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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.read more...»
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.read more...»
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.read more...»
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.read more...»
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 hereread more...»
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 marketread more...»
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.
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.pdfread more...»
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.read more...»
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 reportsread more...»
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 detailsread more...»
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 5: Estonia’s progress towards sustainable development
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.read more...»
Here are some links to video resources on prospects for further enlargement of the European Union single market.read more...»
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:read more...»
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.
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)
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.
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
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 videosread more...»
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.
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.read more...»
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.read more...»
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.read more...»
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.
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)
A selection of key terms and acronyms that students may find useful when studying the economics of the EUread more...»
Videos produced by governments seeking foreign direct investment can be a useful teaching aid when studying the drivers of FDI.read more...»
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…read more...»
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
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.
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
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?
Revision notes on some of the economic challenges facing new member states of the EUread more...»
Revision notes on aspects of EU enlargementread more...»
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.read more...»
Here is a free revision update guide for students preparing for A2 Economics exams this summer….read more...»
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
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.
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.
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
We get a ‘combined economy’ which contributes 4.7% of EU national income ..... equivalent to a country the size of the Netherlands!
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.
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.
The BBC website has updated developments in restrictions introduced by national governments for the movements of workers within the European Union. The free movement of labour is one of the key foundations of the single market but in the wake of EU enlargement, many governments have introduced limits often in the form of quotas - funny how these ‘temporary’ controls often become semi-permanent! And any form of restriction creates an incentive to by-pass the control. There is more detailed background information available from the EurActive website.
Strong backing for a further widening of the boundaries of the EU single market is reported in the Sunday Telegraph. Students preparing for the forthcoming AQA Unit 4 paper on the Economics of the EU will find this relevant - both for the content and also for the distinctive views of different stakeholders in the EU expansion debate. Identifying value judgements in extracts is one of the key skills of the exam.read more...»
Slovakia today made a formal application to join the single European currency and bid to become the fourth of Europe’s new member states to progress to the next stage of economic integration by locking themselves into the Euro. A verdict on entry is likely to come as early as May 7th when the EU commission publishes new economic forecasts which will include data on the key convergence criteria for wannabee euro zone members. If all goes well, Slovakia will enter the single currency system on 1st January 2009.read more...»
Migrant flows starting to reverse
There are signs that the huge inflow of migrant workers predominantly from eastern european countries which has boosted the effective UK labour supply in recent years is starting to go into reverse.read more...»