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Applying COVID Vaccines in Economics Assessment Answers

AS, A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

In this video we explore some ideas for applying the issue of covid-19 vaccines to Economics assessment answers.

There are many micro and macroeconomic issues that can be linked to vaccine research, manufacturing and roll out across high and lower/middle-income nations.

Applying COVID Vaccines in Economics Assessment Answers

Microeconomics of vaccines

  • Vaccines as a good (public good aspect versus “rival” private good)
  • Conditions of supply including factors influencing elasticity of supply, fixed and variable costs, average and marginal cost
  • Derived demand for components used in making vaccines
  • Economies of scale in vaccine manufacturing
  • Vaccine market structure (an oligopoly), size of entry barriers
  • Efficiency of health care systems in rolling out vaccinations
  • Private costs & benefits from being vaccinated
  • Information failures / causes of vaccine hesitancy / rationality
  • Externalities from vaccines, social benefit-cost evaluation
  • How should covid vaccines be priced? Should prices be regulated?
  • Business objectives – are the world’s leading pharma companies profit maximisers? Is corporate social responsibility growing?
  • Price discrimination in the global vaccine market
  • Monopsony power among major vaccine purchasers
  • Behavioural nudges – how to increase vaccine take-up?
  • Game theory – co-operative agreements versus vaccine nationalism

Macroeconomics of vaccines

  • Global economic damage inflicted by the pandemic – vaccines limiting hysteresis effects from the pandemic
  • Macro impact of long covid - worsening mental health issues / lost education – damage to human capital
  • Fiscal spending involved in delivering vaccines – judging the fiscal multiplier effects of state-funded roll-outs
  • Linking vaccine research, testing and manufacturing to many positive aspects of globalisation
  • Retreat into protectionism (such as vaccine nationalism)
  • Revealed comparative advantage (consider the Serum Institute in India) – where will vaccines be manufactured? Who can supply them at lowest cost?
  • Risks to progress in cutting extreme poverty
  • Vaccines as a pathway towards normality, restoration of global tourism and other areas of trade
  • Developing countries need greater financing and debt relief for COVID-19 vaccines and future pandemics

Bonus resource!

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