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Teaching activity

Is work too easy? A new analysis on obesity

Peter McGinn

24th July 2017

Since I started teaching, I've always enjoyed delivering the market failure aspects of the course, particularly in the first year. This topic always allows for students to immediately link theoretical concepts to the real world.

Some specifications seem to require students to be able to learn and apply four different externalities diagrams where as others only require two. Indeed many people may teach them all! Regardless of specification, a favourite examination (or indeed debate) topic is overconsumption of demerit goods. Usually lessons take the sequence of identifying, analysing and evaluating the different external costs. Usually after this, remedies for this instance of market failure, would be discussed. 

BBC Radio 4 produce an excellent podcast called "Analysis". In the episode dated 10th July which is entitled "is work too easy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08x90v3) the above topics quickly come to mind. The presenters put forward a case that perhaps it isn't calorie consumption that has led to the "obesity crisis" ) but actually the changing nature of work means that jobs are actually physically less demanding and that we therefore expel fewer calories. Some remedies are also put forward which possibly allow for another avenue of exploring this topic. The podcast is an interesting listen and could certainly be used to facilitate class discussion a homework activity or trying to add a slightly different spin to this area of the specification!

Peter McGinn

Subject Leader for Business and Economics in a North East school. Moderator and examiner.

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