Write an Economic Autobiography
We are all the sum of our decisions; meaning who and where you are right now in life is the totality of all
the decisions you made up to this point. And not only your decisions, as a child and minor the decisions
of your parent(s) or guardian(s) also play a big role. The decisions of others like employers and the
government affect you on an individual level. And all these decisions can be influenced by the
surrounding macroeconomic conditions.
Think about several key decisions that really influenced who and where you are today. These can be
decisions you made or decisions others made for you –some examples could be:
you deciding to: go to college, buy a car, move out of your parents house, buy a house, enter the work
force, leave the work force, change careers, get married, to have children, etc…
your parents deciding to: have you!, move to a new house, open a new business, close a business,
change your school, get a divorce, have more kids, change careers, leave the work force, etc…
an employer deciding to: laying off workers, hire workers, close, etc…
government deciding to: use stabilizing policy, go to war, expand a program, cut funding to a program,
Then write an “economic autobiography” detailing how macroeconomic conditions shaped the
incentives involved in those decisions and how the decisions affected your life.
a) Graph / timeline identifying pivotal decisions in your life and overlaying relevant economic data
(see example at the end of this document)
b) 4 pages of text (typed double spaced / not including graph)
c) 4 outside /verifiable references (APA or MLA style) with in-text citations and a full works cited
 These references must be 4 different, outside sources from verifiable sources; no blogs,
and no wikis. Your textbook does not count as one of your required citations.
Guided Assistance
To help you out I have laid out some steps you can take to think through your story. They are just
suggestions and you do not have to follow them with precision, but it may help you generate the right
questions to investigate.
Step 1
Plan the outline of your autobiography. Do this by writing down key decisions that impacted who and
where you are today (like the examples given in the instructions). Sometimes it helps to think about
Step 3
Research the ways in which the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve were involved in the
national economy, and any major economic issues facing the government around the times of the
pivotal decisions in your life. You can find this information by reading archives of Government and
Federal Reserve reports and reading archives of newspapers, magazines, or other publications.
(Students born outside the U.S. may have a hard time finding old government reports, but you should still
be able to read archives of newspapers or publications). Tip: See the suggested websites later in this
document for good research sources.
As you research, investigate questions like:
 Were there any significant fiscal policies being implemented?
 Were there any significant monetary policies being implemented?
 Were there any major trade policies being implemented?
 Were there significant policies being implemented what would impact long term economic
 Were there significant labor market policies that may have affected structural unemployment?
 Were there any significant institutional changes occurring at the time?
 Were there any national debt issues at the time?
 What macroeconomic school of thought were the policy makers at the time following
(Keynesian, Classical,…)?
Step 4
Research the economic situations that your family was facing around the times of the pivotal decisions
in your life. The situations may be positive or negative. You may have to acquire some of this
information by talking with family members and friends who were around at the time.
As you interview your family members and friends ask them questions like:
 Who was the primary income provider at the time and did he/she have a stable job?
 Was the primary income earner’s occupation cyclical or countercyclical?
 If the primary income provider was a business owner, was business profitable or unprofitable?
 Was household income adequate to cover all the family’s expenses at the time?
 Were household expenses stable or were they rising rapidly?
 Were there any emergency expenses that your family had to pay for at the time?
 Was the family housing arrangement adequate for the family at the time?
 Were there any particular money related issues that were putting significant stress on the
 Were there any monetary windfalls enjoyed by your family at the time?
 What type of “safety net” did the family have to weather rough times?
Step 5
Think about how the economic environment described in parts 2-4 affected the pivotal decisions in your
life, the time in between those decisions, and present life position. To do this think about how parts 2,
3, and 4 relate to one another, and how the economic conditions that resulted created the experiences
that make up who you are today.
As you reflect on this ask yourself questions like:
 How did the economic environment affect the opportunities I had available to me?
 How did the economic environment affect the cost and benefits of my decisions?
 How did the economic environment affect my relationships with my family members and
 How did the economic environment shape my preferences (likes and dislikes)?
 How did the economic environment influence my core beliefs; for instance how I see myself,
how I see other people, how I see the world?
Step 6:
Put it all together and write your economic autobiography. First add the relevant economic data and
economic events to your timeline created in step 1 (see example at the end of this document). There
should be at least 1 data series overlaid on the timeline. Then write about how macroeconomic
conditions shaped the incentives involved in those decisions and how the decisions affected your life.
Remember the key thing here is the economics behind the story. While it may be interesting, just telling
me your life story will not be sufficient for this project. You have to explain how the economic
environment and the economic policies of the time impacted your life story. And remember I am
ultimately evaluating your knowledge of Macroeconomic principles so be sure to use the concepts,
theories, models, and vocabulary from class whenever possible.























































































Sample Solution