Examination Board: AQA
Economics is a subject that is involved in all aspects of life, from current affairs and headline news to everyday decisions such as what to buy for lunch. Studying Economics enables you to develop an awareness of an enormous range of important issues such as the causes and effects of war, the impacts of Covid, the policies created to help society through pandemics, and the range of solutions available to solve climate change amongst others. Everyone starts Year 12 as a complete beginner in Economics, so you will all go on this journey of discovery and understanding together. By the end of Year 13, you will be experts on the theories and reasons behind how much of the world functions.
This year, over 80% of the girls who study Economics A-level have applied to study Economics at university, which shows how much students enjoy the subject in just two years of studying it.
The core idea of economic study is about decision making. The world and its citizens only have a finite number of resources, and Economics tries to answer the question: how do people, businesses, and governments make decisions when we can’t have or do everything we want?
Some of the questions we look to answer include:
• Should healthcare and education be free for all?
• How do taxes work and should UK taxes be changed?
• How can we solve the problem of pollution?
• Should certain people be paid significantly more than others?
• Was Brexit good for us economically?
• Do people behave irrationally and what actually motivates humans?
Economics is exciting because every lesson is rooted in current affairs and the “real world”. Students will become very comfortable with discussing the news and understanding the reasons behind certain events. A misconception about Economics is that it is very Maths heavy. While good GCSE results in Maths are a great indication that a pupil is suited to Economics, you do not need to study it as another of your A-levels to succeed in the subject. Whether or not you are planning to pursue the subject at university, studying Economics is extremely valuable. It is well regarded by all university departments across subjects as well as by companies when looking to hire graduates. This is due to its combination of logical reasoning with social analysis of key issues we currently face.
The course considers both microeconomics (the “small” study of people, businesses, and markets) and macroeconomics (the “big” study of entire economies). In microeconomics, we will study the choices people make about what to buy and sell, how demand and supply influence the pricing of everything, and whether the free market creates negative outcomes, such as traffic congestion or lack of available healthcare. Macroeconomics concerns the performance of the whole economy, helping you to understand countrywide issues such economic growth, inflation, and unemployment. We will also study the impact government economic policy has on the economy. For example, can we prevent future financial crises?
Unit 1: Individuals, Firms, Markets and Market Failure
This focuses on microeconomics and concentrates on the choices people make, particularly how and why the decisions that we make have an impact on those around us. We analyse the basic economic problem, looking at the constraints of allocating resources and satisfying the infinite wants everyone has. We also see how demand and supply within a market influence the pricing of any product in our economy and this unit will explore this relationship in more depth. Unfortunately, these market forces can, at times, create unfavourable outcomes for society. Some firms are happy to ignore the pollution they create in favour of earning greater profits. We look at why these “failures” occur and what governments can do to intervene.
The unit then moves onto ‘Theory of the Firm’ and investigating the economics of businesses and their market structures. How do firms decide what prices to set and do firms compete with one another?
Finally, we look at labour markets. Why do people get paid different wages? Is this fair? Why does the gender pay gap still exist and how can we solve it?
Unit 2: The National and International Economy
This concerns the performance of the whole economy. Studying macroeconomics will help you to understand economy-wide issues such as the causes of economic growth, inflation, and unemployment. You will also study the impact government economic policy has on the economy. For example, what are interest and exchange rates and how do they impact everyone?
The international economy involves an in-depth study of macroeconomics from a global perspective with a focus on trade, cooperation, and protectionism. We conclude the course looking at inequality within the UK and globally as well as how developing countries can catch up with the developed world.
In Year 13, we will use the tools you have learned to analyse and assess a wider variety of economic scenarios. In microeconomics, we will examine the decision-making of firms who make choices about what to produce and how to sell it, based on the economic environment around them. In macroeconomics, we will investigate inequality as well as venturing into the international economy, including a study of developing economies and their relationship with the developed world.
Economics is assessed with three two-hour exams with a mixture of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions.