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United Queendom Scottish Independence as a Romantic Comedy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A new online comedy series launches on Thursday 24th July! 

The series tells the story of Scott and Adrian, two lovers on the verge of break up. Scott runs an oil company – bath oils that is – and Adrian spends their money as if it’s his own. Will they work things out or will Scott go it alone? All will be revealed when the series launches this August in time for the Scottish independence referendum.

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Unit 4 Macro: Ten Years of EU Membership for Poland

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of Poland's accession to the European Union. Poland was easily the largest of the ten countries that came into the EU single market a decade ago. It was an important economic and geo-political moment for a country of just under forty million inhabitants. 

The country has always traded heavily with the EU and that trade dependency has deepened over the last ten years. According to economists at HSBC, Poland is well placed to sustain strong export growth even though much of Western Europe as a whole is struggling to escape from below trend growth.

Poland has had the most stable growth of any economy in Europe in recent years. It avoided a recession in the aftermath of the Global Financial crisis - helped in part by the depreciation of the Polish Zloty. The economy is the sixth biggest in Europe and in the top twenty five countries ranked by GDP. Steady progress in lifting relative incomes per capita towards the EU28 average has helped to grow the size of the middle-class consumer sector - a big opportunity for British businesses looking to invest in the country.

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Unit 4 Macro: Economic Benefits of EU Membership

Thursday, May 22, 2014

European countries are on average 12% richer a decade after they join the EU than they would otherwise be -- and the UK is 24% better off since joining the EU in 1973 than it would otherwise be. Those are among the findings of research by Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli and Luigi Moretti as written about on 

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BREXIT or FIXIT - Trade and Welfare Effects of Leaving the European Union

Friday, May 16, 2014

With the European Parliament elections on the near horizon there is plenty of discussion about the merits and de-merits of continued UK membership of the European Union.

The Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) has just launched a new report in its series of CEP Policy Analyses: ‘Brexit or Fixit? The Trade and Welfare Effects of Leaving the European Union’ by Gianmarco Ottaviano, Joao Paulo Pessoa, Thomas Sampson and John Van Reenen. Here are their main findings:

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Unit 4 EU Single Market: Trade and Labour Migration

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This short streamed revision presentation looks at aspects of the EU including exam style question on the economic effects of labour migration

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Unit 4 Macro: Economic Benefits of EU Membership

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Membership of the European Union (EU) has had a big positive effect on average incomes in all but one of its member countries. That is the central finding of research by Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli and Luigi Moretti, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2014 annual conference. They also find that the more financially developed countries have grown significantly faster after joining the EU.

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Unit 4 Macro: Infographic on the EU Single Market

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The economics team at Deutche Bank have produced this infographic on aspects of the EU single market and it might be useful for A2 students wanting extra background on the EU economy

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Unit 4 Macro: Centre of Gravity in Car Manufacturing Moves East

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Volume car production has been surging in recent years in many Eastern European countries - this FT news video provides some of the background and offers some revealing insights into the complex sources of competitive advantage in a key industrial sector.

The vehicles that roll off the production line at the Czech company's state-of-the-art car plant near Prague now outstrip many western rivals not only on cost but on reliability and finish too.

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Unit 4 Macro: Shaping Economic Development in Romania

There has been huge recent coverage of the impending relaxation of migrant controls for workers from Romania and Bulgaria - two countries that joined the EU single market in 2007. Here are some different views on the issue.

The World Bank has recently put two short You Tube clips on their channel focusing on the importance of economies of scale, labour mobility and competitive cities as drivers of growth and development in Romania and Bulgaria. They are both worth a look as useful short revision clips for economists and geographers.

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Unit 1 Micro: Producer and Consumer Subsidies

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Here is a revision presentation on the economics of producer and consumer subsidies as forms of government intervention in markets. There are a number of up to date examples highlighted together with an evaluation of the benefits and costs of subsidy payments. This is designed as a revision aid for unit 1 students taking their microeconomics papers.

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Immigration - the Fiscal Costs and Benefits

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

UK immigrants who arrived since 2000 are less likely to receive benefits and less likely to live in social housing than UK natives. What’s more, over the decade from 2001 to 2011, they made a considerable positive net contribution to the UK’s fiscal system, and thus helped to relieve the fiscal burden on UK-born workers.

The positive contribution is particularly evident for UK immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA – the European Union plus three small neighbours): they contributed about 34% more in taxes than they received in benefits over the period 2001-11.

These are the central findings of a comprehensive analysis of the fiscal consequences of immigration to the UK, published today by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London.

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Unit 4 Macro: CBI calls for Britain to stay inside the EU

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Confederation of British Industry has today launched a report called Our Global Future: The Business Vision for a Reformed EU - The report calls for further EU reform not least the completion of the single market in particular in services and the new internet economy. They argue for more free trade deals with other countries and regions.

The report produces estimates – based on past academic studies – that EU membership adds £62bn-£78bn a year to UK gross domestic product, equal to the combined economies of northeast England and Northern Ireland. That works out at £3,000 per household and £1,225 per individual. The fact sheets from the report can be found here

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Unit 4 Macro: Improving Competitiveness in Croatia

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Economics student Anthony Beaumont writes on the policies that might sustain an improvement in the Croatian economy as it settles into being the 28th member nation of the EU single market

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Croatia joins the EU - but can your students identify where the EU countries are on a map?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Whilst the UK appears to remain the most Eurosceptic of the EU member states, other countries are lining up to join the exclusive club we're so keen to distance ourselves from.  I suppose it is like having a season ticket to watch Manchester United when you are a Manchester City fan.

Croatia is the latest member to join the EU despite all of the recent Economic problems in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, and joins the party just as the collective is about to make a huge trade agreement with the USA.

As an interesting lesson-starter (this activity will last about 10 minutes), are your students able to identify the location of all 28 member states if they are presented with a 'blank' map of Europe.  The Balkan and Baltic states pose the greatest challenge!

The Powerpoint file accessed below poses that question.  Teachers can run the show and then reveal the 28 countries on their screens or give out the student worksheets (with corresponding map) before going through the correct answers.  Note - there are two possible worksheets - the first asks students to apply a number to the given list of the 28 states and the second is blank and asks students to fill in the names of the 28 states in the 'map' order (and is therefore a little more challenging).

Click on this link to access the file.  This link will take you to a Google Drive post where you can then download the file to your own computer.

Unit 4 Macro: Croatia Joins the European Union

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Here are some links to resources covering the accession of Croatia to the European Union as the country becomes the 28th member nation of the EU Single Market. This BBC news article tracks Croatia's progress from isolation to full membership of the EU. For a fact sheet on Croatia this handout from Eurostat looks pitch perfect! We have also produced a one-page case study factsheet on Croatia for students and teachers - Croatia_Joins_EU.pdf

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European Union Economy Study Companion 2012

Thursday, June 06, 2013

An updated version of my EU economy study companion is being researched and written at the moment - but in case this might be useful as a revision resource, here is a stream version of the January 2012 document.

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Unit 4 Macro: Research on the Economics of Migration

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The annual NORFACE migration conference at University College London this week has generated plenty of new research papers on the economics of international migration, a topic that of growing significance for students of globalisation, competitiveness, innovation and growth. Some of the key findings are summarised below together with external links to relevant articles and news reports

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OCR F585 June 2013 - Contextual Knowledge Reading Links

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Here are some links to relevant articles and research sources for June 2013 OCR F585 pre-release case study. Our own toolkit is now available - click here for details

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OCR A2 Economics F585 The Global Economy June 2013 - Pre-Release Toolkit

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Geoff and the team are hard at work preparing their comprehensive support pack for teachers and students preparing for OCR A2 Unit F585 on the Global Economy.  

We're hoping to have the F585 Toolkit ready to despatch by Wednesday 27 March and we'll email it out to colleagues who request it over Easter if they have already broken up for the holiday.

The OCR F585 Toolkit can be ordered directly online here or by downloading and completing this printable order form.

The Toolkit provides unrivalled analysis and evaluation of each of the 5 F585 research extracts: namely

Extract 1: The birth and growth of the eurozone

Extract 2: New EU member states and the euro

Extract 3: Estonia’s economic growth and development

Extract 4: The approach to sustainable development in the EU and Estonia

Extract 5: Estonia’s progress towards sustainable development

Unit 4 Macro: Britain’s Future in the European Union

Thursday, December 27, 2012

There has been plenty of discussion in recent weeks about whether Britain might seriously start to consider leaving the European Union? Here is a selection of news pieces and discussion videos on the vexed question of UK membership.

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Unit 4 Macro: Enlarging the EU

Friday, March 09, 2012

Here are some links to video resources on prospects for further enlargement of the European Union single market.

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AQA A2 Economics - European Context

Monday, May 23, 2011

Each of the AQA a2 economics papers contains data response questions where understanding and awareness of the context of the economics of the European Union comes into play. We have a EU Economy in Focus study companion which is published in updated form each year. Details are available here. One area for revision focuses on the analysis diagrams that might be used to support your answers to EU context questions, I have put together a listing of topic areas where a diagrammatic approach might pay dividends - it is not exhaustive of course, merely some suggestions that might be useful. It appears below:

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A2 Macro: Chinese investment in the EU

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

There is much focus on Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa and Latin America - China is also making huge investments in Australia as my friend Mark Johnston writes about in this blog. Here Euro News looks at investment in the European Union by Chinese owned businesses. New motorways in Poland ahead of the 2012 European Football Championships, co-financed by the EU, are being built by Chinese companies. The Chinese are also buying up public debt, in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

EU Enlargement - Evaluating the Impact

Saturday, April 30, 2011

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

PDF Handout of the presentation

Related news issues
Germany expects influx of Polish workers (BBC news, April 2011)

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The economic & social benefits of migration

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My own students know that I am strongly in favour of open migration and oppose the government’s attempts to impose artificial caps on economic migrants from outside of the EU. A hat tip to Philippe Legrain for spotting this article from today’s Guardian which is heavily tilted towards the longer-term economic and social benefits of migrants for the UK economy. So David Cameron wants to talk about immigration? Bring it on As a partial counter-balance perhaps I should link you towards a piece in the Daily Mail by Andrew Green: Why is the BBC STILL so hideously biased on immigration?  I have also linked below to some of our recent blogs on the migration issue. And here is a link to a presentation on the enlargement of the EU that I gave in London back in February 2011.

Focus on Poland

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Poland is the largest of the central and eastern european countries (CEECs) to have entered the European Union Single Market in the recent enlargement process. And her macroeconomic record during and after the global financial crisis stands comparison as one of the best of the twenty seven EU member nations. Recession has been avoided and the economy is set to continue a long run of economic growth that is (slowly) bringing about a rise in relative living standards and a sustained fall in unemployment. The Guardian newspaper has been running a series on New Europe and this set of articles focuses on some of the challenges and opportunities facing Poland as Europe seeks to drag itself into a durable recovery phase.

Guardian - New Europe - Focus on Poland

Larry Elliott: Poland’s past and future mix in Gdansk, the start of the road to the 21st century

OECD Report on the Polish economy


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EU Economics - Video Resources for Teaching

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I will keep this blog updated with a selection of video clips relevant to the study of the EU - please check below for some links and embedded videos

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EU Economics: Guardian “New Europe” Interactive Data

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Guardian has a new series of reports, picture galleries and other resources on New Europe - much here of interest and value for students and teachers who want to broaden their understanding of what is happening within the European Union. Here is the link And you can follow their updates on Twitter.

5 Fresh Links: Videos to attract FDI

Friday, February 04, 2011

I am teaching European and Global context for A2 macro this term and one of the key topics is the economics of EU enlargement. The opportunities to attract inflows of direct investment is one of the major attractions for new EU countries as they enter the single market. Here is a selection of videos promoting FDI into a selection of European nations.

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Links to articles on the EU Economy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I have put together a listing of suggested reading / articles on different aspects of the economics of the EU. This is available for download below as a pdf file.

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EU Economics: EU Economy in Charts Jan 2011

Here is an updated twenty five slide streamed presentation on macroeconomic developments in the 27 countries of the EU with a particular focus on the Euro Area and UK/EU comparisons.

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EU Economics: Estonia joins the Euro

Monday, December 27, 2010

The New Year sees the seventeenth country join the Euro with the arrival of Estonia into the single currency bloc. Read Estonians prepare to join the euro and ditch the kroon The Baltic State with just 1.3 million inhabitants experienced and then suffered an unsustainable inflationary boom in the years immediately after entering the EU in 2004 and that boom came to a spectacular end in 2008.

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A2 Economics Revision - Microeconomics of Labour Migration

Saturday, May 22, 2010

1) Explain the circumstances in which an economy may see a rise in net inward migration of labour (15 marks)
2) Evaluate the view that free movement of labour within the European Union improves the efficiency of British businesses (25 marks)

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EU Economics Common Terms and Acronyms

A selection of key terms and acronyms that students may find useful when studying the economics of the EU

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Foreign investment videos

Friday, April 02, 2010

Videos produced by governments seeking foreign direct investment can be a useful teaching aid when studying the drivers of FDI.

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Revision Download - European Economy 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Here is a free revision download for teachers and students who wish to update their understanding of key topics and issues in the European Union…

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Croatia and Iceland look to be in front line for EU entry

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Croatian fans will be crying into their beers tonight with the news that they have failed to qualify for South Africa 2010. But their politicians seem to be making decent progress along the road to joining the European family of nations. The latest report on the progress made by countries seeking membership of the European Union suggests that Iceland and Croatia will be next in line to enter the EU single market. There is a report here from the Financial Times. And this article from the BBC reports the EU Enlargement Commissioner as saying that Croatia should complete entry talks next year.

Here are some links to previous blogs on EU enlargement

How recession has affected migration

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The BBC has commissioned a special report on the impact that the global recession has had on flows of migrants workers in the world economy. Deteriorating employment prospects in many of the advanced rich economies has stemmed the inflow of migrants - Spain and the UK are two good examples here. But the ripple effects of the credit crunch have hit virtually every economy. Although much migration appears to be cyclical (and in many cases, seasonal in nature) many migrants have decided to stay put in their new country of residence in the hope of weathering the economic storm or because their chances of finding viable work in their home country have diminished too. One thing is sure, the scale of migrant remittances has fallen sharply and is likely to do so again in 2010 - remittances form a high percentage of GNP for many of the world’s poorest nations. This BBC report contains some very useful graphics that might be used to aid classroom discussion.

Economics Snapshot - EU Migrants in the UK Labour Market

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Migrants from EU Accession Countries


Average age 26.5
*1/3rd have been in higher education
*90% employment rate whilst in the UK
*Hourly wage of £6.80 compared to UK average of £11.90
*12% claimed benefits or tax credits
*6.5% lived in social housing

Source: Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at UCL

Iceland votes to join the EU

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rocked by a financial crisis which led to the collapse of its currency and banking system, Iceland’s parliament has voted narrowly in favour of seeking accession into the European Union. This process is likely to take around 18 months, the EU is keen to fast-track Iceland into the single market. One of the main stumbling blocks will be negotiations over fishing quota and catch rules for the EU fishing industry within Iceland’s territorial waters.  Fish and seafood accounted for 37% of Iceland’s exports in 2008. Will Icelandic accession be a great catch for the European Union?

Guardian: Will Iceland make it into the EU?

Europe Revision: Problems facing Eastern European Countries

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Revision notes on some of the economic challenges facing new member states of the EU

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Europe Revision: EU Enlargement

Revision notes on aspects of EU enlargement

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The EU - Positives from the Polish Perspective

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


BBC reporter Jonny Dymond is travelling through the European Union in advance of the elections next month gathering opinions and comment from people in different member states. Monday’s report from Poland makes interesting reading as it gives a positive view of the single market from the point of view of one of the newer member states, which could provide some useful points for evaluation in the AQA ECN4 paper.

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European Economy - Free Revision Update for 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here is a free revision update guide for students preparing for A2 Economics exams this summer….

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Zombie economies and threats to EU stability

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sean O’Grady writes about the financial fragility of the eastern European economy in his Independent column - I produced a short revision presentation this last week available here - and describes Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Latvia, Romania as zombie states “in the process of receiving IMF assistance to rescue their finances. More will surely follow.”

A key point to take away from the article is the varying extent to which countries inside the EU single market are dependent on trade as a source of income for their circular flow. O’Grady writes that

“The Germans are top among the older established large economies; 30 per cent of their income derives from exports. In Japan it is a surprisingly low 10 per cent: in the US and UK around 15 per cent. Now consider how much eastern Europe relies on exports. The Czechs’ reliance on exports – 80 per cent of GDP – makes most countries look isolationist. The Hungarians and Poles are also heavily reliant on trade. So the 13 per cent decline in world trade predicted by the OECD will have a potentially devastating impact on those already bruised economies.”

This makes it even more important for the EU authorities to be strong in preventing a descent into protectionism within Europe’s boundaries.

The FT today reports that the IMF is encouraging eastern European states to join the euro

Revision Presentation - Eastern European Economies

Friday, April 03, 2009

Here is the link to a revision presentation on some of the current macroeconomic challenges facing eastern European countries who have joined the EU single market over the last five years.

EU Revision: Challenges facing Eastern European Economies

The EU single market has enlarged on several occasions – the most recent being 2004 (ten new countries) and 2007 (two new countries). For many countries of ‘New Europe’ the accession into the EU has been an event of major economic and political importance.

Enlargement occurred during a period of strong economic growth (driven by fast-growing exports in an era of globalisation) and low inflation and interest rates. One can argue that this was an opportune time to widen the single market – macroeconomic conditions were favourable.

But progress made by new EU members has not been even – most have achieved a degree of income convergence and have managed to bring down unemployment levels. But there have also been underlying problems – notably property bubbles, rising inflation and the effects of depopulation as migrant workers from central and eastern European countries in particular moved west in search of work and higher incomes.

From late 2007 onwards the global credit crunch and ensuing international slowdown and recession has hit the EU hard. The Euro Area is export dependent (more so than the USA) and economic and financial difficulties have spread into many of the new member states.

This three page revision note is designed for students preparing for their EU paper this June.

Large and Small

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The economic landscape of the twenty seven member nations of the EU is very different. I find that students preparing for the AQA European economics paper often have little idea of the relative size of economy as measured by GDP. Five countries together account for 72% of EU27 GDP (Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain). Ireland - for nearly twenty years the Celtic Tiger but now in real macroeconomic distress - accounts for only 1.5% of EU GDP.

And if we add together the national income of

Czech Republic

We get a ‘combined economy’ which contributes 4.7% of EU national income ..... equivalent to a country the size of the Netherlands!

Presentation on EU Enlargement

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have updated my revision presentation on aspects of the economics of EU enlargement. This can be downloaded as a PowerPoint using the link below.


Investing in Poland

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Have you noticed on Sky News a new advert featuring regularly looking to attract inward investment into Poland? It is short (just 30 seconds) but puts across some of the potential benefits from relocating to central Europe - and I used it in one of my lessons today on EU enlargement - it is available here. This second advert reinforces the point - together they might be a useful starter video for a lesson on inward investment in ‘the heart of an enlarged EU”. The Invest in Poland agency is here.


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