At its core Economics is about the concept of scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes we have developed to satisfy human wants. During the course, students will develop a sound grasp of the fundamental microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and their real world application, an appreciation of the impact of economic transactions between nations and an awareness of economic development issues facing nations as they undergo the process of change. The course encourages students to develop international perspectives and raise awareness of their own responsibilities as global citizens. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements. The trade-off between efficiency and equity, the extent to which governments should intervene in markets and how to create sustainable economies will be ongoing themes throughout the course.
The course develops many fundamental skills essential to being a critical thinker: logical thought, application, analysis and evaluation to solve problems; observation and inference from data; and presenting ideas and arguments in a compelling, balanced and well supported manner.
During the two year course, students will complete a range of assessments. Examples include essay writing, article analysis, presentations and group tasks. Students are assessed according to the IB economics assessment criteria, which focuses on understanding, application, analysis and evaluation.
As we near the end of the course, we will focus on preparing the students for their IB economics exams, of which there are two for standard level students and three exams for higher level students. In addition, during the course the students will collect a portfolio of internal assessments, which accounts for 20% of their overall mark.
Differences between standard and higher levels
Beyond the additional units mentioned in the sections below, higher level students are required to acquire a greater body of knowledge for many of the topics covered. Often this involves the development of quantitative skills, such as linear functions and economic calculations. A high understanding of mathematics is not required, but students need to be comfortable with numbers.
This year is spent developing a sound understanding of the key microeconomic and macroeconomic fundamentals. These include how markets and economies work, why markets and government may fail to allocate resources efficiently, how governments can try to correct these failures and how and why governments can often fail in their attempts. Students will be introduced to concepts such as supply and demand, taxes and subsidies, externalities, fiscal and monetary policies, inflation, economic growth and unemployment and distribution of incomes. Higher level students will also study the Theory of the Firm and its key models: perfect competition; monopoly; monopolistic competition; and oligopoly and game theory.
Much of this year is spent developing a sound understanding of the key international and development economics fundamentals. These include how and why nations trade, how and why nations may resort to protectionism, the balance of payments, sources and barriers to economic development and development strategies. Higher level students will also study absolute and comparative advantage, trade creation and diversion and terms of trade. In grade 12 there will be an increased emphasis on preparation for the IB exams, including a mock exam.