Tim Harford’s new book Adapt is a terrifically good read - just packed with interesting ideas and told with a flourish that makes it tough to put down. Reviewed here. I am really keen for all of my students to read it as soon as their exams are over. I have been teaching government failure this week and have used this talk from Tim at the TedX Conference at Warwick University just a few weeks back. This is an enthralling eighteen minute talk exploring the genesis of the changes in US military strategy in Iraq that turned the course of the battle against insurgents and which successfully undermined Rumsfeld’s appalling unwillingness to tolerate dissenting views. Tim’s opening remarks mention the Battle for Haditha - memorably covered in this film directed by Nick Broomfield.read more...»
There has been much coverage in the last few days of the latest data on China’s population trends and in particular strong evidence about the ageing of her population. The demographic dividend of the fast population growth during the Mao era is well and truly over.
The annual growth of the Chinese population is falling away - the average annual growth was 0.57% over the last decade, down from 1.07% in 1990-2000. And when the age structure of the population is analysed, we find that the number of people over the age of 60 rose by about 48m, reaching 13.3 per cent of the population. China’s total population is now 1.339bn – up 5.84 per cent from the last decade. The number of old people in China has grown by more than the population of Spain over the last ten years and there is growing pressure for a reversal of the controversial one-child policy.read more...»
It has been great to see so many students actively making use of the AS and A2 economics VLE resources in recent days - just under 800 of the 3600 students enrolled have accessed the site since the start of last weekend. Hopefully this will increase as the exams come into final focus. Today in our A2 revision session we did a 30 minute group collab on an A-Z of A2 micro and students did pretty well - flagging up over seventy concepts and ideas relevant to what we have covered at A2. I have now extended the list and linked to them using the VLE glossary. I have attached the key concepts list as a word file and students can access the glossary entries if they have a password for the VLE.
Key terms document
Many of Europe’s newer member states have outperformed established EU countries since they joined the single market in 2004 and 2007. And as a result there has been a process of convergence in average living standards and improved employment opportunities. Europe’s new nations have injected extra dynamism into the region despite inevitable teething problems along the way.
For students revising aspects of EU enlargement here is a streamed version of a presentation I gave to a Tutor2u event in London a few weeks ago
A streamed version of the presentation is available here
Related news issues
Germany expects influx of Polish workers (BBC news, April 2011)
The royal extravaganza is expected to boost the UK economy coffers over the coming months by up to £2 billion with an influx of tourists. Subtract the costs of staging the wedding and it represents the boost needed for the economy.
However, it should be factored in that the lost output in the economy due to the public holiday may have had a greater cost.
Read this article from The Guardian
Keynesian thought has been given renewed prominence in recent years with the Global Financial Crisis, deep recessions in many countries and a remarkable monetary and fiscal policy response across continents. An understanding of some key Keynesian themes can be helpful in evaluating macro policies and the search for macro stability and better economic outcomes. Crucially Keynesian economics focuses on psychology, uncertainty and expectations in driving macroeconomic decisions and behaviour. Animal spirits are vital.read more...»
I have put together a short revision exam-style question for AQA Unit 3 (Micro) focusing on some of the issues / problems facing the European Airline industry. Many of the established airlines are part-state owned and the question of nationalisation, government emergency funding / state aid was highly topical this time last year in the wake of the recession and the volcanic ash crisis. The document can be downloaded below and I have linked also to some other A2 micro revision resourcesread more...»
I have adapted a recent exam question in the global sugar market and the debate about sugar & salt consumption, obesity and market failure to create a new mock exam question for AQA Unit 1 students. It is available for download below.
Topical revision for macro economists, another Hayek Keynes Rap.read more...»
We are pleased to announce the publication of a new rapid revision guide for OCR A2 Economics Unit F584 (Transport Economics). The OCR Transport Economics Revision Q&A has been authored by experienced OCR Economics teacher Richard Young (Wood Green School) and is available via a cost-effective network licence. Contents and samples below + links for ordering.
The graph below (source Carpe Diem) shows how manfacturing production in the US is on the up while unemployment in the same sector is rising. What can explain this anomaly?read more...»
I’ve collected together some useful revision resources for my Year 13 students on the topic of Development Economics. Read on for download details…read more...»
Here is my regularly-updated selection of books for economics students keen to demonstrate a commitment to independent thought and active learning. Please reflect and comment on what you have read in your UCAS statement!
I have taken out quite a bit of banking stuff because I think we are all getting pretty bored of this! More this time on the inter-play between Economics, Geography, Biology, Mathematics and History – which I find much more interesting! No author appears more than once! As always I am bound to have made some terrible omissions and I am happy to amend the list based on the recommendations of blog readers. Please do leave a comment below. I have added in some links to relevant book reviews.
Anyway - here is my current selection!read more...»
I am delighted to say that Ian Stewart, Chief Economist for Deloitte has agreed to speak at our annual Economics Teacher National Conference. Ian has a wealth of experience in understanding the ebbs and flows of the macroeconomy and judging the health of corporate Britain as the economy seeks a durable recovery.
He will be presenting Deloitte’s latest view on prospects for the UK with a particular focus on the decisions that businesses are taking on jobs, investment, mergers and takeovers and much more besides.
Ian is the author of the excellent Deloitte Monday Briefings - a tremendous resource for students and teachers who like to have an intelligent and focused updated on key economic developments and emerging policy themes.
The 2011 Economics teacher National Conference takes place at the superb British Library Conference Auditorium, St Pancras, London on Wednesday 29 June 2011 starting at 1030am.
The aim of the day is for Economics teachers from many different countries to enjoy some presentations and discussions on issues of contemporary importance and also to refresh their passion and enthusiasm for this great subject!
Coffee and other light refreshments are available at the venue from 9.30am and the lunch at the British Library is usually tremendous.
Our venue is just a couple of minutes stroll from Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross. There is a complimentary drinks receptions straight after the event for those who wish to celebrate the approach of summer and the end of the academic year. And an added treat this year will be the chance not only to pay a visit to the British Library itself, but also the newly opened hotel at St Pancras!
There are great prices for departmental deals - both for this event and also the Business Teacher National Conference on Thursday 30th June.
This is a new eight-page revision briefing note for students taking AS and A2 macroeconomics courses on developments in the Chinese economy and their impact on the UK and the wider global economy. Fans on our Facebook page voted for it and we will be adding some more revision briefings in the next week based on the votes and preferences on the page! What is happening in China and in China’s changing economic relationships around the world is and will continue to have a profound impact on the UK and European Economy - this revision briefing looks at some of these connections. Download it here in pdf formatread more...»
When teaching minimum prices, I tend to use examples from agriculture that don’t actually exist anymore so this short video clip on minimum pricing in the Nashville transport market will be a welcome addition.read more...»
Here is an essay plan on this question: Assess the extent to which a rise in imports may affect macroeconomic performance (25 marks). Like many macro questions, the focus is on the longer-term performance of the economy – this requires a brief explanation at the start of the answer – e.g. economic growth, unemployment, inflation and material well-being. The essay plan can be downloaded using the link below:
Here is a revision idea. Take a broad topic - in this case the economics of monopoly - and get students to enter items for an A to Z on that topic. Here is an A-Z relating to monopoly, I am sure we have missed out lots of ideas, can you add some in? If so please leave a comment!read more...»
This revision note considers some areas of the AS micro course where price elasticity of supply can become important in your analysis. The document can be downloaded below:
At A2 level you are expected to be able to use analysis diagrams to show the effects of changes in short and long run production costs on a firm’s prices, profits and output. This two page revision note available to downlaod in pdf format looks at changes in costs and how they might affect pricing in imperfectly competitive markets. Download using the link below
We are on the search for handy revision Mnemonics for use with economics - can people recommend ones that they find useful?read more...»
This revision note looks at possible conflicts between macroeconomic objectives and some of the policy prescriptions for over-coming them. When conflicts arise, choices have to be made about which objectives are given greatest priority. This is a different issue – for example which ought to be the main objective of macroeconomic policy. These choices will vary from one country to another since the needs of different nations will differ according to their stage of economic development.
Download using this link:
Our first entries have started arriving so this is a good time to remind people of the 2011 competition essays and how to enter!
The 2011 Royal Economic Society Essay Competition for students is launched today. The RES judging panel has settled on five essay titles covering a range of macro and micro economic issues. They are listed below. The first prize will once again be £1,000 together with an engraved trophy. The deadline for submitting essays will be Monday16th of May at 2400 hours. All essays must be submitted online using the official entry form.
For 2010 nearly two hundred schools and colleges from across the UK and beyond submitted entries from their students and there were 600 essays entered. We are hoping that the 2011 competition will prove equally popular. The maximum word count for entries is 2,000 words. The word count includes footnotes, but excludes references and bibliography. Please note that entries to the competition should be unique (i.e. not published elsewhere or submitted to other essay competitions.
Here are the selected essay titles…read more...»
The Boston Globe’s Big Picture has just published a set of remarkable photos. Collectively they are a stunning set of images that reminds one of the economic and social costs of the disaster and the nature of externalities - and colleagues may want to return to this resource to stimulate discussion and support visual learners. Here is the link.
Here is a revision note on the economics of twin deficits. Twin deficits refer to a situation where an economy is running both a fiscal deficit and also a deficit on the current account of the balance of payments. The revision note is available for download as a pdf file.
The Australian Government released unemployment figures showing the rate of unemployment falling ot 4.9%. This figure is lower than previously expected and is now now influencing the value of the exchange rate in Australia. The article makes reference to the possible implications on the interest rate in the economy over the coming months to counteract.
Task: The article in the Australian Times could be used as a revision lesson for AS or Year 1 IB Economists to review the links between different macroeconomic variables.read more...»
What should the state sector of the economy provide? How much should be left to the private sector allocating scarce resources through the incentives of the price mechanism? Is the provision of public goods the most important reason for accepting the existence of government involvement in the economy? These questions revolve around the idea of public and private goods – please understand the key characteristics of public goods and why they might not be provided optimally by the private sector – giving government a role in financing them for our collective (social) benefit. A one page revision note on public and private goods designed for AS (Unit 1) micro economics can be downloaded here. Revision_Public_Private_Goods.doc
A revision note on aspects of industries in which there is strong market power among one or a few businesses. Most markets are competitive with a number of suppliers (producers) competing for the demand of consumers. Some are more competitive than others. At AS level it is important to understand some of the factors that lead to market (monopoly) power and to evaluate the costs and benefits of markets where monopoly power exists together with the effects of different types of government intervention. The revision note is available to download here: Revision_Market_Power.doc
The Easter 2011 edition of econoMAX - our digital resource for AS & A2 Economics - is now available for subscribing schools and colleges. Details of the new articles are provided below.read more...»
Japanese consumer confidence fell in the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami last month. Households across the nation became considerably less willing to purchase consumer durables and people were more worried about their jobs, incomes and overall livelihood. Many Japanese, out of respect for the victims, have also shied away from making luxury or big-ticket purchases.
The Herald and Tribune features and very interesting article on this topic.
Lesson Activity: This article could be a good starting point following the Easter break as a review activity in preparation for the upcoming AS examination in May.