A Level Economics

What is the course about?

Economics is about choice and the impact of our choices on each other. It relates to every aspect of our lives, from the decisions we make as individuals or families to the structures created by governments and firms. The economic way of thinking can help us make better choices. One of the most interesting areas of economics lies in studying the economic problems facing governments and the economic policies that governments use to try to get rid of or reduce the problems. Economic problems can be microeconomics or macroeconomic, though some have both micro and macro elements.

At the micro level, the main problems like in the field of market failure. Market failure occurs whenever markets do not perform very well – and in extreme cases fail to perform at all. Perhaps the best-known recent and current market failure stems from environmental pollution and subsequent global warming. We shall be examining a number of different government policies aimed at correcting market failures. These include taxation, subsidies and the use of regulations. We shall also explain how government failure results when government policies are ineffective or even downright damaging.

At the macro level, the main economic problems are unemployment, a failure to achieve and sustain a satisfactory rate of economic growth inflation and an unsatisfactory trading and balance of payments position. We shall explore how fiscal policy, monetary policy and supply-side policy are used to try to tackle these problems.

Who might the course suit?

Economics is a current-affairs subject, so it will help if you can become interested in what is going on in the country you live in, and also in the wider world.

How much maths do I need to know?

For A-level economics, you do not need to learn any more maths skills over and above those that you learnt at GCSE, but you do need to develop analytical and quantitative skills in economics when ‘selecting, interpreting and using appropriate data from a range of sources’. Assessment of quantitative skills make up about 20% of the overall A-level.

What might the course lead to?

Economists are employed by a wide range of different employers – you could work in the financial sector, for a tech company, an economic consultancy, or the government.

Most students who take an Economics A-Level and then go on to do an Economics based degree do not work as economists. Instead, they use their skills in a diverse range of careers: Analysis (financial, market, data), Public policy, Consulting, Accountancy, Research, Charity/development, Market regulation. Economics students are amongst the highest earners when they graduate. The three sectors most needing economics skills are the public sector, tech (think Amazon and Google) and health. The biggest recruiter of students with economics skills isn’t a bank – it’s the NHS.