Economics

Monmouth School for Girls Business Studies

Why study Economics?

Economics is concerned with the key issues facing us today, including globalisation, pollution and poverty. It is essentially about choice: why different sorts of people and groups of people, such as governments, have to make choices; the choices that they make, and the consequences of those choices. The work of economists transforms our lives – if you are a firm, consumer, worker, homeowner or the government you are concerned with, and affected by, economics.  Economics teaches students to think logically and to use theories to understand how economies operate. You will be taught methods used by economists and how to understand issues such as inflation, unemployment, pollution, demand and supply, exchange rates, interest rates, and the difficult decisions the UK Government face when they attempt to steer the economy in a chosen direction.

Not a day goes by without issues relating to economics being reported in the media:

  • ‘The UK’s recession will be long and deep’
  • ‘Worst economic downturn since 1945’
  • ‘Government puts VAT back up to 17.5%’
  • ‘Chancellor puts 50% tax on top earners’
  • ‘Government borrowing rockets to £178 billion’
  • ‘Passengers to pay pollution tax on flights’
  • ‘The value of the pound plummets against the Euro’
  • ‘Price of petrol rises to over £1 a litre’
  • ‘Exports fall as global slump tightens its grip’
  •  ‘Unemployment reaches 12 year high’
  • ‘UK house prices start to rise’
  • ‘Bank of England slashes interest rates to record low of 0.25 %’

Studying economics can be compared to studying medicine. Medical students learn about the human body, what can go wrong and how to remedy it. Economics students learn how an efficient economy, and markets in the economy, should work; how market failure can occur and how governments can seek to improve economic performance.

A level Economics requires a reasonable level of numeracy, but it is not mathematical.  It has a fair amount of conceptual thinking, with the main skill being the ability to analyse economic data, interpret graphs and tables, identify trends and explain these using economic theory, often through diagrams. The ability to see how one economic policy (e.g. low inflation) may affect other parts (e.g. employment) is paramount. This requires a clear mind and an ability to think and analyse logically and to write good English. The course is considered to be a ‘gold standard’ – an academic course that is well respected and liked by universities.

Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls currently follow a different specification.

Head of Department: Ms M Attrill

Course content

Board: Eduqas   A level syllabus code: A510QS

Opportunity cost  Production possibility boundaries
Demand and supply theory Labour markets
Resource allocation and market failure Macroeconomic theory
Macroeconomic objectives Policy instruments
International trade Competition and competitive behaviour
Cost revenue and profits Market structures
Evaluating economic models and policies Evaluation of macroeconomic objectives
Policy instruments and their failings Global economics
Trade and protectionism Non-UK economies
Economic development  

Method of assessment

Method of assessment

Assessment in Economics is structured through four main types of questions:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions
  2. Structured Short Answer Questions
  3. Data Response Questions
  4. Essay Questions

A comparison of Economics and Business studies

Economics is a social science that attempts to explain how the actions and decisions of firms, consumers and workers and governments affect the operation of the economy.  It plays a huge role in our daily lives; it has links to international affairs and politics and is a subject that is often debated and discussed.  It requires a fair deal of analysis and includes topics such as supply and demand, growth, inflation, globalisation and exchange rates.

Business studies are more concerned with the actions and decisions taken by firms and focuses on topics such as marketing, staff in the organisation, accounting and finance, management, strategy and production methods.   Business students will also have to cover some Economics, as it affects how businesses operate in their external environments.

Although Business is not free from theory, it is less theoretical than Economics.  Out of the two subjects Economics is considered to be the more academic by employers and universities.  Business requires less understanding than Economics, but it by no means an easy subject; instead it involves more learning and therefore has more work to cover, and a great deal of new terminology to grapple with. Therefore you might say that Economics course has more depth, with the Business course having more breadth. 

You do not need to be great at maths for either of these courses.  However, for Economics, being comfortable with numbers is desirable due to the need to study graphs and economic data; the Business course actually requires a greater use of numbers – through the Accounting and Finance module – and therefore being comfortable with numbers is essential.  Given the nature of the topics covered, a degree in Economics or Business can take you into almost any occupation.  According to a recent survey, although Business is the most popular degree course in the UK, Economics students are the second highest paid graduates in the country!