hinder economic development? What do the data tell us?

  3. The role of institutions. To what extent do institutions promote economic development? Are institutions a “cause” of economic development or an “effect” of it?

  4. Distributive politics. What does distributive politics look like in developing countries? Choose one region, highlight some recent trends in public goods provisioning, and discuss their implications for development.

  5. The welfare state. What is the welfare state and how does it differ across OECD countries? What are some important trends in welfare state politics in recent years?

  6. Globalization. What is globalization and how does it affect domestic politics in developing and Western countries? Are the effects of globalization similar across countries and regions or are they conditioned by local institutions or other factors?

What to Submit

You will submit a one-page outline along with a preliminary bibliography. Your outline will consist of the following parts:

  1. A 100 word abstract outlining the importance of your topic and the need for further analysis of it.
  2. A statement of the specific problem to be addressed by your research and analysis.
  3. Background information regarding the problem that you have identified.
  4. The proposed analysis, which should consist of two elements:
    1. a description of the data you will analyze; and
    2. a description the visualizations you plan to include.

For the dataset, be it is probably better to identify one that is complete and includes both a cross-sectional as well as a time series component, e.g. data that spans across countries or regions and time.

For the visualizations, you should describe at least two different types out of the following: a bar chart, a line chart, a scatter plot or a map. You don’t have to do the visualizations yet, but be specific in terms of what your plan is for them.

Your outline can be in the form of short paragraphs or bullet points.

Please upload your assignment as a .pdf document to Blackboard. You will find the link to upload the assignment in the Assignments section of the Blackboard site.