The more equality the better, unless it comes from enforced redistribution’ Discuss

You are asked to answer one of the questions listed below. Please hand your answer in no later than Wednesday 25 November

Word limit: 1600 + 10%. References / bibliography don’t count as part of the word limit and nor does the title of the essay but everything else does.

The essay counts for 20% of your overall mark. The exam is the remaining 80%.

See Guidance for writing a good essay below the essay list and readings

NB most of these readings are on the main reading list, but there are some additions here too

  1. The more equality the better, unless it comes from enforced redisribution’ Discuss

Reading: these can all be found on the library’s digitised reading list at the top of the module ELE page under topic 6, Equality

Beckerman, chs. 15 & 16

Harry G. Frankfurt, On inequality, ch.1

R.Wilkinson & K.Pickett, The Spirit Level

C.Snowdon, The Spirit Level Delusion

B.Nolan & L.Valenzuela, ‘Inequality and its Discontents’ Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Autumn 2019


1 Strength and clarity of argument. Make sure that each step follows logically from the one before. Above all, don’t use ‘therefore’ when it isn’t a therefore, or ‘however’ when in fact it’s a ‘moreover’ or vice versa. When this happens it’s generally just carelessness but it gives the impression that you can’t think.

2 Structure. Ask yourself what each step is doing in that place and whether it could be better placed. After your first draft it might help to label each paragraph in a few words and then reconsider the order of the labels. The best test of good structure is that it doesn’t make you repeat yourself, except possibly in the conclusion.

  1. Evidence. Use facts and figures to defend what you’re saying whenever you can. After your first draft look for holes, i.e. points where evidence is needed but none yet provided. But don’t go in for saturation bombing (e.g. six pieces of evidence all pointing to the same thing.) One killer fact is worth any number of inconclusive ones.
  2. Conclusion. Come to a good strong conclusion, supported by what you’ve written. Your conclusion is not an abstract of the essay i.e. don’t summarise everything you’ve said.
  3. Introduction. Keep it short, if you have one at all
  4. Literature review. Don’t.
  5. Grammar, spelling and punctuation. Some students do so few essays / reports that it would be wrong to be too draconian on people who simply haven’t had the practice. But you will nonetheless lose marks if there are too many faults in your writing.
  6. Balance. When you are arguing a case, you should keep in mind the counter-arguments but don’t necessarily have to state them. Use your judgment. If a counter-argument is particularly widely held or considered especially cogent, you might mention it & say why you don’t agree with it or, if you do think it’s valid, why it’s not conclusive.
  7. Reading. There is no minimum or maximum amount of reading that you’re required to do but a good essay is likely to involve an amount of reading equivalent to the reading list provided i.e. something to replace everything you don’t choose from the list. If you want to do your own research on the literature Scholar Google is a good place to start. Alternatively we might be able to think of additional things for you.

You won’t lose marks because of failure to cite any particular book or article.

10 Referencing You can use any referencing system you like so long as you give the author, title and date of publication for books, and additionally the name of the journal for articles. For internet downloads give the web address and the date of download (unless it’s a book or journal article, in which case reference it as above.)

  1. Word limit. The word limit is1600 + 10%. As the essay is ‘summative’ we can’t turn a blind eye to excess or will get justified protests from students who did stay within the limit. You will therefore lose one mark for every 50 words or part of 50 words that you go over 1760. References, whether in the form of footnotes or as a bibliography at the end, don’t count as part of the word count, and neither does the essay title. Everything else does.

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