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Unit 4 Macro: How Do We Measure Poverty?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The World Bank has this short 3 minute video on measuring poverty

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The Story of the Economics Teacher National Conference 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Many thanks to the fantastic audience of Economics teachers who packed the British Library Conference Auditorium on 27 June 2012 for the Economics Teacher National Conference.

We were delighted with the day - a simply stunning speaker line-up was complemented by a real buzz amongst the delegates who took full advantage of the opportunity to renew existing friendships and many new contacts. The packed-out wine reception after the event was further proof that the Economics teacher community is really strong and growing!

Many thanks also to Ian Pryer (Freman College) who has done a superb job curating the many tweets from delegates attending. His Storify summary of the day is provided below:

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Jim O’Neill on the Changing World Economy

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here are the slides from Jim’s superb talk at the Economics Teacher National Conference at the British Library yesterday - Etoncollege.pdf

Freezing Fuel Duty is Wrong

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yesterday evening, fuelled by some excellent real ale (only 3 pints), I rang 5Live to tell Tony Livesey that I would be happy to pay an extra 3p a litre for my fuel. My point, which is difficult to make in a sound bite on late night radio, is that the price incentives are wrong. People need to be incentivised to use their cars less, to drive smaller cars and to drive more fuel efficient cars. Car manufacturers need to be incentivised to produce those more fuel efficient cars and find alternatives to the internal combustion engine using precious oil and creating pollution.
I also suggested that the real cost of motoring has risen less that the real cost of using buses or trains.
This would make a good discussion point with classes. I need to find some data on the cost per passenger mile for cars, buses and trains. Any help here appreciated.

More Behavioural Economics: Drink-Driving

On a class trip to an advertising and media company today, we were shown an ad campaign that bore a strong resemblance to the Smoking Kids campaign that Geoff blogged about a few days ago.

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Unit 1 Micro: Technology aims to cut fish discards

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Channel 4 news reports here on how CCTV and other technologies are being used to monitor fishing in the north sea in a bid to scale back the horrendous amount of fish discards. This happens when fishing vessels throw back dead fish into the water when a catch exceeds the quota - a terrible waste of an already scarce resource. The average European fishing trawler discards 38 per cent of its catch - for some species of fish 90 per cent are thrown away but with the aid of technology this can be reduced to less than 1 per cent.

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Big vs small government - the life of Julia.

As the American presidential race starts to heat up, one of the key differences between the two candidates is their policies on how much support the government should give to the average person (in this case “Julia”). Barack Obama favors more support (and therefore more spending) whereas Mitt Romney favors less support (and therefore less spending).

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Heading to London! A Day of Economics

Monday, June 25, 2012

I am heading to London to make final preparations for the 10th Anniversary Economics Teacher National Conference at the British Library Conference Auditorium. We have a large gathering of over 150 teachers and I am looking forward to meeting as many of the delegates as I can for a day that is built around four key-note speakers - here are the timings and details and travel directions and travel news links for those making the journey. Last minute bookings: https://tutor2u.wufoo.com/forms/economics-teacher-national-conf-2012-booking-form/

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Growing the Warburtons Brand - Focusing on Core Values

Meet Jonathan Warburton - the Chairman of Warburtons at the Business Teacher National Conference 2012 on Thursday 28 June - at the spectacular British Library Conference Auditorium. Book places here

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Jonathan Warburton faced a major challenge when he came into his family business - a business that had, by that point, already been established for over 100 years. The task was to bring fresh entrepreneurial spirit to an already established and well performing business. It is clear from the success of Warburtons as one of Britain’s largest companies in the fast-moving consumer goods industries that he has succeeded in this aim. And his talk to the Eton College Entrepreneurship Society last week was a beautifully clear explanation of the core values that Mr Warburton lie behind being an effective entrepreneur.

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Unit 4 Macro: Inclusive Wealth and Sustainable Development

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To mark the 2012 Rio Summit, the United Nations has started to publish an Inclusive Wealth Index which builds into an evaluation of a country’s wealth the impact of economic growth and development on the stock of a country’s natural capital. This chart from the Economist would be an excellent starting point for discussion of changes in natural wealth for a range of countries.

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Behavioural Economics: Smoking Kids

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Here is an innovative advert from Ogilvy Asia emphasising a behavioural economic idea that reminding yourself of the consequences of a choice can often be a strong deterrent or lever to sustain a change of lifestyle.

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Perspectives to Enrich - London Calling!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

There has never been a more exciting time to teach Economics to A level pupils who often see the world in unorthodox ways and who are prepared to challenge the conventional wisdom.  Just a couple of weeks ago it was thrilling to read many of the 750+ essays entered for the RES competition, the overall standard from students with just 6-8 months of experience in our subject was tremendous and reflection of the passionate and thoughtful teaching that is happening in so many schools and colleges across the UK and overseas. One of the most rewarding parts of my own teaching year has been to make contact with hundreds of other Economics teachers to share ideas, resources and different views. And now we have the challenges of and the opportunities from fresh curriculum change! My thoughts at a recent Bank of England event are here

So lots to talk about for friends old and new who are coming to our London event next Wednesday. We like the setting at the British Library, it is designed for good conversation and the chance to grow one’s teaching network. If you haven’t already decided, I hope that you will consider coming to our major CPD event of the year and our 10th anniversary celebration or perhaps send another rising star from your department!

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The Eurozone Crisis Flow Chart

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A useful series of flow charts on the BBC Business Webpage outlining some of the causes and effects of the present problems of the Eurozone economies.

A good starting point for AS students and teachers preparing for A2 Economics courses.

RES Competition - Final Shortlist and Highly Commended Essays

Monday, June 18, 2012

Here are the details of the final shortlist and highly commended essays for the 2012 competition. The standard of writing this year was very high - congratulations to those listed below and thank you to everyone who entered and the teachers who encouraged them to produce such interesting and vibrant economics. Judging by the quality of the entries, the future of our wonderful subject is in good hands.

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Unit 4 Macro: Russian Government and Falling Oil Prices

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of crude oil and gas and the price that these energy supplies fetch on world markets have a disproportionate effect on Russian GDP growth, their balance and payments and the Russian government fiscal position. In the summer of 2012 oil prices in particular have been falling quite sharply - a concern for the Russian Finance Ministry

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Unit 4 Macro: China and Reinventing Innovation

This 101 East programme from Al Jazeerah shown in June 2012 looks at attempts within China to fast track investment and progress in product innovation as part of the drive to sustain growth and make the leap from middle to higher income living standards. The programme is 25 minutes long. China faces allegations of unfair trade practices and intellectual piracy by some of its major trading partners in the US and Europe

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Help in Revising for Unit 4 Economics

Thousands of students across the UK and overseas are entering the final stages of preparation for their Unit 4 macroeconomics paper. A summer hat tip to several colleagues who have been posting some really good exam advice for students who are using twitter as a source of help, thoughts and key themes ahead of their exam. We are using the twitter hash tag #econ4 so that these exam-related tweets are easily followed. It is another good example of how this fast-growing platform can be used as a way of providing reassurance for students as they get closer to their final economics paper.

Click on this link to access the Unit 4 Economics Tweets

Economics Conference: Jonathan Portes, Director of the NIESR

We are delighted that Jonathan Portes, the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research will be one of our four keynote speakers at the Economics Teacher National Conference at the British Library on Wednesday 27th June. Booking a place at our event could not be easier - just click here for details or call us on 0844 800 0085 (office hours are 8:30 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

 

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Unit 2 Macro: High oil prices and consumer demand

World crude oil prices are falling back from their recent highs and this will bring blessed relief to hard-pressed consumers and many businesses in the UK. High oil and gas prices effectively act like a tax on consumption because they increase the prices of many goods and services for which demand is price inelastic. Yea we can try to switch to more energy-efficient products over time - and many people are doing this albeit at a short term cost - but essentially when petrol and home energy costs rise, it causes a direct hit on the real purchasing power of millions of households, many of whom have barely seen any rise in their wages over the last couple of years.

Sir Terry Leahy, formerly CEO of Tesco makes this point in this interview on Channel 4 news

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Between Scylla and Charybdis - Grexit and The Euro

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were sea monsters on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina, (Scylla, a rock shoal off the Italian mainland and Charybdis a whirlpool off the Scillian coast).  Odysseus was forced to choose sides when he entered the strait; he opted to pass by Scylla and lose only a few sailors, rather than risk the loss of his entire ship in the whirlpool. Was this a mythological form of the prisoners’ dilemma?

By the time ink on your exam papers has dried the Eurozone may be in crisis.  Grexit might grab the headlines on Monday but Spandex, Ex-It might be more significant later events if The Common Currency breaks up.  Try ranking the least dangerous or more advantageous options from this short BBC extract below for economies by likelihood, whilst forming your judgement.

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A2 Economics Unit 4 Revision Clinic

Our final A2 Economics revision clinic takes place at 9pm on Sunday 17 June. Please login using your Facebook or Twitter account to participate. A transcript of the session will be available once the revision clinic is completed.

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Wiiner Take All - Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo’s new book Winner Take All debuts at #13 on the New York Times Best Seller list this week.She is currently on a speaking tour in the United States but flies back to the UK to speak at our Economics Teacher National Conference on Wednesday 27th June. Click here for information on how to book a place at this super end of term event.

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How much do you understand about the euro crisis?

Tempting, I think, as an extension activity with year 12 students who are returning from their AS exams and starting on A2 courses, to put this happy Irish picture up on the whiteboard on Monday morning and ask them to explain the message on the flag.

Perhaps a prize for the most on-the-ball answer?

Join Us at the Economics National Teacher Conference 2012!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our speaker line up is now complete for tutor2u’s 10th Anniversary Economics Teacher National Conference! We are delighted to have some outstanding economists and communicators to talk on a range of current issues and the day provides a terrific opportunity to celebrate our marvellous subject and enrich our passion for what we do in the classroom ahead of the summer break!

Delegate Rates:
£175 (+ VAT) for a single delegate
£125 (+ VAT) for groups of two or more delegates from the same institution

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More unsettling news on Spain

Yields on Spanish government bonds reached 7% yesterday, a level at which most experts believe the nation cannot survive without a bailout and this led to José Manuel García-Margallo, Spain’s foreign minister releasing the rather dramatic statement “‘If the Titanic sinks, it takes everyone with it, even those travelling in first class,’’ he said, in a warning clearly aimed at Germany and other eurozone countries” as reported in this Guardian piece.

Brinkmanship or is impending doom just round the corner? Maybe this is a reaction to Spain’s 100 billion no strings bank bailout, a mere bagatelle according to this Economist article “It is a plaster, not a cure.”

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Who’s afraid of the Euro crisis?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What are the possible ripple effects of the euro crisis? There are a myriad of different opinions about what might happen and how far it might go.

This interactive graphic from the BBC website is a neat summary of just some of them - it starts with Greece itself, with comparisons to the debt crises in Spain, Portugal and Ireland then looks at the potential contagion effects of a collapse of confidence in Italy.

This may spread to banking meltdown in France, the UK and the ECB, with a Euro break-up rippling through the German and wider EU economies. As a result of the interdependence of the EU and its worldwide trading partners, global meltdown follows - which explains why Christine Lagarde of the IMF has been calling for more leniency towards Greece and other borrowers, and more action in Europe to boost growth.

Is there some way in which such negative multiplier effects can be avoided? Can macroeconomic policies be used somehow to protect domestic economies from the fallout? If they cannot, what next? This resource only presents one set of ideas, but might just help students to tease out some of the convoluted and complex issues which dog the EU and global economy at present.

How do you define poverty?

This has been a focus of debate today, sparked on the one hand by new data showing that the number of children living in poverty in the UK last year fell by 300,000, or by 2% to 18% of children living below the poverty line. This is based on the government’s Households Below Average Income statistics which define child poverty as children living in homes taking in less than 60% of the median UK income.

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Economics and UCAS - Sumnmer 2012 Reading List

Here is my selection of economics books for students keen on deepening their understanding - revised and updated for summer 2012 to include a selection of new books that have just hit the bookstores!

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A2 Macro: Evaluating Keynesian-Style Stimulus - Fixing America’s Roads

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Robert Skidelsky gave his talk on Keynes here in Madrid last October, he spoke at length about the importance of effective government spending emphasising that the focus of the spending should be on capital rather than current. Yes, when aggregate demand is lacking, the government should increase spending on capital projects, even if that means deficit spending, in order to kick start the economy with the accompanying multiplier effect on output, jobs and growth.

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The Economics Teacher Network on Twitter

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A year ago today a group of teachers established an informal twitter network within a matter of seconds by collectively using the hash tag #ecbusteach to connext with each other and share links, ideas and resources. Over the last year for many of use Twitter has become a tremendously useful platform for collaborating, supporting and enriching our passion for Economics. If you would like to connect to like-minded colleagues on Twitter then please post a tweet with the hash tag #ecbusteach and in a few days we will create a new network map teaching colleagues using this link.

The MRPL of a graduate, and comparative advantage

If workers are needed for the output they are required to produce, then it follows that they could be paid up to the extra value of revenue that their output generates for the firm, and that wage differentials will reflect differences in labour productivity - in other words, I am talking about the marginal revenue product of labour. The University and College Union (UCU) have commissioned a report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) called ‘Further Higher? Tertiary education and growth in the UK’s new economy’, looking for some evidence of the differences in the productivity of workers who have A levels and those with degrees - you can see the results in the table above.

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A2 Micro (Unit 3) Economics Online Revision Clinic - 10 June 2012

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Students taking a Unit 3 exam as part of their A2 Economics this June may wish to get involved in our online revision clinic, which takes place a couple of days before the exam. The free online revision clinic will begin at approximately 9.45 p.m. and last for an hour. Our Economics teacher panelists will be on hand to provide guidance and advice on key topics in A2 business economics (including labour market & transport economics) to help students focus their final revision efforts.  To participate (e.g. ask questions or provide comments on topics discussed), students will need to login using their FB, Twitter or OpenID accounts.

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Unit 3 Micro: Sunk Costs

Sunk costs cannot be recovered if a business decides to leave an industry.

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Lunch with the FT - Krugman

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Great FT interview and article here with Paul Krugman (”most hated and most admired columnist in the US”) that fits nicely with Geoff’s recent post on Krugman’s LSE visit.

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Factor Substitution - Will we see robots replacing farmers anytime soon?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The answer to that question according to this NPR blog seems to be a definitive Yes! The video below shows a driver-less tractor working a field using advanced GPS systems to help with the planting. Similar technology is used to power robots that milk cows and do other farm related tasks - great as the farmer can now do something else and/or not hire a worker. Substituting labour for capital is now deemed more profitable for the business. Does this spell the end of the line for the farm hand?

“There’s very much a human element in all of the business decisions and all of the equipment selection and maintenance and fleet decisions, I don’t think you’re going to eliminate the farmer with automation.”

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Unit 4 Macro: Global Tensions from the Shift to the East

Monday, June 04, 2012

Will the East slow before it counts? Is the East only big enough to be culpable but not mature enough to be responsible? In this TED talk recorded at the LSE a few months ago, Danny Quah, Professor of Economics and Kuwait Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science looks at some of the darker undercurrents, dangers and risks from the changing centre of gravity in the world economy.

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