Specialisation | tutor2u Economics
Study notes


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

Specialisation is when we concentrate on a product or task

What is specialisation? - research question

Specialisation happens at all levels:

1.The specialization of tasks within extended families in many of the world’s poorest countries

2.Within businesses and organizations

3.In a country – Bangladesh is a major producer and exporter of textiles; Norway is a leading oil exporter. And Ghana is one of the biggest producers of cocoa in the world.

4.In a region of a country – for many years the West Midlands has been a centre for motor car assembly, there has been huge investment in recent years in the Mini plant at Oxford

What are the possible gains from specialization?

By concentrating on what people and businesses do best rather than relying on self sufficiency:

  1. Higher output: Total production of goods and services is raised and quality can be improved
  2. Variety; Consumers have access to a greater variety of higher quality products
  3. A bigger market: Specialisation and global trade increase the size of the market offering opportunities for economies of scale
  4. Competition and lower prices: Increased competition acts as an incentive to minimise costs, keep prices down and therefore maintains low inflation
Revision on the division of labour

The Division of Labour

The division of labour occurs where production is broken down into many separate tasks. Division of labour raises output per person as people become proficient through constant repetition of a task – “learning by doing”. This gain in productivity helps to lower cost per unit and ought to lead to lower prices for consumers.

What are the Main Limitations of the Division of Labour?

  1. Unrewarding, repetitive work that requires little skill lowers motivation and hits productivity. Workers begin to take less pride in their work and quality suffers. We often see dissatisfied workers becoming less punctual at work and the rate of absenteeism increases.
  2. Many people may choose to move to less boring jobs creating a problem of high worker turnover for businesses. The employee turnover rate for the UK is around 12% per year, nearly one worker in seven changes jobs every twelve months. The highest labour turnover is found in retailing, hotels, catering and leisure, call centres and among other lower-paid private sector services groups
  3. Some workers receive little training and may not be able to find alternative jobs if they find themselves out of work - they may then suffer structural unemployment.
  4. Another disadvantage is that mass-produced standardized goods lack variety for consumers

Subscribe to email updates from tutor2u Economics

Join 1000s of fellow Economics teachers and students all getting the tutor2u Economics team's latest resources and support delivered fresh in their inbox every morning.

You can also follow @tutor2uEconomics on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or join our popular Facebook Groups.

Job board

Subject Leader - Business

The Reach Free School, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Related Collections

Teaching Vacancies


Advertise your vacancies with tutor2u

Much cheaper & more effective than TES or the Guardian. Reach the audience you really want to apply for your teaching vacancy by posting directly to our website and related social media audiences.

Find our more ›

Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u

A New Home for tutor2u Resources

We've just flicked the switch on moving all our digital resources to instant digital download - via our new subject stores.

For every subject you can now access each digital resource as soon as it is ordered. This will always be the latest edition of each resource too (and we'll update you automatically if there is an upgraded version to use).

Simply add the required resources to your cart, checkout using the usual options and your resources will be available to access immediately via your mytutor2u account.