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Sixth form student in a lesson


Curriculum Intent:

“To nudge the Homo-economicus into happiness”.

Are you curious as to why poverty and inequality persist? Do you want to find out who the winners and losers of the integration of the world’s economies are? In RGS IB Economics lessons you will learn how the governments manage their economy and how effective their policies are. You will find out how consumers and producers make choices in trying to meet their economic objectives and whether the government intervention might help when the markets are unable to satisfy important economic objectives.

Economics is offered as IB Higher Level and Standard Level Economics in Key Stage 5 where the students develop a critical understanding of and apply a range of economic theories (including the 8 concepts of scarcity, choice, efficiency, equity, economic wellbeing, sustainability, change, interdependence and intervention), models, ideas and tools in the areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics and the global economy, and by applying their knowledge, analyse economic data to understand and engage with real-world economic issues and problems facing individuals and societies. The students develop a conceptual understanding of individuals’ and societies’ economic choices, interactions, challenges and consequences of economic decision-making.

Politics is offered as:

  • IB Economics Year 12 & 13

Key Stage 5 Economics

Curriculum Overview

Students at Key Stage 5 follow the IB Economics course as part of the IB Diploma.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 Introduction;

Microeconomics: supply and demand

Microeconomics: elasticities;  behavioural economics Microeconomics: market failure and government intervention Global economy: foreign exchange and international trade Macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies Global economy: measuring development
Year 13 SL: Revision of microeconomics

HL: asymmetric information and market power as causes of market failure

Macroeconomics: Economics of inequality and poverty

Global Economy: barriers to economic growth and development and sustainable development

Global economy and revision of  macroeconomics: economic growth and economic development strategies Revision: Independent research and presentations on policy-making


Year 12

In Year 12 Students are introduced to the economist’s approaches to studying the real life events, data interpretation and economic modelling. In the microeconomics section of the course, both SL and HL students learn about the forces of demand and supply, their elasticities and understand what is meant by competitive market equilibrium. Critique of the maximizing behaviour of consumers and producers is introduced before studying the role of government in microeconomics to address market failure caused by externalities, common access resources, public goods. In the macroeconomics section, the students learn how to measure economic activity and illustrate its variations using aggregate demand and aggregate supply, discuss the macroeconomic objectives including tackling inequality and poverty and explore demand side policies (such as monetary and fiscal policy) and supply-side policies options available to the governments. In the global economy section, the students use the supply and demand model to explain the changes in exchange rates and learn about benefits of international trade, illustrate  protectionism using a tariff diagram and discuss economic integration. The topic of balance of payments is introduced before moving on to the development section of the course.

One assessment unit will also be completed this year. This requires students to select a news articles from each of the three parts of the syllabus (microeconomics, macroeconomics and the global economy) and to write three written commentaries applying their knowledge of economics, as well as their analytical and evaluation skills.

In addition, in Year 12, we go on two trips: a conferenced organized by PolEcon to discuss pertinent economic issues and aimed at the sixth form students, and a Bank of England trip often combined with a visit to a London-based financial services firm to inform the students about career options after studying economics.

Year 13

In Year 13 Higher Level students explore the asymmetric information and market power as causes of market failure and the market’s inability to achieve equity. Both SL and HL students study economics of inequality and poverty. Both HL and SL students then apply their knowledge of micro and macroeconomics to discuss global economy topics such as barriers to economic growth and development, sustainable development and approaches to measuring development are discussed in greater depth, and building upon the knowledge gained in Year 12, economic growth and economic development strategies are discussed.

Students are encouraged to conduct independent research and deliver presentations on policy making to prepare HL students for tackling the questions in the policy recommendation paper in their examination and deepens their general knowledge of current affairs.

 Assessment at IB

The Economics IB course assessment includes both coursework and written examination. The assessment criteria include knowledge/understanding, contextual analysis, evaluation and application of tools including quantitative skills, data interpretation and diagrams.

  • Paper 1 (75min) 30% SL                  20% HL

Students at SL and HL write essays to answer one question from the choice of three (25 marks).

  • Paper 2 (105min) 40% SL                  30% HL

Students at SL and HL answer one data response question with quantitative tasks from a choice of two (40 marks).

  • Paper 3 (105min) N/A SL                  30% HL

Only Higher Level students sit this policy paper made out of two compulsory questions, 30 marks each. This component assesses both qualitative and quantitative skills. (60 marks)

  • Internal Assessment 30% SL                  20% HL

Students at SL and HL produce a portfolio of three commentaries (max 800 words each, 45 marks in total), based on different units of the syllabus and on published extracts from the news media. Each of the three commentaries should use a different key concept as a lens through which to analyse the published extracts. This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB.

Further Reading/Resources

  • Daniel Kahneman (2012) Thinking Fast and Slow Penguin
  • Eric Singler, Cass Sustein, Pierre Chandon (2019) Nudge Management Applying Behavioral Science to boost well-being, engagement and performance at work Village Mondain
  • Kevin Gardiner (2015) Making Sense of Markets
  • John Lanchaster (2015) How to speak Money
  • Simon Singh (2014) The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets
  • James Surowsiecki (2005) The Wisdom of Crowds
  • Michael Mainelli & Ian Harris (2011) The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked
  • Economics and Better Decisions
  • Martin Lindstrom (2009) Buy-ology
  • John Lanchaster (2010) Whoops!: why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay
  • Keith Smith (1989) The British Economic Crisis
  • Robert H. Frank (2007) The Economic Naturalist: Why Economics Explains Almost Everything
  • Tim Harford (2007) The Undercover Economist. Little, Brown Book Group.
  • Tim Harford (2009) The Logic of Life: The Undercover Economist. London: Abacus.
  • Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner’s (2011) SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
  • S D Levitt and S J Dubner (2007) Freakonomics Penguin
  • Andrew Gillespie (2009) AS and A Level Economics Through Diagrams: Oxford Revision Guides
  • Ellie Tragakes (2015) Economics in a Nutshell (IB exam guide)
  • Paul Krugman (2008) The Return of Depression Economics. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Paul Krugman (2012) End This Depression Now! W W: Norton
  • A V Banerjee and E Duflo (2012) Poor Economics: barefoot hedge-fund managers, DIY doctors and the surprising truth about life on less than $1 a day Penguin
  • D Coyle (2014) GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History Princeton University Press
  • Pocket World in figures (2018) The Economist: 2019 edition Italy: LEGO Spa Lavis
  • Adam Smith (2014) The Wealth of Nations


British Values:

British Values in Economics

Democracy: In Economics, the planned vs. command economy features, advantages and disadvantages are discussed with the view of which is most efficient in solving the basic economic problem. While not directly implying that all command economies are lacking in democracy, the historical examples of FSU and current examples of the regime in North Korea are being used. In the Development unit of Economics the aspect of democratic power is implicitly taught as a component of development and Gross National Happiness (using the example of Bhutan).

Rule of law: In the Financial sector unit of A levels Economics and in Development unit of A levels, time is spent discussing the law enforcement as one of the hindrances of the effective functioning of Harrod-Domar model and other models of development. Government failure is another specific topic in both specifications which is taught in Microeconomics.

Individual Liberty: The concept of homo-economicus, the role of paternalistic state and the advantages and disadvantages of the government interventions constitute a major debating point in microeconomics.

Mutual respect: All lessons promote mutual respect, debates on the topics such as NMW, EU membership, income inequality, free trade and/or globalization allow the pupils to state and defend their point of view and the students are encouraged to be prepared to listen to and appreciate the opposite views before providing constructive criticism. A good example of the outcome is the student led Finance, Business and Economics club ran by Y12 pupils.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: One of the approaches to evaluation practiced in Economics is “consider all stakeholders”, during our class debates the pupils are encouraged to step in the shoes of another social group and see the problem from its point of view. Examples include interventionist vs. market oriented debates on free trade, free movement of labour and capital between countries, economic blocs and economic integration and global income inequality vs. equity