Final assignment

Paper #2 - Signalling, and Problem set #5

Due Sunday, December 16, at 10 p.m. Saturday, December 15, 11:59 p.m. emailed to

Minimum 1000 words (about 4-5 pages, double-spaced).

Assignment will be marked down for each day or fraction of a day late (that is, if you send it at midnight, it’s late). 

Students turning in papers containing plagiarism will fail the course. 

Discuss a signal a country sends in the course of its foreign policy. Choose one of the following:
  • Economic sanctions on Iran, Syria, or North Korea.
  • The American, Japanese, Russian, or Indian space program.
  • One or more countries that host the Olympic Games.
  • Any other international situation that interests you, as long as you clear the topic with me by Friday, December 7.
In your paper, you should: 
  • Explain the signal a country (or its government) is trying to send. How costly is it? 
  • Explain the intended audience of the signal. Who is it supposed to influence?
  • Explain the logic of pooling and separating equilibria, and explain what message the signal actually sends. 
  • Draw an extensive form game tree that includes incomplete information, assign payoff values, and explain the equilibrium. 
Sources: Your paper should refer to at least three articles from mainstream news sources (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, etc.). The news sources you use must have been published in 2012. There is no need to research more extensive background material from books, government documents, etc. 

Sources must be cited properly, using a consistent citation format (e.g. MLA, APA, or Chicago).

This assignment asks you to apply concepts from the course to a particular, real-world issue.  

Grades will be based on five things:
  • Writing. The paper must have a clear thesis, stated early. The rest of the paper should contain facts and logic that support the thesis, and should properly cite sources.
  • Discussion of the costs of signalling and the logic of separating and pooling equilibira.
  • Explanation of the setup of your model.
  • Solution of the model.
There is, of course, no one right answer to any of these questions; you will be graded on the thoughtfulness of your analysis. You should make a specific prediction in the paper, not advocate a particular policy. In other words, explain what countries will do, not what you think they should do.