Economics CPD Courses in June 2014

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Is Wayne Rooney an expert in rational economic theory?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So, farewell then England! Yet another failure by our boys at the highest levels of the game. Despite their stupendous salaries, they seem once again to be unable to exhibit the necessary skills, a point which seems to exercise many fans of the game. Tens of thousands, if not millions, of words have been written about the purely footballing aspect already. But one topic which is hiding away under this torrent is the question of incentives.

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RES Essay Competition 2014: Form for submitting your essay

Here is the link to use when submitting your essay for the RES competition. All essays must be submitted online and the final deadline is midnight on Monday 30th June. http://tutor2u.wufoo.com/forms/res-young-economist...

The ‘Good Country Index’ adds to the economic progress debate

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am often writing blogs on the debate over the limitations of GDP as a measure of economic and social progress, most recently with coverage of the Social Progress Index. Here’s another approach, the Good Country Index. It's a deceptively simple concept, yet quite powerful.

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What Gangnam Style represents in opportunity cost terms

Here’s a light-hearted one! What could we have had instead of 2 billion views of Gangnam Style?The Economist ponders that question.

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Behavioural Economics: Paul Craven: The Magic of Behavioural Economics

Paul Craven provides some witty insights into the effectiveness of different behavioural nudges!

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What makes a good economist?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences and young economists were asked: "What makes a good economist?". Some of their answers have been compiled for this excellent short film produced by Econ Films

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LSE: The Amartya Sen Lecture 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Christine Lagarde is Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She was appointed in July 2011. This blog links to the 2014 Amartya Sen lecture given at the LSE in the summer of 2014 on the topic of empowerment and in particular how women can build capacity and capabilities in countries seeking durable development - see also this blog from Mrs Lagarde in September 2013: http://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2013/09/23/lagarde-w...

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Development Economics: Building Roads, An Economic Gain in Senegal

This new short video from the World bank looks at the economic benefits that flow from investment in an improved road network in Senegal

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Behavioural economics: Designing with people in behaviour change

Dr Dan Lockton looks at ways in which behaviour responds to cultural or contextual nudges

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Meet the Economist: Ha-Joon Chang

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ha Joon Chang is a South Korean economist whose writing has propelled him into a prominent position among contrarian economists working in our subject today. This blog will provide links to some of his work, articles, interviews and talks

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Development Economics: Indonesia Has Developed, But Not Everyone Feels It

Although Indonesia has experienced significant growth and development, not everyone has benefitted. This short video from the World Bank offers a personal story. Followed by up a July 2014 blog from BBC Global Business on the rise of the wealth elite in Indonesia.

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Undergraduate Taster Day at University of Leicester

Thursday, June 19, 2014

University of Leicester Economics Undergraduate Taster Day 

The University of Leicester are holding an Economics Undergraduate Taster Day on the 2nd July, with lectures including the Financial Crisis and Development Economics, as well as an international trading game and also includes general advice on applying for university plus a free BBQ!

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Paul Ormerod: Innovation, Job Losses and Living Standards

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Here is your starter for ten. What do the Uber app and David Ricardo have in common? Ricardo, I hear you ask. Scarcely known outside academic economics, he ranks equal with Adam Smith and Keynes as the greatest ever British economist. His classic Principles of Political Economy was published in 1816. He made millions of pounds on the stock market, at a time when a million was a vast amount of money.

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Inequality: a great induction topic for A2 economics

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The varied nature of Economics means there are so many (sometimes it can seem too many) themes to explore. And priorities change. Sometimes the main issue is production (making more stuff – and how the value of that is measured). Sometimes it’s exchange (looking at how markets work). Yet distribution (often overlooked, especially when economies are booming) seems the hottest topic at the moment. Inequality tops the bestseller lists.

Here are a few tips and links for using the topic as an intro to A2 economics, great for macro, with scope for analysis and evaluation of UK government policy and approaches to development economics.

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Development Data for Cambodia

Monday, June 16, 2014

Here is a selection of development data for Cambodia put into context with a selection of other Asian countries, drawing on published data from the Asian Development Bank. This blog will be added to shortly with summary notes on the economy and links to other useful resources

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EconoFun at the ETNC!

Come and meet Serena Patel who will be displaying her new economics board game EconoFun at the Economics Teacher National Conference on Monday 23rd June. 

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RES Essay: Does immigrant labour benefit or impoverish the United Kingdom?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Question six for the RES competition in 2014 is bound to produce a large number of answers. Labour migration is an important economic, social and political issue and many students will have clear views on the issue. So what will make an essay stand out from the crowd?

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ETNC - Monday 23rd June at the RBS London

We are just a week away from the annual Economics Teacher National Conference to be held this year at the stunning RBS Conference Auditorium in the heart of the City of London. For a place please contact Janet Cahill on 44 800 0085 or email her janet@tutor2u.net

Our keynote speakers are:

  • Ha-Joon Chang (Economics, a User’s Guide)
  • Gerard Lyons (The Consolations of Economics)
  • Richard Barwell (The European Union Economy)
  • Paul Craven (The Mind, Markets and Magic)

On the day we will have book and resources displays from a number of organisations including the IEA, London Publishing Partnership, Econ Films and Serena Patel who will be showcasing her superb new board game EconoFun. The delegate pack for the event will be packed full of teaching goodies including some resources from our WOW events.

Conference rates for delegates are great value and there are special deals including a fantastic rate for NQTs and PCGE students.

You can book provisional places for the Economics Teacher National Conference 2014 here.

You can also order places directly from our online store...

2014 World Cup Finalists - Human and Economic Development Indicators

Drawing on data from the 2013 Human Development Report, here are the 24 countries in the 2014 World Cup ranked according to the Human Development Scores

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RES Essay: Are the advanced economies in for a long period of economic stagnation?

Friday, June 13, 2014

This question gives students a superb opportunity to explore the debate surrounding economic growth in in the leading advanced nations of the global economy. It ties in well with research into the effects of globalisation and the legacy from the financial crisis. I have put together some reading and short video clips that might be relevant to the discussion:

Secular stagnation: (or .... growth pessimism!)

"Secular stagnation refers to the idea that the normal, self-restorative properties of the economy might not be sufficient to allow sustained full employment along with financial stability without extraordinary expansionary policies. The idea was put forth first by Alvin Hansen in the late 1930s." (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/20...

One common interpretation is that - if we are in an age of secular stagnation - and this is an idea that might just be wrong! Maintaining demand often requires extensive periods of ultra loose monetary policy which in turn can create fresh bubbles in property and equity markets.

Is the secular stagnation argument too pessimistic? Can advanced economies rev up the engine of growth once more perhaps by using structural reforms to boost their competitiveness and drive new investment?

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Transport Economics: pollution costs from different modes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

If you’re starting out in transport economics, a good place to begin is by evaluating different modes of transport. One area you’re sure to look at is pollution. Here’s a statement I sometimes use to start the conversation:

Rolls-Royce says the four engines on the A380 are as clean and efficient as any jet engine, and produce “as much power as 3,500 family cars”. A simple calculation shows that the equivalent of more than six cars is needed to fly each passenger.

Take the calculation further: flying a fully laden A380 is, in terms of energy, like a nine-mile queue of traffic on the road below. And that is just one aircraft. In 20 years, Airbus reckons, 1,500 such planes will be in the air. By then, the total number of airliners is expected to have doubled, to 22,000. And whereas cars are used roughly for about an hour or so a day, long-haul jet airliners are on the move for at least 10 hours a day.

I’ve started putting together some more links below:

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The Laffer Curve and UK Corporation Tax

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I was drawn to a Telegraph headline, Europe is jealous as Britain resurrects the Laffer Curve. According to the author, by next year Britain will have the equal lowest headline rate of corporation tax in the G20.

The Laffer Curve offers an intoxicating promise to politicians. It suggests that if the tax rate is too high (above t* in the diagram above) then a cut in tax rates will actually boost the amount of revenue raised!

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CMA ruling: Payday Lenders…

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​Disruptive technology: Uber

Technology always disrupts markets. It provides dynamic efficiency improvements, creates new markets, destroys old ones, and in some cases destroys monopolies and in others, creates new monopolies.

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Higher or Lower Game - World Cup addition

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You may have already seen my blog/tweet sharing the 'Higher or Lower' game.  Below you will find a brand new version of the game featuring the 32 countries taking part in the FiFA World Cup starting tomorrow.

The aim of the resource is to get a feel and understanding of some of the important statistics relating to the economic performance of the countries.  In this addition, students can attempt to work out whether the 'higher' or 'lower' statistic relates to predicted GDP growth, unemployment, inflation and Government debt alongside the country's FiFA world ranking.

Teams are presented with the name of a country and its statistic in their chosen category.  They are also presented with the name of a second country.  They must say whether the second country has a higher or lower statistic.  This is repeat a further three times allowing the team to score a maximum of 4 points per round.

Have some fun and get a feel for countries statistics at the same time!  Is there any correlation between economic and football performance?

Click here to download the file.

Note:  The economic statistics accredited to England are those of the entire UK.  Sorry, I was unable to find the statistics relating to just England!

Behavioural Economics - Suggestions for Wider Reading

Here are some suggestions for wider reading on aspects of behavioural economics. Many sixth form students like to explore behavioural economics once their main exams are done. Wouldn't it be great if behavioural insights and theories made it into the mainstream syllabus across different exam boards!

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Technology as a Disruptive Force

Monday, June 09, 2014

There are two fantastic articles today that look at the role of technology as a force for good, reducing barriers to entry, increasing economic efficiency and trampling over vested interests. But it is really that simple?

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Referencing your essays - the Harvard referencing system

Entries for the 2014 RES competition need to be properly referenced in order to stand a chance of reaching the highly commended / final shortlist

Referencing your assignments is an important skill to learn as you move from GCSE through to AS/A2 and then onto higher education.

Here are some excellent short videos on referencing produced by the University of Worcester featuring Mike Webb

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A2 Econ Revision Webinar - Global Economy 2014 (June 2014)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Here is the recording of Geoff's webinar for A2 Econ students which focused on key aspects of the international & global economy, including a focus towards the end on development economics.

The slides used during the webinar can be downloaded from here.

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A2 Econ Revision Webinar - UK Economy 2014 (June 2014)

Here is the recording of Geoff's webinar from 8 June 2014 to support students preparing for their A2 macro exams.

The slides accompanying the webinar can be downloaded here

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Unit 3 Micro: Should Tesco be broken up?

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The supermarket giant Tesco is under increasing pressure! Tesco is Britain’s biggest retailer (it has 29% of the UK groceries market) and the biggest private-sector employer, and it runs about 7,000 stores worldwide. But it is facing significant commercial challenges from discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl and seems to be squeezed in the middle as other shoppers look for the value proposition in stores such as Waitrose. Their recent trading figures made for sorry reading. For the three months to 24 May 2014, Tesco said like-for-like UK sales including VAT and excluding petrol fell 3.7%.

Is there a case for breaking up Tesco and getting the business to re-focus on what it does best? Two journalists from the Financial Times argue it out in the video below:

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RES Essay: Should childcare costs be deductible against tax for working mothers?

This is the second essay of six available for students researching an entry for the 2014 RES competition. There has been some discussion about the choice of phrase "working mothers" in the question. We will expect to see some students challenge this in their answer to broaden the discussion to "working parents" but any approach is fine as long as the economics is interesting, relevant, evidence-based and has a strong narrative running through it!

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The IMF on UK recovery, mortgage risks and the supply side

Students preparing for unit 4 on Tuesday might spend half an hour or so analysing this report of the IMF’s update on the UK economy. Here are some key points worth noting:

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ECB sets negative interest rates - what does this mean?

Friday, June 06, 2014

The European Central Bank implemented a negative interest rate policy yesterday. Whilst we have become very accustomed to a low base rate in the UK, the ECB policy seems extraordinary.

The policy has come about due to a continued concern over the economic situation in the Eurozone.  Growth remains weak, unemployment is high and inflation sits below the target of 2% in many of the 18 countries.  The ECB is unlikely to follow the UK (and others) strategy of quantitative easing and so is left with fewer choices.

By setting a negative interest rate, the ECB wants to discourage banks from keeping larger reserves and promote a greater level of lending (and thus stimulate economic growth).

If you want to download a short Powerpoint slideshow that explains the policy and its possible consequences then click on this link.

Economics at University - Suggested Reading List

Several new books have found their way into my new reading list for the summer - here are the recommendations

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The Value of Drugs and Prostitution

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just increased the size of the British economy by nearly £10 billion, a figure equivalent to around 0.7 per cent of the economy as a whole. George Osborn has not waved a magic wand. We have not suddenly become more productive. The reason is that, for the first time, estimates of the value added by drugs and prostitution have been included. These activities are included in an economic sector called ‘miscellaneous goods and services’, which, as an indicator of its diversity, already contains things like life assurance and post office charges.

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Population change and impacts on the economy

You’ll often hear it said that Britain, or the world, is ‘overpopulated’, but that’s a very hard concept to pin down. Hostility to migrants into the UK is high, yet economists often argue we need more immigrants.

One Labour MP, Stella Creasy, has stirred controversy by saying “talk to Nigel Farage not just about the immigrants who come here and create jobs, but the immigrants who come here and create skills and create opportunities for people and create new ideas for people. There are now more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16 in Britain. So unless women like me have a lot of children very quickly our ability to sustain our economy (and) to sustain our public services will come under threat”.

So do extra people add to the economy or subtract from it? I’ve put together a few links and ideas.

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RES Competition: Growth, Poverty and The Environment

The first title in the list of six available to RES entrants is a challenging one! 

Promoting growth and fighting poverty should be the priority in the developing world, not reducing greenhouse gases.” Do you agree?

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Impact of a rising £

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Last autumn all the talk was of the impact of a plunging sterling exchange rate and the UK’s struggle to find new export markets. According to most observers it was time to ‘rebalance’ the economy towards a more export-lead model of growth. George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, talked of “a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers”. 

The plan was for a revival in manufacturing and exports, driven, at least in part, by a weaker pound. Sterling had fallen by 30% during the financial crisis, but since early 2013 the pound has climbed back, appreciating by 10% in trade-weighted terms.

What impact might this have?

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The use of cash may be falling again

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

New economics students might be starting to think about money. One form of money – cash – was in decline for some time through the 1970s, 80s until the mid 1990s.  Then it staged a bit of a revival, with the amount of currency in circulation rising from around 3% of GDP in 1995 to nearer 4% now.

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Utility Industries and Regulatory Capture

Monday, June 02, 2014

So topical, and allows analysis of the kinked demand curve being unkinked, and collusion. Dare I say it, all neatly explained and predicted by Prof. Galbraith.

Final Push - A2 Business Economics Revision

With only 2 days remaining until the A2 Business Economics exams, students must make use of all avenues of revision available to them. This A2 Business Economics revision playlist covers the major topics within the syllabus which students will find a quick and useful tool to consolidate revision. The link to the entire playlist can be found here

OCR F585 Toolkit Available - June 2014

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Here are some selected streamed excerpts from the OCR F585 revision toolkit for the June 2014 paper:

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Using the price mechanism to boost allocative efficiency: ‘Smart’ electricity meters

The price mechanism should help the economy to allocate resources more efficiently. Scarcity drives up prices, sending a signal to the economy – giving firms an incentive to produce more, and households the motivation to ration their consumption.

Could ‘smart’ electricity meters, linked to dynamic electricity prices, achieve something similar?

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Transport Economics: The Return of Trams - Benefits and Costs

Trams have been experiencing a revival in a number of towns and cities in the past few decades. Edinburgh is the latest city to invest in trams, and hopes they will boost local economy. But do the benefits outweigh costs? Manchester, Sheffield, Blackpool, Nottingham, Newcastle and Croydon have all installed trams / light rail and others are considering investment. 

The Edinburgh trams at running (at last) but the jury will remain out for a long time about their net impact on economic activity, traffic congestion and the broader health of Edinburgh and the local environs.

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Unit 4 Macro: Growth, Trade and Development in Sub Saharan Africa

This blog entry will feature frequently updated revision resources on economic growth trade and development aspects for a range of sub Saharan African countries

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F585: Latvia and Iceland Compared and Contrasted

Latvia and Iceland figure prominently in the pre-release material for the F585 June 2014 paper. Both have chosen different approaches to addressing their internal and external imbalances. Latvia is now a member of the Euro Zone. Iceland has suspended her application to join the European Single Market and continues to operate with a floating currency + some residual capital controls.

These charts below track their recent economic performance focusing specifically on government debt, economic growth, unemployment, inflation and trade balances. Which country has achieved the best overall macroeconomic performance in the last few years? Which important bits of contextual information can you jot down to use - along with the pre-release material - for the exam?

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The New Industrial State

Saturday, May 31, 2014

With AQA Unit 3 coming up, this wonderful work by JK Galbraith is worth a look. The power of MNC'S , the loss of consumer sovereignty, and manipulation of the market by powerful firms, all discussed with humour and insight.

Unit 2 Macro: Sex and Drugs included in Measured UK GDP

The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, included estimates of the impact of prostitution and illegal drugs in the national accounts. By the ONS’ reckoning they add about £10bn to the British economy. The assumptions used in making the calculations have been the subject of some criticism. I have summarised below the assumptions behind the estimated spending / income and output effects of including prostitution:

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Unit 2 Macro: Fears for Portugal’s ‘lost’ generation

High rates of long term youth unemployment will have hugely significant economic and social costs - this short news report from Al Jazeerah news looks at the issue of youth unemployment in Portugal

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