This news video from the BBC focuses on a man who has been out of work for over two years in the seaside town of Weston-super-mare a town dominated by tourist businesses where employment is highly seasonal. It provides a strong short case study in the problems of people who have been out of paid employment for a long time. Watch the piece here
Channel 4 news have a special section on the unemployment crisis in the UK economy. Follow this link for fresh teaching and studying resources on unemployment. Follow this link for the Channel 4 News Jobs Reportread more...»
We were looking today in AS macro at the policy options being considered as part of a strategy to drive a stronger recovery in demand, output, jobs and investment in the UK economy.
I am trying to encourage my students to put things into context as soon as possible in their longer essay-style questions. Here are some thoughts on a question on policies designed to bolster growth:read more...»
Migration from one country to another has become an increasingly important feature of our globalizing world and it raises many important economic, social and political issues. About 200-million people — about 3% of the world’s population — now live in countries in which they were not born. In the United Kingdom in 2010, the number of international migrants as a percentage of the population rose above 10% for the first time after several years of high rates of net inward migrationread more...»
The rapid growth of the India economy has been helped by her economy enjoying a number of supply-side advantages. That said there remain structural supply-side weaknesses that will limit her continued competitiveness and development. This blog looks at the plusses and the minuses.read more...»
Britain is one of the world’s biggest exporters of creative products - from live TV shows and music to books, arts, architecture and films the economy has built up an enviable global reputation for excellence and a growing trade surplus to aid our balance of payments.
Computer games falls squarely into this category but, according to TIGA - the trade association representing the UK’s games industry - unless there is renewed government support, the future of this sector is at risk. TIGA claims that the British games industry is suffering a significant ‘brain drain’ as talented programmers and artists leave the country to work abroad.read more...»
This article could be useful as an illustration of the EU context in relation to employment in general, and flexible employment in particular. Attracting inward FDI is arguably a significant benefit of UK membership of the EU, and one of the advantages which the UK can offer compared to, say, France is relatively flexible employment laws.read more...»
This article on the appalling depth of workless households in Liverpool is a reminder of the multiple aspects of relative poverty and economic/social exclusion.
The causes of unemployment are complex - many are structural - but it is hard to draw much if any optimism from reading this article. By some estimates over one third of households in Liverpool have no one in work and second and third generation unemployment is not uncommon. This is a must article for students to read if they want a better awareness of the human cost of non-employment. Read: Below the breadline on Liverpool’s workless estatesread more...»
Here is a selection of short video clips that might be useful when teaching the economics of productivity as part of the AS macro course. I often start with the “Fast Hands” video clip (one minute only) because it raises all kinds of issues about division of labour and the quality of life of people who do these tasks. And the short 25 second clip on the world’s fastest hand is guaranteed to make a mark! If you have some other videos on productivity to share please leave a link in our comment slot at the bottom of the blog.
The Guardian business web site has this excellent photo stream on life inside the Nissan car factory. Follow them on Twitterread more...»
Here is a selection of short video clips that I use when teaching competitive advantage in markets and when introducing the factors that determine the competitiveness of UK producers in global markets. The focus here is on the UK economy but I will add some more videos to the blog as I work my way through this teaching topic.read more...»
From tsunamis to tornadoes, from droughts to floods, 2011 was a particularly nasty year for natural disasters in many parts of the world. These natural disasters inevitably have demand and supply side effects affecting not just those countries affected but ripple impact across regions and in the broader global economy.
The Al Jazeera news video report below provides a clear overview of some of the major natural climatic shocks of 2011 and could easily be used as an introductory resource to discuss what are some of the micro and macroeconomic effects in both the short and medium term.
* Effects on the stock of physical capital / infrastructure
* Impact on a country’s human capital
* Effects on commodity prices, export revenues
* Effects on agricultural output, profits, investment, productivity
* Ripple effects on manufacturing industries and energy supply/cost
* Impact on state tax revenues and the costs of re-building and providing emergency financial support
* Effect on the movement of population following extreme climatic events
* Natural disasters and changes in the distribution of income / risk of poverty
This Economist graphic (published in Jan 2012) looks at the human cost of natural disasters and claims that “the world has succeeded in making natural disasters less deadly.”read more...»
In A2 macroeconomics the underlying causes of economic growth and development and constraints on both of these are covered in more depth. One of the concepts students might be familiar with is that of human capital.
I have always summarised the idea of human capital as being a measure of the overall quality of the human input available to produce goods and services in an economy. The ONS have published a new study on the value of human capital in the UK and they draw on a definition given by the OECDread more...»
Here are links to two superb short reports on prospects for UK manufacturing as the British economy struggles to escape from recession and sluggish growth forecasts in 2011 and 2012. Both are from Channel 4 News that produced a special on the health of the manufacturing sector - excellent for evaluation and for some applied examples to build into essays. The links appear belowread more...»
The Coalition Government recently heralded a new scheme designed to address the structural problem of high youth unemployment in the UK economy. Under their “youth contract” plan, employers will be given “wage incentives” worth £2,275 to take on some 160,000 18-to-24-year-olds. But will it have much impact on the problem? The independent Office for Budgetary Responsibility says that the net effect on overall unemployment will be close to zero, because the subsidy incentive will lead to a switch in employment away from older workers.read more...»
I blogged last week about unemployment and made available some updated charts on unemployment for the UK and a range of other countries. Here are some short video news clips on aspects of unemployment that I have been using when teaching unemployment to AS and A2 groups. These clips provide a window on the human and social cost of high rates of unemployment and are especially useful in reinforcing the causes of unemployment and evaluation of policies likely to be most effective in bringing jobless rates down over time.read more...»
Regional unemployment is seen as a significant economic problem, but employers may be reluctant to relocate if the educational quality of the workforce is below par. The term NEET refers to young people Not in Education, Training and Employment, and it appears that there are significant pockets of NEETs across the mainland of Great Britain.read more...»
Capital investment spending can have a significant effect on both the demand and the supply-side of the economy. We were looking at this issue in class this afternoon and I used a small selection of video clips linking to investment projects across different countries. I have linked to them below:read more...»
A recent economic study1 found that bicycle ownership can boost household income in sub-Saharan Africa by 35%. I may be biased given my passion for cycling but I think there are indeed some very strong economic arguments for encouraging more bicycles both in the developing and the developed world.read more...»
This feature article from the BBC web site is essentially about the vital importance of high-knowledge industries in sustaining competitiveness and growth in a globalising world. Europe lags behind many emerging countries in terms of the resources devoted to science and technology, research and development and creative industries in particular.
But the article makes reference to the expansion of science cities - knowledge clusters that bring together higher education expertise and entrepreneurial zeal - their number continues to grow from California and Boston in the USA, Cambridge in the UK, Education City in Qatar, Science City in Zurich and Digital Media City in Seoul. All good examples to use of the commercial leverage from external economies of scale in high-tech industries.
I don’t think this dilemma is anything new, but Aviva’s Family Finance Report presents some up-to-date figures which show how difficult it can be for working parents to fund the cost of the childcare that makes it possible for them to take a job. Based on average pay rates, they estimate that a parent of two children working full time would only keep £120 a month of their pay after paying all the costs associated with work, including travel as well as childcare, while those who take a part-time job may actually be £98 a month worse off. The trade-off faced by working parents if they decide to swap the unpaid role of full-time childcare at home for paid work outside the home, which necessitates paying for some other form of childcare, has always been an issue, but the gap between the gain in pay and the loss in costs seems to be getting more difficult to manage.
The report also looks at costs for child-related expenses such as school trips, clothes and sporting activities which have risen by 6.9% over the past year. Compare this with the fall in family incomes estimated at 2% between May and August this year - and the strain on family budgets is very clear. This report goes on to give some more data about the burden of unsecured debt and the measures government is taking to try to make working a more affordable option for families, which will be useful when looking at government intervention to deal with the poverty trap and the distribution of income.
A hat tip to Patrick North from Crown Woods College for spotting this excellent article on growth and development strategies in Mozambique. The piece focuses on the efforts of Mozambique to increase participation in the banking system to boost savings, investment and ultimately growth and is a good illustration of the Harrod-Domar growth model.
Here is a super short transport cost benefit analysis example regarding plans to re-open a rail link between Oxford and Milton Keynes could generate millions of pounds for the economy. In total it would cost £178m and then £11.6m a year to run, but Oxford Economics says it would bring an economic benefit to the area which it estimates at £32m a year. This BBC news video would make for a good short introduction to the example, and here are some other links to coverage of the Oxford Economics research in the local papers.
Oxford Mail: Rail link could be worth £38m a year
Official web site East West Rail
I am cross-posting this from the Business Studies blog, so apologies to those who read both - but I think it is a good story for both subjects. I have changed a few of the terms and themes to cover the different emphasis for an economics student.
On the face of it, this is a good end-of-term case study which is bound to raise a smirk or a grimace from most students, but actually there is a wealth of good solid theory in it. In answer to the question “What to do with 12,000 tonnes of pig poo?” a farm in Gloucestershire has taken advantage of government grants to set up their own biogas generator, which enables them not only to provide their own power for the farm and farmhouse, but also to sell about 2.2 million kilowatts of electricity each year to the National Grid, and even better, to save money on fertiliser as the by-product has been broken down into a form that can be used on the fields. Even better, the process prevents huge amounts of methane from being released into the atmosphere - apparently each year it saves the equivalent of almost 9,000 return flights from London to New York. So lots of good positive externalities there.read more...»
Is this protectionist, or is it common sense? Today’s headlines are all about Ian Duncan Smith’s speech in which he urges British employers to give young unemployed workers in the UK a ‘level playing-field’ and a better chance of getting the jobs which are being created.read more...»
This is a fairly classic A2 macroeconomics question, and one that the European Automobile Manufacturers Association has been considering at their meeting in London last week. Their conclusion? That non-European governments should scale back assistance for their own automotive industries, but at the same time governments in Europe should support the industry’s efforts to cut car emissions.read more...»
Here is a streamed presentation of a revision talk on the economics of supply-side policies. The Unit 2 macro syllabus places a heavy emphasis on the supply-side as a driver of economic growth, improved trade balances as a better trade-off between unemployment and inflation. Make sure that you are secure on the main supply-side policy approaches and also the impact of such policies on LRAS. You ought to be aware too of some of the limitations of supply-side policies - and the importance of having a sufficiently high level of aggregate demand. I have linked below to some revision blogs on supply-side topics.read more...»
A brain drain is a term that describes the movement of highly skilled or professional people from their own country to another country where they can earn more money. It has been used to describe net outward migration of people from several European Union countries in recent times (notably Ireland, Greece and Spain) - another phrase for this is human capital flight.
A sizeable brain drain can bring economic costs and benefits for the sending nation. One disadvantage is that countries lose out on the benefits that might have accrued from the resources used in educating people who leave. Add to this the loss of tax revenue from those who choose to live and work overseas. A sizeable loss of skilled workers (many of whom may be younger and therefore more geographically mobile) could lead to labour shortages in the sender country, putting upward pressure on wages and labour costs.
Some of this income earned overseas returns to the sender country in the form of remittances (adding to GNP) and many skilled migrants often leave only for a year or two - the percentage of permanent migration inside the EU is relatively small.
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.
There has been much coverage in the last few days of the latest data on China’s population trends and in particular strong evidence about the ageing of her population. The demographic dividend of the fast population growth during the Mao era is well and truly over.
The annual growth of the Chinese population is falling away - the average annual growth was 0.57% over the last decade, down from 1.07% in 1990-2000. And when the age structure of the population is analysed, we find that the number of people over the age of 60 rose by about 48m, reaching 13.3 per cent of the population. China’s total population is now 1.339bn – up 5.84 per cent from the last decade. The number of old people in China has grown by more than the population of Spain over the last ten years and there is growing pressure for a reversal of the controversial one-child policy.read more...»
If you are nearing the end of an A2 microeconomics syllabus and looking for current resources to help with issues of distribution of income and discrimination, the BBC came up with a couple of helpful items yesterday.read more...»
The level of employment fluctuates over time as an economy progresses through the business cycle and because of structural changes in economic performance, labour market activity and the total population. Our Timetric chart tracks total employment and shows the extent to which jobs were lost during the recession and whether they are recovering sufficiently well as we head into the upturn.read more...»