Economics is the study of how society manages the challenge of scarcity. We have infinite wants and needs but only finite resources. What should we make and who should get what? Economics lies behind many of the headlines that we read every day; it is clearly a significant factor in the worlds of politics, business and global development. It considers key issues such as poverty and environmental damage. The study of Economics also helps students develop their skills of analysing and solving problems. It is an engaging discipline which helps students develop their ability to reason and develop arguments.
The A-level course consists of the following topics: Microeconomics covers the fundamental economic problem of scarcity given society’s resources. It covers the role of supply and demand in price determination. Students also investigate the impact of competition in business on market outcomes – the way in which monopolies, for example affect consumers and other businesses. The study of income distribution and inequality as well as the way in which markets fail conclude the topics for this section.
This topic allows us to investigate questions such as “Why are house prices so high?”, “Can pollution effectively be controlled?” and “Should governments interfere with markets?”
Macroeconomics covers the objectives of government policy. Students investigate how economic performance is measured, finance markets, fiscal and monetary policies and the international economy.
We investigate questions such as: “What are the consequences of unemployment?”, “What are the problems caused by inflation and deflation?” and “How are we affected by the world economy?” This topic helps us look at the role of government and we consider its use of taxation and public spending to manage the economy and achieve its objectives.
Assessment at A-level is by way of three exams.
Papers 1 and 2 are each 2 hours long and comprise multiple choice, short-answer, data response and extended open-response questions. Paper 1 is microeconomics and Paper 2 is macroeconomics.
Paper 3 is a synoptic paper which covers the whole syllabus. It is 2 hours. It comprises data response and extended open-response questions
Papers 1 and 2 are each worth 35% of the final grade. Paper 3 is worth 30%.
To be accepted onto the course students need at least a Grade 6 at GCSE in Maths and English Language. The course demands good skills of analysis, a willingness to contribute to discussion and the ability to express yourself clearly and precisely in writing. You will be set independent learning tasks every week and will also be expected to carry out your own reading – a quality newspaper every day to keep abreast of Economics issues in the news, and academic books on the subject as well. An interest in current affairs is ideal.
Examination Board: Edexcel. Course Number: 9EC0