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Online Lessons

Quantitative Easing (Online Lesson)

  • Levels: AS, A Level, IB
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

In this online lesson, we introduce the topic of Quantitative Easing (QE) as part of our mini-series on monetary policy.

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY IN THIS ONLINE LESSON

  • what is meant by a bond, and why bond prices are inversely related to their yields
  • how the use of QE should, in theory, impact on the economy
  • how to use a range of diagrams to support understanding and analysis of QE
  • an overview of the UK's QE programme
  • key evaluation points for QE

Additional teacher guidance is available at the end of this lesson.

Thank you to Nicky King and Jon Clark for their contributions to this lesson.

HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE LESSON

Follow along in order of the activities shown below. One is interactive game-based activity, designed to test your understanding and application of QE. Others are based on short videos, including activities for you to think about and try at home.

If you would like to download a simple PDF worksheet to accompany the video activities, you can download it here: Quantitative Easing. 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 A BOND?

This introductory video covers the bond market. This topic is important to understand because it helps you to analyse the QE process in more detail.

QE Lesson Video 1: the bond market

ACTIVITY 2: THINKING ACTIVITY - MORE ON BONDS

To help build your skills of analysis with the bond market, as well as having the opportunity to practise some more calculations in relation to bonds, download this Strong Bonds activity. You may want to discuss your answers with your teacher and / or classmates.

ACTIVITY 3: VIDEO - INTRODUCTION TO QE

This video-based activity provides an introduction to QE. You will cover the essential key terms, along with learning how to write exam-standard analytical chains, and consider the reasons why a Central Bank might need to use QE.

QE Lesson Video 2: what is QE?

ACTIVITY 3: READING AND THINKING - PEOPLE'S QE

Whilst many economists and politicians think that QE has been largely successful, there are many people who think that it has mostly benefited the "already well-off". One suggestion put forward by this group is the possible use of "People's QE", in which the Central Bank doesn't just buy government bonds or corporate bonds, but gets more actively involved in small businesses. Below, you will find some links for wider reading:

Task - write a short summary paragraph of what is meant by People's QE, noting down 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages of it as a policy approach

ACTIVITY 4: VIDEO - DIAGRAMMATIC ANALYSIS OF QE

In this video, we'll take you through some of the different approaches to analysing the impact of QE using diagrams. In particular, we look at the bond market, the foreign exchange market, and the money market, before finishing up by considering the wider macro impact using AD/AS analysis.

QE Lesson Video 3: diagrams for analysing QE

ACTIVITY 5: GAME - QE KEY TERMS

Challenge yourself with this game, testing your knowledge of key terms relating to quantitative easing.

ACTIVITY 6: VIDEO - THE UK'S QE PROGRAMME

Having real-world knowledge of macro policies is important for your exams and also your wider awareness of the economy. In this video, we take a quick look at some of the key aspects of the UK's QE programme, including the more recent QE carried out in response to the impact of COVID-19.

QE Lesson Video 4: the UK's quantitative easing programme

ACTIVITY 7: READING AND RESEARCH - RECENT QE EXAMPLES

Many governments and Central Banks have had to rapidly introduce expansionary macro policies in order to keep their economies afloat in light of the COVID-19. One such policy used by a number of Central Banks is greater QE. Take a look at some of these articles outlining these policies:

ACTIVITY 8: VIDEO - EVALUATING QE

In this final video for the online lesson, we take a closer look at some of the key evaluation points in relation to QE.

QE Lesson Video 5: evaluating QE

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

How might Central Banks "reverse" their QE programmes, and what would be the impact? Carry out your own wider reading and research to produce a short presentation on this topic.

ADDITIONAL TEACHER GUIDANCE

This lesson comprises:

  • around 35 minutes of guided video, spread across 5 videos
  • around 15 minutes of student activity and thinking time throughout those videos
  • an interactive game, designed to test knowledge of key terms relating to QE
  • plenty of additional wider reading, focusing on examples of QE in a range of countries and the possibility of using People's QE
  • an extension task, looking at how QE could be reversed

The core activities in this lesson should take around 60 minutes.

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