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Key Data on the UK Economy

Friday, April 18, 2014

At this time of the year many students are wanting to get up to speed with some of the important data for the UK economy so that they can consider including it in some of their exam answers. Here is a one page revision handout on the UK drawing on a large number of indicators and (as far as possible) providing the data for 2013. Sources used include the IMF, OECD and UK Treasury.

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Nigeria becomes the biggest economy in Africa after GDP revisions

Measuring the size of an economy is difficult on so many levels. Of course, there’s always the GDP debate, which asks about the best way to measure economic and social progress. But even measuring GDP is a huge challenge. Nigeria has just experienced a vast 89% increase in GDP having ‘rebased’ its figures.

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Structural Change in Asian and Australasian Countries

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Using pubic data from the Asian Development Bank here are some illustrations of the structural changes in output that have occurred across a selection of countries in Far East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Consider the magnitude of the changes that have taken place over the last twenty years. Note for revision which countries appear at the top and the bottom of each individual chart and think about WHY they appear in that position.

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Inequality: The Gini Coefficient

The Gini coefficient is a commonly-used measure of income inequality that condenses the entire income distribution for a country into a single number between 0 and 1: the higher the number, the greater the degree of income inequality.

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Test your knowledge on AS Macro Diagrams (Day two)

Here is the second in our series of resources aimed to testing student knowledge of the key diagrams for their upcoming exams.  Today's files are related to AS Macro diagrams.

The two files are aimed at teachers or students in the run up to their exams and assume that they have been covered previously.

Click here to download a Powerpoint file to use in class as a scrolling test (with accompanying music).  The test lasts 4 minutes and then teachers can reveal the answers one at a time.

Click here to download a document file that tests the same diagrams but in a static document format for either teachers to use in class or for students revising for their exams.

This link takes you to yesterday's (Day one) blog for the AS micro equivalent.

Unit 2 Macro: The Changing Face of East London

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This Financial Times video report looks at the economic transformation of East London prompted in part by high levels of inward investment from the Far East. Consider the economic benefits of this investment but also the challenges of rejuvenating a part of London which for decades has lagged behind the rest of the capital in nearly every economic and social metric,

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Unit 2 Macro: AS Macro Revision Quiz 3

Friday, April 11, 2014

Here is the third of our series of AS macro quizzes - ten questions to check your understanding - good luck!

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Unit 2 Macro: AS Macro Revision Quiz 2

Here is the second of our general AS macro revision quizzes - ten questions for you to have a go at!

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Unit 2 Macro: AS Macro Revision Quiz 1

Here is the first of our general AS macro revision quizzes - ten questions for you to have a go at!

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Unit 2 Macro: Conditions for a Sustainable Recovery

Here is an extract from a recent speech by Charlie Bean at the Bank of England - the full speech can be found here: www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Docume...

For the economic recovery to be both sustained and sustainable we really want to see three things happen

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Unit 2 Macro: Effectiveness of Macro Policies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We have considered the three key areas of macroeconomic policy – monetary policy, fiscal policy and supply-side policies.

In the longest essay questions on data response papers examiners often ask students to consider how effective these are when they are used to manage the economy. How can we judge whether the performance of the economy is improving as a result of them? In this session we will remember how to assess macroeconomic performance, think about some of the issues with measuring growth, and focus on ways to evaluate the effectiveness of different policies

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Unit 2 Macro: Revision on Managing the Economy

One of the most significant roles of a modern government is to ensure that the economy performs to its full capacity. The government has to consider the performance indicators like inflation, unemployment and economic growth and devise policies to achieve their aims. In this session we will consider the options that fall into the fiscal and monetary policy

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Unit 2 Macro: Revision on Unemployment

Unemployment is one of the major macro-economic performance indicators. The more unemployed people in our economy the more we are producing below our potential, less income is earned (reducing saving, consumption and tax revenue) and there is a negative impact on the welfare of society.

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Unit 2 Macro: Economic Cycles and Objectives

In this session from our macro revision workshop, we are focus on the performance of the UK economy over recent years and see how economic growth appears to follow a cyclical pattern

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State of the UK Economy - Threats to Recovery

Falling unemployment, declining inflation and stronger growth – we are seeing a better picture for the UK in 2014? But can it last?

After several years of weak expansion, the UK economy is enjoying a relatively strong cyclical recovery. Can the UK continued to experience a recovery in output, jobs and investment? Will the recovery be balanced and sustainable? How resilient is the UK? What are some of the major threats to growth in 2014 and beyond? This revision presentation hopefully provides some context.

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The changing face of Government Spending - a teacher resource

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Here's a short but fun classroom starter to stimulate discussion about how the Government Spends its money.  

Based upon information from a BBC article showing how Government spending has changed since 1953, the resource asks students to separate 'blocks' representing the percentage of overall spending on each department (e.g. health, defense) into those that they think represent spending in 1953 and those that represent 2013.  Having separated the blocks, students must then re-arrange the blocks into perfect squares on the printable 'mats' provided as part of the resource.

As well as stimulating discussion about how the Government spends its money and changes in its priorities, it may provide a useful hook for getting your students to remember the proportion of spending the Government places on each of its department which they can use as evidence within their exam answers.

Click on this link to download the resource.

Click on this link to go to the original BBC article.

Unit 2 Macro: Supply Side Policies and Competitiveness

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A revision presentation used at the workshop in Dubai on aspects of supply-side competitiveness in the UK economy

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Unit 2 Macro: Fiscal Policy to improve Net Trade

Here is a good applied example of how fiscal policy can be used to help improve the UK's net trade position. Export finance is often a problem especially for small and medium sized businesses looking to expand beyond the domestic economy to new export markets. Improving the trade position is a key aspect of re-balancing the economy and make the recovery more sustainable.

Read: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-exp...

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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The Social Progress Index

Here's an interesting addition to the GDP debate, which has heated up a good deal over the last couple of years. Is GDP a reliable indicator of economic progress?  The Social Progress Index is another attempt at capturing more measures of development, so as to be a better guide to policy making.  It's what economist Diane Coyle calls a 'dashboard' approach to measurement.

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Unit 2 Macro: Falling Inflation in the UK Economy

Monday, March 31, 2014

The UK’s official inflation benchmark, the Consumer Prices Index, slid to 1.7 per cent in February – the lowest for more than four years. What are some of the main factors causing inflation to fall below target?

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Unit 2 Macro: Network Rail plans £38bn Investment Programme

A significant 5 year rail infrastructure investment plan adds weight to the belief that capital spending will be a major driver of the next phase of the UK economic recovery. Network Rail is state owned, a not-for-profit business whose commercial returns are reinvested into the rail network.

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Unit 2 Macro: The UK Current Account Deficit

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Britain’s current account deficit for 2013 as a whole (4.4% of GDP) was greater than in any other developed economy and the widening current account gap is raising fresh concerns about whether the UK's economic recovery is balanced and sustainable.

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Unit 2 Macro: London House Prices continue to Surge

Friday, March 28, 2014

There seems little that is stopping the surge in London house prices at the moment but do you think the rapid acceleration of prices is good for either London or the wider UK economy? 

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Scotland’s De-Globalised Economy

A century ago, Scotland probably had the most globalised economy in the world. Since then, especially since the 1960s, Scotland has de- industrialised, and because industry is so much more globalised than other sectors, the economy has also ‘de-globalised’.

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Unit 2 Macro: Growth is Not Enough

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In this new RSA Short, Kate Raworth makes a powerful argument to look beyond economic growth alone for a true measure of prosperity and progress. Read more about Kate Raworth's work and her idea of doughnut economics by clicking this link http://www.kateraworth.com and follow her on twitter @KateRaworth 

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Unit 2 Macro: Regional Multiplier Effects with Siemens Investment

Here is a good example of an inward investment project likely to create a strong multiplier effect for the economy of East Yorkshire. 

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F585 Pre-Release Resources (and F583, F582 & F581 too)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I thought it worthwhile sharing my resources which I have been collecting for students (and teachers alike). I have been promoting them on Twitter (@Economics_KSF) through scoop.it but for those of you not on there, the link for the scoop.it boards are here:

http://www.scoop.it/u/economics-kcsf

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Unit 2 Macro: CPI Basket is Updated (2014)

The basket of goods and services that makes up the products used when calculating changes in the cost of living is periodically updated to reflect shifting patterns of spending by UK households. 

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Geographical mobility of labour in the UK

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One type of market failure that contributes to inequality and unemployment is the geographical immobility of labour

If the labour market really ‘cleared’ effectively, wages would equalise across the economy. Workers would drift away from regions with low wages and/or high unemployment towards areas where wages were higher and labour was scarce. 

Instead, we see wide disparities in earnings and pockets of regional unemployment - at the same time as skills shortages and wage inflation elsewhere.

Why are people finding it hard to move across the UK in search of work?

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The Budget 2014 - Your Thursday morning teaching activity looking at the Budget announcement

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking for something to use as a talking point for today's (19 March 2014) Budget Announcement from George Osborne?  Click the link below to download a free resource from Tutor2u.

Using an updated version of our popular 'The Angry Economist' Powerpoint game, the resource lists 12 of the budget policies made and asks students to analyse and evaluate them by applying the policy to a randomly selected macro-economic objective (either low inflation, low unemployment, positive economic growth or a Current Account surplus).

Click on this link   to download the activity.  The link takes your to a Google Drive document - just download the file to your computer.  

Note:  The resource is editable - you can change the policies or details as you wish.

Macro: Unemployment Statistics - What Do They Really Show?

Showing critical awareness of economic statistics is an important skill for all economists.

A hat-tip to Fiona Quiddington for this article on youth unemployment from the Telegraph which analyses youth unemployment figures with a more critical eye.

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How Coal Shortages Might Impact Indian Growth

The development of India, or its non-development relative to China, is an interesting topic, and one that Bob Hindle has already been blogged about in relation to its tax system.

However, there are other aspects of the Indian economy that will also impede its ability to grow, notably its lack (or should that be 'lakh'?) of coal.

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Unit 2 Macro: Structural Decline in the UK Steel Industry

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If you are looking for a solid example of a manufacturing industry that experienced deep long term structural contraction then the UK steel sector is a good one to use.

Global steel output has more than doubled in the last four years but what remains of the UK steel industry is battling against rising costs and the challenge of meeting stringent climate change policies. The Financial Times visits Celsa's plant in Cardiff to find out if UK steelmakers still have a viable future. Can British producers take advantage of a rebound in steel output and profits if the European Union economy shows signs of a more durable and stronger recovery?

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Unit 2 Macro: Hurdle Rates and New Housebuilding

The government wants more new homes to be built, so too do hard-pressed home-buyers facing a continued problem of low property affordability. But cautious construction companies are reluctant to press ahead favouring share buy-backs (returning money to their shareholders) and only a limited expansion of new building.

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UK Economy: Mind the Gap - Skills Shortages

Monday, March 17, 2014

Are skills shortages holding back the economic recovery? The Financial Times is running a video series looking at the problems businesses are having in recruiting people with technical skills. The apprenticeship programme is expanding but will it be enough to meet the growing gap between demand for and supply of engineers and other specialist jobs in industries surrounding precision engineering, nuclear power and many others? 

According to an article in the Financial Times:

"Migrants are filling a fifth of jobs in industries such as oil and gas extraction, aerospace manufacturing and computer, electronic and optical engineering because of a lack of skilled British graduates."

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Unit 2 Macro: Has 5 Years of Low Interest Rates helped the UK Economy?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Year 12 economist Tim Rawlinson considers some of the macroeconomic effects of five years of ultra low policy interest rates set by the Bank of England.

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AS Macro Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops - Summer 2014

Our Economics team have been hard at work completing the all-new material for the AS Economics exam coaching & revision workshops this summer.  For the pre-easter venues we focus on AS Macroeconomics (see outline programme below). At the post-easter venues we incorporate core micro and macro topics into one day.

Students attending these workshops will also be given a copy of Geoff Riley's new AS Macroeconomics Revision Guide.

Some screenshots of the AS Macro workshop booklet are provided below.

How to book places (subject to availability)

Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or

Order online (including private individual students / groups), or

Download and submit the booking form

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Budget 2014 - A 15 Question Quiz

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The 2014 Budget will take place on Wednesday 19 March. Here is a general knowledge quiz on the Budget and the current state of the UK economy that you might want to take to test your understanding! Good luck! We will be covering the budget speech and the economic background to it extensively here on the Tutor2u blog.

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Unit 2 Macro: Ageing Infrastructure and Economic Growth

Here is a revealing quote from a special study published in March 2014

"Simply put, too much of the city’s essential infrastructure remains stuck in the 20th Century—a problem for a city positioning itself to compete with other global cities in today’s 21st Century economy."

Which city do you think this report was referring to?

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Fiscal drag and the 40% tax rate.

There is plenty of evidence for the assertion that increases in indirect tax have led to the burden of of those regressive 'stealth taxes' falling on lower income earners. However, Norman Lamont, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, was on Newsnight on Thursday night to discuss the direct tax effects of income tax He was arguing for the threshold at which the higher tax rate of 40% kicks in to be raised.

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Money Makes the World Go Round

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Money, so it is said, makes the world go around. And to some extent it does. But it's not one of the functions of money that I teach in my lessons. The nature of money is fascinating and there are plenty of books that look at the subject, not least Philip Coggan's "Paper Promises: Money. Debt and the New World Order" or Felix Martin's "Money: The Unauthorised Biography". If we start from the premise that money is "anything generally accepted in payment of a debt" then this leads us into interesting territory.

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Unit 2 Macro: UK R&D Spending Remains Low

For years the government has tried to lift research and development spending as a share of national income - but seemingly to no avail. The latest data finds that the UK is spending less on R&D than any other EU country. What might this mean for the supply-side competitiveness of the economy? 

The data finds that

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Quick Quiz on Developments in the UK Economy

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Test your UK economy awareness and general knowledge with this fifteen question quiz! Good luck! 

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Unit 2 Macro: Singapore listed as world’s most expensive city

Monday, March 10, 2014

Singapore is ranked as the most expensive city in the world to live in, according to new research on living costs published by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It is simply a coincidence that the Tutor2u team have been out in Singapore this week delivering their TBBLE, WOW Economics and Engaged Learner CPD events!

One of the main reasons for Singapore climbing to the summit is the staggering cost of owning a licence to use a vehicle. Purchasing a “Certificate of Entitlement” for a standard 1.6-litre engine can exceed 80,000 Singapore dollars ($63,300)! The strong currency is also an important factor together with prices for utilities.

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Life is better now – despite the crisis

Friday, March 07, 2014

Here’s a great topic for an economics debate. National income is still lower than before the financial crash. We have a ‘cost of living crisis’. Yet it’s possible to argue that life is better now than it was in 2005. How can that point be made without being laughed out of the room?

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Unit 2 Macro: 5 Years of Low Interest Rates

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I am setting my AS macro students an essay this week evaluating the economic effects of five years of ultra-low monetary policy interest rates. Tom White blogged about this a day or so ago (click here) linking to an excellent article in the Guardian. It is a great way for students to deepen and broaden their understanding and awareness of recent developments in the UK economy.

Teaching colleagues covering monetary policy might want to use the data charts on interest rates contained in the PowerPoint file shown below.

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5 years of low interest rates: an evaluation exercise

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

There’s been lots of media coverage of a recent anniversary: it was five years ago in March 2009 that the Bank of England took the dramatic step of cutting interest rates to their lowest level in more 300 years. And there they have stayed - with some predicting they will stay low for a while longer yet.

How about a quick bit of analysis (why the Bank took the move) and then some evaluation? I’m suggesting an evaluation based on a recent Guardian article. Has it been a good move? Well – it depends – on who you are, for a start.

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UK Economy: Mind the Gap: London v the Rest

Mind the Gap! Evan Davis has produced two superb programmes on the regional imbalances in the UK economy. In the first he focuses on the agglomeration / network economies of scale that help to explain the skew in business investment towards the capital. In the second he looks at which cities elsewhere in the UK might be drivers of renewed growth of incomes, investment and growth! Here are the links:

Mind The Gap Episode 1 - click here

Mind The Gap Episode 2 - click here

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AS Macro Quick Revision Guide (Spring 2014 Edition)

Monday, March 03, 2014

Our new 44-page, full-colour printed revision guide is designed to support students preparing for their AS Economics exams on macroeconomics. The guide provides comprehensive coverage of the core macroeconomic topics for AS Economics, grouping them into the following areas:

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