Im trying to think of a project on something controversial in economics. Does anyone have ideas for such a topic and suggestions for readings?

How about "corporate social responsibility?" At first glance, how could anyone disagree with the idea that companies should be socially responsible. This is like being against virture, morality, and goodness.

in fact, a strong case can be made that this is bad idea. If adopted, this would mean that companies would be using shareholders money to promote social objectives that the managers think are in the public's best interest. However, who gave the managers of the company the right to use other peoples money to do good deeds?

I don't object to my elected representatives in the government using tax dollars to do good deeds. At least, I can vote them out of office if I don't like what they are doing.

The proper responsibility of a democratically elected government is to specify in laws and regulations what our social responsibility ought to be. This is not a decision that should be left to managers of corporations.
Trade deficit would be a good choice. I would investigate
NAFTA and why is is either good or bad for the respective countries. Another suggestion might be discovery of business who either in source or outsource from their countries and the financial and socioeconomic impact of the workforce.

If is is not your interest you my find that our US rail system has played a very important part in our infrastructure; who conceived the idea and why it either worked or did not. The steel industry would be another topic that would fall into your topic.
technology advancement may be your second choice... but if i were you i would rather choose the first answer
For some macro issues (my personal interest) you might look at things like supply-side economics, the Laffer or Phillips curves, or the idea that different tax policies are good/bad for the economy. Each of these has huge supporters and detractors on both sides and make for good economic controversies.

Note: all of these are actually pretty linked (except Phillips curve) and could actually make up one huge paper depending on your assignment parameters. If you're looking for either a light project touching many things or a broad but in-depth project, each of these issues could all be used. They, of course, are each complex enough to be taken on their own.

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