GROUP 3 - ECONOMICS

The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.

The IB Diploma Programme Economics course emphasises the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studies in a vacuum – rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.

The economic course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.

IB Economics - Syllabus outline

Unit 1: Introduction to economics

1.1 What is economics?
1.2 How do economists approach the world?

Unit 2: Microeconomics

2.1 Demand
2.2 Supply
2.3 Competitive market equilibrium
2.4 Critique of the maximizing behaviour of consumers and producers
2.5 Elasticity of demand
2.6 Elasticity of supply
2.7 Role of government in microeconomics
2.8 Market failure—externalities and common pool or common access resources
2.9 Market failure—public goods
2.10 Market failure—asymmetric information
2.11 Market failure—market power
2.12 The market’s inability to achieve equity

Unit 3: Macroeconomics

3.1 Measuring economic activity and illustrating its variations
3.2 Variations in economic activity—aggregate demand and aggregate supply
3.3 Macroeconomic objectives
3.4 Economics of inequality and poverty
3.5 Demand management (demand side policies)—monetary policy
3.6 Demand management—fiscal policy
3.7 Supply-side policies

Unit 4: The global economy

4.1 Benefits of international trade
4.2 Types of trade protection
4.3 Arguments for and against trade control/protection
4.4 Economic integration
4.5 Exchange rates
4.6 Balance of payments
4.7 Sustainable development
4.8 Measuring development
4.9 Barriers to economic growth and/or economic development
4.10 Economic growth and/or economic development strategies

Distinction between SL and HL

SL and HL students of economics are presented with a common syllabus, with an HL extension in some topics. The syllabus for both SL and HL students requires the development of certain skills and techniques, attributes and knowledge – as described in the assessment objectives of the programme.

While the skills and activity of studying economics are common to both SL and HL students, the HL student is required to acquire a further body of knowledge – including the ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate that knowledge to produce a policy response to contemporary economic issues. These skills are specifically assessed at HL in Paper 3.

ASSESSMENT

Internal Assessment: Standard Level
A portfolio of three commentaries on news media extracts of 800 words each. (30%)

External Examinations: Standard Level
Paper 1: Extended response paper where students answer one question from a choice of three (1:15h, 30%)
Paper 2: Data response paper where students answer one question from a choice of two (1:45h, 40%)

Internal Assessment: Higher Level
A portfolio of three commentaries on news media extracts of 800 words each. (20%)

External Examinations: Higher Level
Paper 1: Extended response paper where students answer one question from a choice of three (1:15h, 20%)
Paper 2: Data response paper where students answer one question from a choice of two (1:45h, 30%)
Paper 3: A policy paper where students answer two compulsory questions (1:45h, 30%)