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Online Lessons

Government Failure (Online Lesson)

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

Last updated 11 May 2020

In this online lesson, we explore the topic of government failure, and consider a range of applied examples.

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY IN THIS ONLINE LESSON

  • the meaning of government failure and its various causes
  • a range of examples of government failure
  • key evaluation points in relation to the impact of government failure, and how it could be reduced

Additional teacher guidance is available at the end of this lesson. Thank you to Cathy Williams and Jon Clark for their contributions to this lesson.

HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE LESSON

Follow along in order of the activities shown below. Some are interactive game-based activities, designed to test your understanding of government failure. Others are based on short videos, including activities for you to think about and try at home, as well as some extra worksheet-based activities.

If you would like to download a simple PDF worksheet to accompany the video activities, you can download it here: Government Failure. You can print it off and annotate it for your own notes, or make your own notes on a separate piece of paper to add to your school/college file.

ACTIVITY 1: VIDEO - WHAT IS GOVERNMENT FAILURE?

In this video, we explore the meaning of the term "government failure" along with some of the main causes, and start to build up a set of examples.

Government Failure Video 1

ACTIVITY 2: VIDEO - GOVERNMENT FAILURE EXAMPLES

During this video, we take a closer look at some examples of government failure, stemming from different causes. We consider why the government decided to intervene in the first place, the nature of their intervention and the reasons for government failure.

Government Failure Video 2

ACTIVITY 3: ESSAY ANALYSIS

Essay titles specifically on government failure are rarer than essay titles on market failure. But you should aim to consider the risk of government failure whenever you are writing exam answers on policies for tackling market failure - it's a great way to evaluate.

We've provided an example answer to an essay title focused on the risk of government failure associated with using indirect taxes - you can download it here. Read through the essay and do the following as you go:

  • highlight the connective words/phrases that you see - these help to build strong analytical chains of argument
  • highlight (in a different colour) any occasions where you see application (AO2)
  • consider how you might have evaluated differently for each analytical point made

ACTIVITY 4: GAME!

Test your skills with government failure in this Match Up activity!

ACTIVITY 5: VIDEO - EVALUATING GOVERNMENT FAILURE

In this video, we consider some of the factors that affect whether government failure is likely to be problematic and some of the measures that governments can take to mitigate these issues. You can also test yourself with a little quiz!

Government Failure Video 3

ACTIVITY 6: WIDER READING AND RESEARCH - MORE DEPTH

Having a good array of examples at your fingertips is really helpful in exams.

Geoff Riley has produced some applied student videos on the topic of government failure - these would be a good starting point for wider application. You can find a recent video here exploring whether junk food taxes would result in government failure.

This article from the IEA considers whether the main cause of the financial crisis in 2007-09 was actually government failure.

This series of articles explores whether government failure is responsible for UK housing market issues:

ACTIVITY 7: QUIZ!

Test your knowledge of government failure in these multiple-choice questions.

ADDITIONAL TEACHER GUIDANCE

This lesson comprises:

  • around 20 minutes of guided video, spread across 3 videos
  • around 20 minutes of student thinking and activity time throughout those videos
  • 2 interactive games and quizzes, designed to test students' applied and theoretical knowledge of government failure
  • 1 essay-based activity
  • a selection of wider reading tasks

The "core" of this lesson is anticipated to take around 90 minutes, with the wider reading tasks taking as long as students would like.

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