Saving the Tuolumne, Kennedy School

Your recommendation should always be clearly stated within at least the first three sentences of your paper, preferably in the first sentence unless some basic explanation is required. Above all, avoid summarizing. You should assume that your intended audience is as familiar with the scenario and issue as you are, so you do not need to spend time explaining the purpose of your paper. Again, the most summary you should be providing is one or two short sentences reintroducing the topic to someone who is already familiar with the topic. 3. Along the same lines, don’t spend too long explaining where you got your data or facts. If there is a lot of data to work through, put the name of the relevant table(s) in parentheses (e.g. Exhibit A) at the end of the sentence talking about that data. You also do not need to go into too much detail about each step of your analysis, so long as you tell me what kind of analysis or decision-making rule you used and briefly explain why it is valid – that is, demonstrate that you understand the underlying economic concepts or logic. 4. By eliminating summary and keeping your explanations concise, you’ll have more room to include additional and more sophisticated arguments/counterarguments in your paper, and that is what will earn you the best scores. Having approximately three good arguments and approximately three appropriate counterarguments in your memo will almost certainly get you at least a 4 on the memo, barring a major flaw in your analysis or reasoning. To get a 5, you need to think a bit outside the box – consider secondary effects of your recommendation, or use more complex concepts/analysis discussed in class. If you are struggling here, stop by during my office hours or email me and I’ll try and give some pointers. Third, each case study is different and there is no fail-safe approach to tackling one. Nevertheless, there are some basic questions you may find useful to ask (and attempt to answer): Who are the principal actors in the case? What are the long run goals of each? What are the short run incentives of each? How is each rewarded? What are the options available? What is the decision to be made? Are the apparent constraints really constraints or might some be loosened? Are the long run alternatives different than those in the short run? What are others likely to do in response to each alternative? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? Which are quantifiable? What bounds can you put on those that are not quantifiable? Can the problem be broken into several simpler problems? Unlike problems in a problem set, there is no unique “right” answer. Usually there are several different approaches to solving the problem. Some of these differing approaches may be equally valid while others may be less valid. Fourth, there is a standard format you should use when preparing your memorandums. The first section should contain your recommendation. The second section should contain the three strongest arguments supporting your recommendation. The third section should contain the three strongest arguments against your recommendation. And, remember, the case memorandums must be double-spaced and must be no more than one page in length. Fifth, you should be aware of some common mistakes that are made when analyzing cases: 4 • One common mistake is to make recommendations that are too general. The more specific the recommendation the easier it will be to see the advantages and disadvantages of the chosen course of action. • A second common mistake is to make recommendations or statements that are not supported by facts provided in the case. • A third common mistake is to believe analysis is not necessary to make a recommendation. Remember the purpose of the case studies is to apply policy analysis tools and concepts to policy issues. All cases will involve using some economic principles and most will require data manipulation; analysis of a case is INCOMPLETE without these components. • Finally, don’t forget what you are trying to accomplish with the memorandum. Do not include extraneous sentences or ideas. Review each sentence and ask “does this sentence add value to my argument?” If it fails to contribute anything to the recommendation you are making and the rationale for the recommendation, purge it immediately! You can get a bunch of information about it online. To find information about the Topic you can google information about it.p(1)

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