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GRE AWA: The Council Of Maple County - With A Free Essay Review

"The council of Maple County, concerned about the county's becoming overdeveloped, is debating a proposed measure that would prevent the development of existing farmland in the county. But the council is also concerned that such a restriction, by limiting the supply of new housing, could lead to significant increases in the price of housing in the county. Proponents of the measure note that Chestnut County established a similar measure ten years ago, and its housing prices have increased only modestly since. However, opponents of the measure note that Pine County adopted restrictions on the development of new residential housing fifteen years ago, and its housing prices have since more than doubled. The council currently predicts that the proposed measure, if passed, will result in a significant increase in housing prices in Maple County. Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction."

The council of Maple County concludes that if the development of farmland is prohibited, there will be a significant increase in house prices. This conclusion is based on the effects of prohibition of development of new housing areas in Pine County, where the house prices increased after the implementation of this measure.

One major question which needs to be addressed is whether the population in Maple County is predicted to grow at the same rate over a period of fifteen years as it did in Pine County. If the population in Maple County grows at the same rate as it did in Pine county, only then it can be asserted that the situation in Maple county is similar to that in Pine County fifteen years ago. The population growth rate predicts whether there will be a shortage in the number of residences in the county, and the effect of an increase in the house prices.

Another question that needs to be addressed is whether the economic situation is the same in Maple County and Pine county? For example it might be that in Pine County the prices of houses may have doubled as a result of a high inflation rate. There is a need to provide evidence that the prices of houses in pine county doubled because of inhibition of further development of house residences rather than the economic situation. If the house prices in Pine county doubled because of the high inflation rate rather than the restriction on the development of new housing residences, the County council’s use of the Pine county example to support their argument would be wrong.

Another question that needs to be addressed is why the effect of house prices in the chestnut county as a result of implementation of a similar law was not used as the basis by the county council in making the conclusion on the effect of prohibition of further development of farmland on house prices? If this is because there is a vast difference between the economic situations or the population growth rate between the Maple County and the Chestnut county, it should be mentioned.

To conclude, the Maple County council should defend its argument by providing the answers to the questions given above.


Essay Review

I'm not sure that the first question you mention is altogether reasonable. In order to evaluate one prediction, you ask for another. This is a problem in part because population growth might itself depend on the availability of new housing or affordable housing. One ought at least specify, I think, what other, obviously answerable questions would help one predict population growth; for example: is the population currently growing, and if so, is the growth due to high birth rates or to migration? If it is largely due to people moving to the county, does the current cost of housing in the area contribute to the fact that people are moving to the area? You conclude your paragraph with a sentence whose meaning is not entirely clear (it's not clear what you are saying about "the effect of an increase in the house prices") and does not sufficiently clarify how you think the possible answers to your question would help one evaluate the council's prediction.

The next question that you identify (about the "economic situation") is a bit vague, though things are cleared up a bit with your reference to the inflation rate. Presumably you are thinking here about inflation in the economy of the country as a whole (it is worth noting, in any case, that while high inflation may cause upward pressure on house prices, increasing house prices may also cause higher inflation, depending on how the latter is measured). Your general point here is that there might be a reason for increased housing prices other than the restrictions imposed on development in Pine County. Since high inflation is not the only possible alternative cause of increased housing prices, however, it would be better to ask the general question (were there other possible causes?) and then give examples of possible other causes (inflation, property speculation, rising employment, rising wages, an earthquake). Taking this approach (articulating the general form of the question, and then providing examples) is useful because it allows you to cover a lot of ground quickly and allows you to avoid taking the risk entailed with coming up with highly specific questions; you don't need to be an economist to explain the implications of the general question, but you do need to know something about economics to talk reasonably about inflation.

Best, EJ
Submitted by: 13100021

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