Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
We’re very used to the idea of monitoring inflation, measuring it, and worrying about the consequences of it. But like any good answer that requires an element of balance, it’s worth noting that too little inflation can be a problem too.read more...»
Our Wow Economics teacher CPD event is continuing its tour of the country with events planned for Edinburgh (7th January) and Cardiff (10th January) in the New Year.
If you've never attended a Wow Economics event before you are missing out on a day of high-quality teaching resources and a chance to network with other passionate teachers.read more...»
Great Newsnight clip with Paxman on form grilling Coca Cola about sugar content and labelling. Could also be used for, negative externalities and social responsibility in business.
This is a version of a revision and summing up game that can be helpful at the start and the end of topics.read more...»
This is a one page revision sheet covering some of the key data on the state of the UK economy - I hope it might be useful for students taking their mock exams in macroeconomics. There was also an excellent feature on prospects for the UK here - Is Britain's economy really on the path to prosperity? (Observer, 1st December 2013)read more...»
An eight page practice paper for the structured MC question section of EdExcel Unit 1 Economics - answers in the grid below. Download the practice paper as a pdf: Structured_AS_Micro_MC_Question_Practice.pdfread more...»
Tips on exam technique for answering unit 4 Macro questions - improve your exam scores by writing stronger paragraphs and evaluating wellread more...»
A streamed presentation on aspects of the price mechanism with links to three revision quizzesread more...»
This advert makes me want to sell my house and my car and buy a Volvo truck. I have tried to use this clip in a few Transport Economics lessons. You can use it to show the use dynamic efficiency, R&D, absence of sunk costs, non-price competition or just watch it for sheer amazement. I promise, your students will love it.read more...»
There are a lot of advent calendars in my household. My children have one each and even the dog has one. With this in mind I thought I would create one for my Economics students and here is the attempt.
It is aimed at AS students, but I will also be using it with my A2 students (a little starter activity) as there are a mix of AS linked questions and more general/festive questions.
The release of two major new iterations of games console including the PS4 is an opportune moment to take stock of the transformation of the oligopolistic computer gaming industry into one whose revenues now exceed films and where social gaming, connectivity and collaboration are features of an industry where dynamic efficiency is crucial. Paul Mason from Channel 4 news reports in this short clip.read more...»
Here is an updated revision glossary covering key terms on markets and government interventionread more...»
Price fixing and bid rigging by groups of firms in Europe are not solely the preserve of highly concentrated industries. According to research by Professor Stephan Davies and Dr Oindrila De, even industries with relatively large numbers of firms feature such anti-competitive practices – and they typically have a ‘ringleader’, which organises and enforces the cartel. Their study, published in the November 2013 issue of the Economic Journal, finds that roughly a quarter of the 89 cartels detected by the European Commission over the past two decades have a ringleader or ringleaders. In cartels with relatively large numbers of firms, the ringleader tends to be the dominant firm, acting aggressively to set prices and ensure that smaller firms fall in line.read more...»
Working with one of my A2 Economics classes, we spent a few lessons rsearching useful case studies for the development economics section of Edexcel's course. Here is the results of our work.read more...»
Notes from a talk on eradicating poverty given by Mark Goldring – Chief Executive of Oxfam at the LSE on Thursday 28th November.read more...»
Britain is becoming more sharply divided on ethnic lines, according to a study just published by the think-tank Demos. During the past decade, more than 600,000 white people have moved out of London to areas which are more than 90 per cent white. The effect is strongest amongst white Britons with children, with a fall of almost 20 per cent in the number of them living in London.
The Demos project is chaired by Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equalities Commission. At face value, the numbers suggest that racial prejudice is alive and well. It is not just whites who are seeking out white areas. According to Phillips, ethnic minorities are becoming more tightly clustered in areas where their own personal minority is well represented. But Phillips insists that the overall evidence does not show increased prejudice at all. In fact, personal prejudice is declining. How can this be? Prejudice is allegedly falling, yet we are becoming more segregated along ethnic lines in terms of where we live.read more...»
Skidelsky on good form here at Project Syndicate summarising four fallacies, especially the fallacy of composition, of the pro-austerity camp (my favourite being the Swabian Housewife analogy). Very good for enrichment!
Read the article here.
Combining two of my favourite Upper Sixth topics in one - competition policy and China!
Since the adoption of the Anti-Monopoly law in 2007, the Chinese competition authorities have stepped up enforcement of mergers and anti-competitive practices. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has relied heavily on behavioural remedies in merger cases (as opposed to the more efficient structural remedies favoured by the European Commission). Furthermore, merger policy has been used to protect domestic industries from competition. In contrast, Chinese fines for cartels have shown no foreign bias, and if anything have been too low.
A nice summary of some differences between EU and Chinese competition policy in this article.
I don’t know the answer to the question I've just posed, but I think the recent news about RBS raises some interesting issues about the perceived zombie problem in the UK economy.read more...»
The cost of renting property in many parts of the UK continues to rise - would rent controls make any difference? Here is an updated Unit 1 economics revision presentation.read more...»
The Tutor2u slideshare channel has just notched up over a million hits and we continue to add new resources each week. Here is the link to the site.
6 minutes of the movie Samsara - to show what 'unsustainable demand, production, global distribution chains' really means.
To go with my review of it last year.
Here's a simple resource to introduce the concept of inflation over a period of time. This was inspired by a marvelous example given by Mark Mitchell at a recent Tutor2u TBBLE teacher CPD event - Mark used a wonderful back-catalogue of issues of the Beano to illustrate changes in prices over time as a way of introducing the concept of inflation.
This resource is not quite as much fun but does allow you to input any date from February 1971 (the date of decimalization in the UK) and find out the price of a First Class stamp in the UK (assuming a standard weight of under 60g). A simple image then materialises indicating the cost of the stamp at that given time.
You could ask students to give you significant dates during their life time (e.g. birth, start-date of primary school/secondary school, siblings birth dates and possibly parents birth dates, last time their football team won a significant trophy) and track how prices have changed.
The file also has a single chart showing how stamp prices have changed compared to inflation in any one year - perhaps an interesting thing to look at and discuss given the current flotation of the Royal Mail.
Click here to download the Powerpoint presentation.
Tim Harford explores the frustrations of using lifts. How much economics can you find in this BBC Newsnight report from November 2013?read more...»
The Third Plenum has finished in China and with it has come some potentially significant reforms designed to rebalance the Chinese economy and shape future growth and development. The BBC's Linda Yueh has been prominent in reporting on this crucial stage of Chinese development and we have linked below to some of her recent output broadcast on the BBC.read more...»
An initial change in aggregate demand can have a much greater final impact on the level of equilibrium national income. This is known as the multiplier effect
It comes about because injections of new demand for goods and services into the circular flow of income stimulate further rounds of spending – in other words “one person’s spending is another’s income." This can lead to a bigger eventual effect on output and employmentread more...»
This is an updated revision presentation covering aspects of inequality and economic growth/development - it is designed for Year 13 A2 macro studentsread more...»
The launch of Sony's PS4 alongside Microsoft's XBox One signals the beginning of a highly intense competitive battle in the oligopolistic games console market. With both the new consoles being launched in time for the crucial Christmas sales period, pricing strategy is crucial in order to gain maximum market share.
In the US, Sony has priced the PS4 at $399 (retail). Of course that is the retail price. Distributors will be wanting to make their margin on each unit sold. So how much does it cost Sony to make a new PS4?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...»
Getting out of our slump is challenging economics policy makers.read more...»
The biggest issue facing capitalism in modern times is the moral critique. This is partly due to a misunderstanding of capitalism, which has allowed it to become synonymous with “fat cat” bankers, “wide boys” and the fast and loose nature of our booming financial centres and cities. These are good in their own right, providing many jobs directly and indirectly and through their role as the life-giving force in the economy with small business support, which was albeit more prominent before the crash.
This is an excellent resource from Prospect, on poverty issues in the UK.
A collection of essays, it brings together voices from across the political spectrum, and offers a range of opinions on what poverty is, its causes, the relationship between state and market and how a better understanding can help to create consensus in achieving a low-poverty UK. The essays include contributions from this country’s leading thinkers in economics, politics, philosophy, medicine and the charity sector.
What is poverty? AC Grayling
Poverty and economic growth Diane Coyle
Poverty, the market and the state Roger Scruton
A post-liberal view of poverty David Goodhart
Poverty,taxes and the cost of living Christopher Snowdon
What comes first, poverty or inequality? Harry Burns
Full education in a free society Andrew Adonis
An end to child poverty Patricia Lewsley-Mooney
Download the free PDF here.
The Economist is running an online debate on the question of Chinese innovation:
Read the arguments proposed by both sides here.
Currently 65% against 35% for.
A hat-tip to my colleague Jens Rohrborn for this interesting lecture he attended at the LSE this week.
It has become the truism of our age that power is fast ebbing away from a declining West to the East and the "rest". Some indeed predict that the 21st Century will either be Asian or dominated by the so-called BRICs. But how far has this process really gone?
We can find lots of bulls on the topic of China (I am one of them!) about how China is set irreversibly on the path to global pre-eminence, if not outright domination. It is only a matter of time, it is sometimes suggested, before China rules the world.
This lecture offers an excellent counterbalance to this view and allows pupil (and me!) to show some critical awareness on the topic.
Audio is available here...
Update: new dates added for Edinburgh (7 Jan 2014) and Cardiff 10 Jan 2014)
WOW! Economics has quickly become the leading CPD course for teachers of A Level Economics, IB Economics and equivalent qualifications. Over 350 Economics teachers attended WOW! Economics 2013 taking away with them over 40 teaching resources and the feedback was that they wanted more WOW! Econ!
WOW! Economics 2014 returns with another resource-packed day with all-new teaching & learning resources. Our team of Economics contributors simply love their subject and they've excelled themselves yet again! There are 51 brand-new teaching activities for delegates attending each of the WOW Economics days. A full listing of the materials is provided below together with a few screen shots!
Once again, the supermarkets are in the limelight for misleading consumers.
Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Ocado and Sainsbury's supermarkets have been found by the consumer publication Which? to have misleading promotions on multi-buys and discounts, over the first six months of 2013.
He spoke of "dodgy discounts where the price is bumped up for a matter of days before the special offer was put on the shelves."
He also noted "misleading multi-buys where you could actually end up paying more for two products than if you'd bought them singularly a matter of days before."
BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Tuesday 19 November 2013 has more.
"The market will define our future" - the words of an organic farmer growing produce in Mexico City's water farms and which - according to this excellent video report from the Financial Times - have the potential to feed huge numbers of people living in the metropolis. Careful husbandry of the canals and surrounding farm land creates the opportunity for farmers to complete between seven and nine harvests a year, an interesting link to the concept of price elasticity of supply. The video reinforces the importance of human capital - detailed, specific knowledge of the growing conditions and calendar of crops that is handed down from one generation to another.read more...»
It isn’t supposed to be like this. The 'upside' of the recession and financial crisis was a steep depreciation in the value of sterling. That should have made our exports cheaper and imports dearer, thereby helping the UK to close its huge current account deficit. But as the graph above shows, it just hasn’t happened.read more...»
The Bristol festival of economics runs from Thursday to Friday this week, details here and below:
Thanks to sponsorship by the Royal Economic Society (RES), the sessions will also be available via 'wavecast' on the internet
Register free here to watch the events live and participate in the debate:
Twitter hashtag for the event #economicsfest
The following week, Tim HARFORD's RES annual public lecture - 'How to run - or ruin - an economy' - will also be wavecast:
Twitter hashtag for the event #RESlecture
That’s an odd question. A £20 coin is ‘worth’ £20, isn’t it? Surely that’s the whole idea? I know from experience that one of the hardest jobs of an economics teacher is to communicate the idea of token money. Stated simply, most modern money is worthless. It’s just monopoly money. Several of you will already be puzzled by that statement.
A new £20 coin is being issued, and apparently the Bank of England is having considerable difficulty persuading people that it’s really ‘worth’ £20.
Here’s the story, and several other links to that strange concept: money.read more...»
There has been lots of talk in the media recently about the supermarkets’ Christmas advertising campaigns.
Sainsbury’s have employed an Oscar winning director for their campaign, although he failed to spot the Co-op’s own brand range in the background, Tesco stole a march on the others by starting their advertising campaign on a Friday, which makes a lot of sense, but Asda wanted to get maximum exposure by launching their campaign during X-Factor, the most watched program on commercial television. No doubt Morrison’s will be launching their Christmas campaign sometime in late January….read more...»
A rather scary but neat way of showing the escalation risk in the nuclear arms race, and race to the bottom / Prisoners' Dilemma that exists in this field.
Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998.
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. 1960s was a bit scary!
An excellent program by the BBC on the externalities of litter, well worth a watch and some really good starting points for discussion.read more...»
The numbers are breath-taking and they reflect the growing scale and prominence of Gulf air carriers in the international aviation market. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways together have just ordered over 200 of new Boeing 777X aircraft, a more fuel-efficient version of the 777 jumbo. Here we have the monopsony power of major buyers coming face to face with the duopolistic market power of the dominant aircraft manufacturers - US plane maker Boeing, and European rival Airbus.
Check out our revision notes on monopsony power using the link belowread more...»
Long term youth unemployment is a persistent structural problem for the British economy - this BBC news article provides a ray of hope as Nestle announces extra investment in their training / apprenticeships schemes for younger workers. A more pro-active approach from larger businesses would be welcome - offering paid experience to help break the catch-22 of no job without experience, no experience without a job. Nearly one million young people (16-24) are unemployed in the UK, while youth unemployment in Ireland is 28 per cent with more than 65,000 young people out of work.read more...»
This BBC news report is superb background for students who want a mini case study of the potential of mobile technology in improving farm yields and incomes for farmers in developing countries. A 29-year-old developer from Ghana has created a mobile app that he hopes will transform the livelihoods of farmers and help address food shortagesread more...»
Here is a thoroughly updated (20123) 94-slide revision presentation on aspects of fiscal policy - designed for student and teachers taking the AS macro paper.read more...»
This looks like a must-view online event on 28 November 2013. Tim Harford delivers the annual Royal Economic Society lecture and you can view it online for free! Full details below.read more...»
The key concept of economics, efficiency is brought into sharp focus by a piece on the BBC website which looks at how big data is capable of improving the insurance market.read more...»
The Office of Fair Trading is undergoing an inquiry into university admissions. Is more choice necessarily a good thing - will it improve the resource allocation?
One of the issues they are looking at is the rule that candidates cannot apply to BOTH Oxford and Cambridge (the rule of combination) - some experts in competition law have suggested that the agreement with Oxford and Cambridge may amount to uncompetitive practice and that university admissions may come under competition law as higher fees could be seen as the sale of services. This was a rule introduced in the late 1980s to ease applications workload. You could argue it the other way around though - because applicants can only apply to one of the two, it forces the two institutions to up their game and be the best (a weak argument given their histories though perhaps as well as the fact that some courses can only be applied to at one of the universities e.g. straight Economics is only available at Cambridge; NatSci vs Chemistry etc).
There is some inquiry also into the rule that applicants can only apply to 5 institutions (4 for medicine). In the US there is no such limit on the number of institutions or on only choosing 2 universities of the Ivy League to be apply to. In some ways it prevents the two universities from creating a separate competitive image for themselves – i.e. they don’t need to distinguish themselves from each other, as they don’t have to compete for the same pupils – unlike Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc., who assume that there will be an overlap for the best pupils and therefore must make an effort to distinguish themselves (programmatically, academically, resource-wise, etc.) and have unique programs to attract pupils. This isn’t fair market competition, the universities are not forced, as much, by market competition to improve on their resources, etc.
But the logic also applies that too many applications can bring about a waste of economic resources – if a pupil is good enough for Oxbridge, they may be good enough for Cam or Oxf. Why double the workload for everyone and get them to apply to both? The problem is the marginal cost of adding an extra uni to an application is small for a pupil in the UK – but the marginal cost for universities of selecting the best candidates is much bigger. A better solution may be the US system whereby the marginal cost of an extra application for the pupil is increased. This then really sorts the keen applicants from ‘those who play the odds’. But the question is what is our objective - which is the Pareto superior outcome? Would more choice help universities make better decisions on who they award places to, would it improve the quality of choices on offer, or would it merely add to an increasing workload and create a worse outcome.
Arrangements deemed to have anti-competitive elements may be justified if they are shown to benefit consumers. Or conversely, if the introduction of more competition creates a more deleterious impact on the service offering then the status quo can be retained (government failure issues etc). And it is not difficult to see that doubling the number of applications to the two institutions would not necessarily improve resource allocation or outcomes, having to interview twice as many candidates etc.
That is to say, it is not a given that in a world with imperfections, constrained resources etc, more choices is not necessarily the same as more efficient choices - it is a second best world after all (as the theory of second best says... if one optimality condition in an economic model cannot be satisfied, it is possible that the next-best solution involves changing other variables away from the ones that are usually assumed to be optimal).
The OFT has invited submissions of evidence by the end of the year and, once it has analysed these, will decide whether to launch a formal investigation.
Read more here.