employer's point of view, a zero hours contract is a great example of the
benefits of the flexible labour market. They allow the employer to change the
number of hours an employee works each week, with more shifts offered when they
are busy, and fewer when they are not; costs can therefore be controlled and
matched more exactly to revenue. Neil Carberry at the CBI says that they have
helped to save jobs during the recession and stagnant growth: "It's zero
hours contracts and other forms of flexible working that mean there are half a
million fewer unemployed people than there might otherwise have been." Now
figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)
show the number of 16 to 24-year-olds on zero hours contracts has more than
doubled since the start of the economic downturn, rising from 35,000 in 2008 to
76,000 in 2012. This means that one in every three people on a zero-hours
contract is under 25 (- although that proportion doesn't look as if it has
changed very dramatically throughout the period shown). If this is good for the employer, how is it for the
Those of you who are about to take your Econ 3 exam (or whose students are getting ready for the final push), might find this story about sexism in TV an interesting example of inequality in the labour market. A report out yesterday and being pursued by Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman suggests that a lowly 18% of UK TV presenters over the age of 50 are women. Some channels are worse than others.
The story is also a good example of how current government intervention in this labour market is having little effect. Anti-ageist and sexist laws exist and yet there appears a very real 'glass-ceiling' when it comes to women over the age of 50 wishing to work on TV. If legislation is ineffective what other policies could students suggest might improve the situation? A quota system? Fines? Here is a real chance to offer critical and evaluative analysis on government intervention.
Follow this link to read a report.
According to the Scottish National Party, after the referendum on independence next year, Scotland will be a land of milk and honey. The highest per capita levels of public expenditure in the UK can easily be sustained. The whole of the revenue from North Sea oil and gas will belong to Scotland, regardless of the wishes of England and the Shetland Isles. Scotland can remain within the EU, despite clear statements from Brussels that it would have to reapply for membership, and the near certain Spanish veto this would attract.
UPDATE: Please note that the submission deadline for the 2013 Essay Competition is now midnight on Sunday 30 June 2013. The deadline has been extended to allow A2 Economics students more time to complete their entries after the final A2 examinations.
tutor2u and the Royal Economic Society are delighted to announce details of the 2013 essay competition for sixth form students.
Now in it's sixth year, the essay competition provides a wonderful opportunity for students to engage in independent research and deepen their awareness and understanding of how economic ideas and issues can be applied when addressing contemporary policy problems. For 2013 the Judges have selected six essay titles (shown below).
The final deadline for entries has been moved towards the end of June 2013. This follows requests from many schools and colleges to use the RES competition as a post AS level enrichment activity especially for those students keen on applying to read Economics and related courses at university. The competition is open to all students who are currently studying AS / A2 Level or IB Economics (or an equivalent course).read more...»
View and/or download our key terms glossary for AS Economics units focusing on the national and international economy.read more...»
Firstly, I hope the first AS exam went well, whether that was macro (OCR), micro, and whether for the first time or a retake. I also hope that in amongst the revision you’re in the market for a more random blogpost…
This one’s a topic on which Paul Ormerod would have something to say. On NPR’s Planet Money radio show/podcast, they’re launching a T-shirt, and using this as a stimulus for a whole set of reporting on its genesis, from cotton subsidies to its design. The latest podcast investigated the colour of their T-shirts. “What’s the economics in that?”, I hear you cry…
The UK's membership of the EU is among the hottest of topics at the moment. With the UKIP party doing so well in recent elections and various senior political figures starting to show their real views on UK membership of the EU club even Barrack Obama was giving his opinions yesterday. This doesn't mean that the topic is any more likely to turn up on macro-economic exam papers over the next few weeks at AS and A2 (the OCR AS paper has already been and gone! Hope it went well) - the papers will have been written before the more recent votes.
However, the economic question about the UK's membership has been an important topic for quite a while and so it is worth having a look again just in case it rears its multi-lingual head. Added to that, students of economics will be in an ideal situation over the next few years to be able to make an informed decision in any referendum, based upon having some of the facts and figures and having developed their outstanding evaluative skills on the matter!
With this in mind, follow this link to find a short (10 minute) teaching resource that asks that very simple question - What are the economic arguments for and against remaining in the European Union? The Powerpoint file has a 4 minute timer to give students the chance to think about the answer and then a nice little graphic illustrating some possible answers that they could use in an exam. The BBC have also produced a succinct balanced webpage on a similar question.
In the wake of the terrible disaster in which the collapse of a factory building caused more than a thousand deaths, the Founder of the Grameen Bank Mohammad Yunus argues here the case for an international minimum wage in the garment industry and a small price premium to establish a Garment Workers Welfare Trust in Bangladesh.
"I propose that foreign buyers jointly fix a minimum international wage for the industry. This might be about 50 cents an hour, twice the level typically found in Bangladesh. This minimum wage would be an integral part of reforming the industry, which would help to prevent future tragedies. We have to make international companies understand that while the workers are physically in Bangladesh, they are contributing their labour to the businesses: they are stakeholders. Physical separation should not be grounds to ignore the wellbeing of this labour."
There is of micro and macroeconomics in this piece not least the question of price sensitivity of consumers in rich nations.
This is a cross posting from the Business Studies Blog
It is now six years since the global financial crisis triggered a prolonged downturn in economic activity. The UK economy, like other developed economies, has struggled to escape from a period of stagnant economic growth.
However, despite the weak economy, many UK firms have succeeded in significantly growing their revenues and profits.
Here are three examples of such businesses. Their strategies for success are different – but there are also some similarities.
Can you compare and contrast these three – and also identify some other businesses that have enjoyed similar success despite the tough economic environment?
You might also consider:
- What factors have driven revenue growth at each of the three businesses?
- Has their growth strategy been one or organic or external development?
- To what extent has their growth been driven by international expansion?
- Do you think their recent success can be sustained?
- What factors might that continued success depend on?
For many years Professor Andrew Oswald has researched the links between home ownership levels and labour market performance. This new paper with Professor David Blanchflower takes the debate forward - they argue that rising home ownership can bring about negative externalities for the rest of the economy, damaging labour mobility and curtailing new business start-ups. It is an argument worth looking at when we discover some of the structural causes of joblessness. Read the article here
See also: It's not the deficit that will haunt our children: it's unemployment (Heather Stewart, The Observer, May 2013)
See also: Forget inflation – what hurts the most is unemployment (David Blanchflower, Independent, April 2013)
Following the theme in Jonny Clarke's blog Does it matter if we are in a recession, there was some positive news of hopeful signs in some sectors of the economy in this week's Deloitte Monday Briefing. Ian Stewart, Chief Economist at Deloitte, reported on the unbalanced picture across the economy. On one hand there is 'extreme' weakness in the high-productivity sectors of North Sea oil and financial services, where output has fallen by an average of 5.4% a year. These two key sectors represent about 14% of the economy and so their weakness has a significant effect on GDP - if they are stripped out of GDP figures, the rest of the economy would have grown by approximately 2% a year in the meantime, a figure which is close to the long-run trend.
Apparently this is how George Osborne ended his tweet last night, announcing that the next Star Wars film is to be made in the UK - how nice to have some good news for a change! It looks like a great example of supply-side fiscal policy being effective. As long as at least 25% of the total production expenditure takes place in the UK, the film will benefit from tax relief, up to a maximum of 80% of the total budget for production costs in the UK. This seems to be acting as a powerful incentive: hundreds of films have been made here in the last few years and benefited not only from the tax relief but also from the comparative advantage which the UK is establishing in the creative industries with major film studios such as Pinewood, Leavesden and Ealing. How much is this worth to the UK economy?
Here is a link to a downloadable revision handout on key UK economic data designed for AS and A2 macro papers this summer. I hope it might be useful for some students and teachers.read more...»
The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh @lindayueh has new page on developments in global economy http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/lindayueh/ - definitely one for students and teachers to follow. The opening article focuses on a concept that we have been pushing in our own macro coverage in recent times, namely the emergence of a multi-polar world economy with growth coming from a bigger number of countries / regions and less dependent on the advanced western economies. Read the article here
Those of you who avidly follow Geoff Riley's blogs on this website may have read that he advises students to avoid getting too worked up about whether the economy is actually in recession.
Most economic students will readily tell you the official definition of a recession and can analyse the impact of an under-performing economy. However, it was interesting to read today that, having officially avoided a triple-dip recession last month we may have to revise whether we actually sank in to a double-dip recession in the first place. Follow this link to read the Telegraph's report on how the ONS are revising recent statistics on the economy's performance, suggesting that the shrink in the construction industry shrank by 5.0% (not 5.4% as originally reported) in the first three months of 2012 and, as a consequence, the UK did not slip into another recession.
As Geoff would tell you, whether the country was in a recession or not is the not the most important factor - the economy's sluggish growth should be the paramount concern and the word 'recession' has become more of a political tool. In the upcoming exams, students should remember that the avoidance of a double-dip or triple-dip is fairly irrelevant - the overall performance is the key indicator and there is still plenty to be worried about.
Here are some streamed revision presentations for unit 1 microeconomicsread more...»
A useful infographic from CNN below showing the difference in cost of making a shirt in Bangladesh as opposed to the US. Not a great deal of difference until you compare wage costs - clearly Bangladesh has a huge cost advantage when it comes to labour!
Monday 24 June 2013: Henry Wellcome Auditorium, Euston Road, Central London
The speaker programme for the Economics Teacher National Conference 2013 is now available - and what a day it promises to be! We've put together what we hope you'll agree is a wonderful programme combined with a simply unbeatable delegate rate!
Let's face it - there has never been a better time to be an economics teacher and our subject continues to thrive and grow. The Economics Teacher National Conference 2013 comes at the end of another challenging school year - the idea way for colleagues to step away from exams and focus on the subject alone.
We've decided on a change of venue for 2013 - just over the other side of the Euston Road at the stunning Henry Wellcome Auditorium. This is a slightly smaller venue than the British Library, but one that is also steeped in history. The capacity is just 150 seats, so please book as soon as possible for you and your departmental colleagues in order to secure some of the remaining places.
The delegate rates for the day, which include lunch, refreshments and some other goodies (!) are:
Single delegate - £150 (+VAT)
Departmental Deal - £100 each (+VAT) for two or more colleagues from the same school or college.
[note: you individuals can also obtain the departmental deal if they also come to the Business Teacher National Conference on the following day!)
In 2012 160 Economics Teachers joined us for the conference - you can read a report on the day here.read more...»
This week, I’ve been revising exchange rate policies with my Year 13 Economics class. This is a hot topic in Thailand as the Baht recently hit a 17 year high against the dollar.
Many thanks to our friends in the Economics dept at Peter Symonds College for alerting us to this excellent teaching opportunity. Don't forget to mention that you saw it here on the tutor2u Economics Blog!read more...»
An overnight flight to Hong Kong afforded me the luxury of reading the FT from cover to cover instead of the standard daily flick through ahead of a day of lessons. Here are some stories that caught my eye linked to relevant business/market/economic issues of the day! I have linked to some non-FT sources because of their pay-wall.read more...»
Redsands CBA is a substantial teaching resource which allows students to examine and then present back the costs and benefits of various possible projects that could be implemented within a derelict part of a city centre.
This resource is designed to enable students to understand and analyse the concept of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) at both AS and A2 level of Economics.read more...»
The Curse of Opportunity Island is a team-based PowerPoint game where students compete to take resources from a fictitious island. As they do so, they learn about the issue of efficient use of scarce resources.
Opportunity Island is designed to be used early in the curriculum, assuming that the teacher has covered the concepts of the Basic Economic problem, scarcity and opportunity cost.
Here's a very simple, but totally unsubtle reminder for your students on the upcoming dates and times of the AS and A level exams in Economics for the AQA, Edexcel and OCR awarding bodies.
Follow this link to download the 'Exam Countdown' file. There you will find a small and easy to use Powerpoint file called 'Exam Countdown'.
Follow this link for a quick tutorial on how to use the resource.
Open and run the slideshow (ensuring that you have 'enabled macros'). The screen will change to a setup slide after a couple of seconds. Click on the exam that you wish to remind your student about and the countdown timer will start. The timer shows how many days, hours, minutes and seconds remain before their exam starts. There's nothing like instilling a sense of urgency!
Please note this file is fully functional. If you would like an editable version (where you can edit the times, dates and 'event') you will find one as part of the 'Super Teacher Utility Belt' resource available from our PowerPoint games-based learning site.
An updated version of my Economics / UCAS Guideread more...»
From 8pm - 9pm tomorrow I will be on Twitter sifting through questions focusing specifically on unit 1 micro (markets and market failure). Either send a tweet to @tutor2u_econ or use the hash tag #econ1 in your tweet
Back by popular demand! Thursday 20 June 2013 - Central London
Economics is a booming subject at A Level. As a result, many teaching colleagues are either new to the subject or have been asked to brush up their Economics in order to support the teaching of this fantastic subject.
We designed this new course - Essential AS & A2 Economics - to provide a resource boost for teachers who are relatively new to teaching economics or are a non-specialist in the subject and it was a huge success when it ran in June 2012. So we’re running it again!read more...»
Well according to this Economist article there is. Great fodder for A2 students looking for genuine examples of supply side policies and in this case of a government seeking to encourage industries to move up the value chain and wean them of low cost low skilled immigrant labour. Problem is there are unintended consequences:
Useful resource for A2 students of Unit 4 found here produced by the World Bank looking to add to their background knowledge plus links to globalization and its benefits. According to the report, extreme poverty is on the wane globally:
This two-minute video from The Economist analyses the growing problem of youth unemployment in selected developed economies since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, including Greece, Spain, the UK, France, US and Germany. The chilling statistic from The Economist is that almost a quarter of the world's young people eligible for employment are without a job.read more...»