Economics students in Grade 11 have recently completed their microeconomics unit, focusing on what markets are, how they work and why they fail and how governments can respond. In doing so, they have been able to consider very current debates around taxes on alcohol, plastic bags and unhealthy food items and to evaluate the effectiveness of such policies, with Higher Level students also having started to learn the quantitative skills needed to quantify the impact of these policies. Global case studies have been considered to see how even the most well-intended policies can have negative consequences, such as in the case of rent controls and price ceilings. Higher Level students have also embarked upon more commercial aspects of economics through the sub-unit 'Theory of the Firm'. As part of this, important concepts such as productivity, fixed and variable costs, economies of scale, competition within a market and monopoly presence have all been looked at in some detail and we have reflected on whether there may sometimes be an argument for a monopolistic market structure.
The Grade 12s have been fortunate enough to be given many case studies in the news on trade wars, which have been excellent tools to guide their analysis of international trade. Trade wars through the imposition of bans, quotas and tariffs between various large and influential economies have been studied and the impact that these measures have upon key stakeholders. They have also looked at the impact of trade deficits and surpluses on the exchange rate for a country and measures that governments can take to influence the exchange rate. Recently we have been considering key issues in development economics, particularly how we can measure development, the relationship between economic growth and development and various issues around how best to spend overseas aid.
All Economics students are now finalising their commentary on a recent news article, providing the economic analysis and evaluation behind the stories that they have chosen. For the Grade 11 students this will be their first of three commentaries and the Grade 12 students will no doubt be sad that this will be their last internal assessment commentary. The portfolio of 3 commentaries is worth 20% of the final diploma grade.