The proposed dates and locations for our popular programme of exam technique coaching & revision workshops for AS & A2 Economics in 2013/14 are now available. The details are listed below together with important information about changes in way that bookings are processed.
Please note that for 2013/14, we are taking confirmed bookings only. Places are allocated on a strictly first-confirmed basis. Once each screen capacity is filled, the event is full and no further bookings can be accepted.read more...»
Another RES short video from Bob Denham at Econ Films. The size and location of cities follows a clear pattern -- you just need to look at them from far enough away. Wen-Tai Hsu of the National University of Singapore shows this with the help of economics. This research received the Austin Robinson Memorial Prize at the Royal Economic Society annual conference in April 2013. Some important themes mentioned here for students of economic geography.
This week I was delighted to travel down to Stratford upon Avon to join the annual gathering of the BASS group of schools. BASS stands for Boys Academically Selective Schools and draws schools from a large geographical range of schools across the UK. The setting at King Edward VI School, Stratford upon Avon was stunning - our conference venue is reputed to have been Shakespeare's classroom!
There are lots of these cluster meetings held at this time of year. As the exam season reaches a conclusion, many teachers are preparing schemes of work, crafting new lesson ideas and drawing up plans for supporting their students as they bid for university places.
My talk focused on some of the strategies that I have used in recent years to aid the many students in my own school who are ambitious to win places to read Economics and related disciplines on hugely competitive courses. Here is the essence of what I covered - I am pleased to say that we have used all twelve of them in the last year - offering a large number of students an opportunity to invest some of their hard-pressed time in some enrichment and extension projects.
The vast majority of our students apply for university courses. At a time when a given set of grades are almost taken as a given by admissions tutors, finding a competitive edge in the application process is given added currency with every passing year. But most of all, these added activities are fun to do and enrich our own teaching.
The overall challenge ........ 12 suggestions for academic challenge and enrichment....................
I am using Professor Niall Ferguson’s Reith Lectures as a holiday homework for my more able A-Level students.
There are just a few days until we gather at the Henry Wellcome Foundation Conference Centre, Euston Road for our annual conference. A few places remain. We've put together what we hope you'll agree is a wonderful programme combined with a simply unbeatable delegate rate!read more...»
Here's a teaching resource suggested by one of our colleagues who attended the Wow Economics CPD event in Birmingham last week. We were discussing a resource called the Average Wage game (available as an individual download from this website) which asks students to categorise occupations into those jobs with pay above the national average and those below the national average (as per the latest available statistics from the Office of National Statistics, November 2012).
One delegate suggested that they had used a similar resource which starts by asking students to rank occupations in an order which reflects their relative value to society (ignoring, initially, any notion of wages or pay). Having ranked the occupations from the 'most' to the 'least' valuable, the teacher then shows the students the average wage paid to people working in those occupations and leads a discussion on how many of the most 'valued' occupations pay among the least wages.
This is a fantastic starter activity to initiate conversations about wage determination and equality of pay. You may also find this as a good discussion point over the coming weeks when introducing some A2 concepts to AS students.
Click on this link to download the Tutor2u version of this resource developed directly from our delegate's suggestion.
The Wow Economics event has its last airing this Wednesday in London. An all-new version of the resource-packed day will be advertised soon in time for the new academic year.
I'm introducing my year 12 classes to poverty and income inequality next week, and this worksheet should test out their ability to draw a Lorenz curve from data.
One of the positive spillovers of the global financial and economic crisis has been a renewed willingness to challenge conventional wisdom (to use the famous phrase of the much loved JK Galbraith) and instead consider challenger ideas in economic policy-making and business models. The standard AS and A2 syllabus is notoriously slow to respond to this and is anyway playing something like a zero-sum game. New material and topics almost inevitably means that something else might have to go.
I am doing a little background research on some interesting ideas and contemporary writers mainly in economics and plan to put it together in the coming days and weeks as an enrichment resource for my own students many of whom are considering taking an economics course at university. Restricting myself to at most 25 separate writers / academics / thinkers - the draft version is shown below but remains a work in progress. It is in no particular order of significance.read more...»
The Financial Times website has published a new special report on their selection of 50 Top Business Ideas. I am linking below to the supporting video content which might be of interest to teachers and students who want to explore which ideas have made it into the final choice!read more...»
Stats guru and political forecaster Nate Silver reveals in a talk at the RSA why most predictions fail, and shows how we can isolate a true "signal" from a universe of increasingly big and noisy data
The exam season is in full swing but I know that many colleagues find this time of the year is an opportunity to re-calibrate their schemes of work, refresh their school library bookshelves and update their teaching resources ahead of a new academic year.
Miners made redundant from Maltby Colliery in Yorkshire many of whom with decades of experience faced years on the unemployment register when the mine closed earlier in 2013. But some have been thrown a lifeline with the rising demand for miners in the UK potash industry.
SPOTTING and identifying new species is always exciting. And the last couple of years has seen the emergence of a new type of economic commentator, the recovery denier. Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, wrote a piece at the end of last year in which he compared the current situation to that of the 1930s. On Newsnight recently, another Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz poured scorn on my assertion that the US economy has recovered.
But what does the data tell us? In the 1930s, output in America fell by nearly 30 per cent from its 1929 peak. This time, the fall was only 3 per cent, and the level of output is now higher than it was below the crash. The latest US labour market figures show continued growth in employment. Over 5m net new jobs have been created over the past three years, all of which have been in the private sector. Unemployment has just fallen to a four year low.
FOOD banks are a rapidly growing phenomenon in the UK. A few years ago, they barely existed, but an estimated half a million people now make use of them every week. On the face of it, it seems that poverty has sadly become endemic since the financial crisis, with many families unable even to feed themselves. Real incomes have declined since 2007, putting pressure on household budgets. But the pace of increasing demand is surprising.
In fact, the food bank is a market. It is, however, complex – with particular features which mean that it is likely to grow rapidly, exactly as we have seen. The key point is that food is not the only commodity traded.
IT’S not all fun and games at the Co-op Bank. Just over a month ago, the bank was serious about acquiring 632 branches from Lloyds. Now its debt has been downgraded six notches to junk status, and veteran HSBC banker Niall Booker has been brought in as replacement chief executive after Barry Tootell resigned.
Inquests have begun, and it is only human nature to look for a scapegoat other than the large amount lost on the bank’s new IT system. Management has delved into its hat, and, hey presto, here is the old Britannia Building Society, merged with the Co-op in 2009. It is, we are solemnly told, the bad debts on the Britannia’s commercial property portfolio which are the problem.
The scale of the new London Gateway Super deepwater Port is truly stunning and its importance to the economy as a trading nation is hard to underestimate - Britain will have a new world class hub port in a key location impacting on many trades and services in and around the South East and beyond. It has taken 10 years to establish and build this huge new infrastructure project, building eventually started in 2008.
Behind the port sits Europe's largest logistics park connected to the South east by road and rail.
This Financial Times news video looks at the background to the project - it is a good example to consider of the macroeconomic consequences of the investment. What price a new Thames Estuary airport (supported by Boris Johnson) to amplify the transformative impact in the years ahead?read more...»
It was a delight to spend yesterday at Headingley Carnegie, the home of Leeds Rhinos - Super League Champions in 2012. Together with the club and the Leeds Rugby Foundation, Tutor2u is developing a series of educational tours based at the historic sporting venue of Headingley and yesterday we were delighted to launch this project. Joining us for the day was Thomas Keneally, the Booker-prize winning author of Schlinder's Ark who is a rugby league fanatic and long-standing supporter of Manly in Australia.read more...»
Michelle, Graham, Jon, Ruth, Paul, Nikki and the test of the tutor2u team have just boarded the CPD tour bus for the final three weeks of our busy CPD programme for 2012/13. Coming up - the last ever opportunity to attend TBBLE 2013 and WOW! Economics 2013 - once these courses have run for the final time, we're back in the learning lab developing brand new teaching & learning resources for 2013/14!
The remaining dates/locations are as follows:
WOW! Economics 2013:
19 June 2013 Central London
Bimingham 11 June 2013
London 12 June 2013
The quickest way to grab one or more places on these courses will be to email Janet Cahill in the office (email@example.com) or call us on 0844 8000085.
Alternatively, download this printable booking form and fax it over to us on 01937 529236:
Coming up in exactly two weeks are our two enrichment days for Economics & Business Teachers - both in Central London at the Wellcome Conference Centre on Euston Road.
The Business Studies day on 25 June features keynote sessions with Gerald Ratner and Jonathan Moules together with our traditional entrepreneurs panel after lunch. The BTNC is our best-value Business Studies conference ever. Places are just £100 for a single delegate; £75 for two or more colleagues together; and just £50 for PGCE or NQTs!
Our line-up for the Economics Conference on Monday 24 June is equally exciting. We'll get to meet Linda Yueh, Tim Harford, Ed Conway, Stuart Block & Stephen King.
More details on each here:
...and finally, you might also like to attend one of our other CPD courses in London next week:
New to AQA AS Business Studies:
London 18 June 2013
Step up to AQA A2 Business Studies:
London 19 June 2013
Essential AS/A2 Economics:
London 20 June 2013
Unemployment is such a thought provoking topic for both AS and A2 Economics students. What looks like one topic actually breaks down into a series of smaller areas for discussion, once you start thinking about different types of unemployment.read more...»
Yesterday morning Bill Gates was a guest on BBC Radio 4's 'Saturday Live' programme. He was talking, mainly, about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the work that it does, the issues it faces in trying to target the most useful aid, the effectiveness of different types of aid and of aid in different continents, corruption... in other words, plenty of real work evidence of relevant topics for students preparing for unit 4 this week, especially for those who are taking Edexcel's paper which has such a heavy emphasis on Growth and Development. I strongly recommend listening to the interview via this link - 19 minutes really well spent!
Here are some links to resources covering the accession of Croatia to the European Union as the country becomes the 28th member nation of the EU Single Market. This BBC news article tracks Croatia's progress from isolation to full membership of the EU.read more...»
"All money is virtual, and always has been – because money is just a set of ideas."
What is the real nature of money? In his new book 'Money: The Unauthorised Biography', Felix Martin suggests the modern approach to money - what we think it is and how it works - is wrong. He tells the FT's Andrew Hill why the conventional economic view is misguided and dangerous. Martin believes that we should view money as a social technology, a set of ideas and practices for organising society.
Martin argues that we shouldn't be afraid of using monetary policy as a deliberate technique for the re-distribution of income and wealth, for example for using higher inflation targets for "sweating off debt" as an alternative to persistent austerity. How might a different (unconventional) conception of money affect the types of banking system that we might want to emerge after the crisis? To what extent should the state radically narrow the range of financial institutions to which it is prepared to offer emergency financial help?read more...»
For international transactions conducted online through eBay, the distance between buyers and sellers is far less important than for
offline trade. That is the central finding of research by Marcelo Olarreaga and colleagues, to be presented at the TIGER Forum 2013.
Their study shows that eBay reduces ‘information frictions’ and establishes trust between market participants that would not otherwise
have traded. What’s more, the gains from the adoption of eBay are largest in those parts of the world where they are most needed – in
remote countries with bad institutions that make it difficult for sellers to create a good reputation.
This suggests that e-commerce can become a development tool by helping remote sellers from unstable countries integrate into world markets. Export promotion agencies in these countries should probably redirect part of their effort towards connecting producers to online markets.
The political controversy over corporate tax avoidance from many of the world's biggest transnational businesses is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Google, Amazon and Starbucks and Apple have all come under intense scrutiny.
Network Rail is a state owned business whose debts are backed up by government. Network Rail owns and operates the UK's railway infrastructure. Their stated objective is "Building a safer, smarter, bigger, greener network – every day."
It is achieving rising
revenues but remains heavily reliant on state subsidy -
there is plenty of applied business economics in this article if you read through. It runs a network
creaking under capacity constraints - passenger numbers are growing well ahead of forecast. 529 million more passenger journeys per year have been completed on time compared to 2002 but Network Rail faces problems over failing to meet tougher punctuality targets.
The pricing of carbon emissions needs to be sensitive to both long-run climate outcomes and short-term concerns about the macroeconomy. Research by Reyer Gerlagh and Matti Liski reconciles these two timeframes and comes up with optimal prices of between €20 and €130 per ton of carbon dioxide.
The emergence of a competitor product can often send shock-waves through markets of established products where profits have been more or less guaranteed for decades. Will e-cigarettes have a similar effect on the tobacco industry? And is this an emerging industry in need of greater government regulation and taxation?
As an example of collusion, this news article showing alleged price fixing by Canadian chocolate manufacturers and their wholesale distributors illustrates how highly-dominant firms can impact against the public interest.
Reading this article and admitting that chocolate is the closest product that I consume which exhibits addictive qualities (apart from coffee and salt-laden crisps that is) it struck me that this perhaps could be used as an evaluative argument when considering the case for legalisation of slightly stronger narcotics. One argument for legalising cannabis is that tax revenue can be accrued and there would be a reduction in crime given the lowering of prices (and consequential drop in burglary and stealing to pay for the relatively expensive habit). This reduction in price, it could be argued, might only occur if the newly formed legal market for cannabis is highly competitive and doesn't suffer from oligopolistic distribution conditions like chocolate does in Canada (or in the UK, for that matter).
Just a thought. Now, where's the other half of that Twirl?
An updated version of my EU economy study companion is being researched and written at the moment - but in case this might be useful as a revision resource, here is a stream version of the January 2012 document.read more...»