EconFather Blog

See Economics everywhere!

July 4, 2021 - 3 min read

I’ve always enjoyed economic theory for its own sake – and I do still have friends! The logic and method of the subject inherently appeal to me, and it’s no accident that those who are adept in Maths typically thrive in Economics too.

However, Economics is most readily understood (and at its most important – think policy making) when applied in real world contexts.

The past few years have seen the popularising of our subject through the writings of authors such as “the greatest economic story teller of our time” Tim Harford, whose books such as the Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life have brought our subject vividly to life through its applications in a wide variety of contexts and have emphasised the power of the concept of rationality.  Behavioural economics has also emerged, showing that drawing on “predictable irrationalities” can be pretty powerful too.

The application of Economics makes it much more accessible to our students.  I often take photographs of things that I come across in daily life that I can use for lesson starters.  The price comparison board in my local Wetherspoons, which is sandwiched between two other pubs, is a classic example.  Students find as many explanations as possible of the price differences (both on the cost and demand sides) and we discuss the reasons why three pubs may choose to cluster together.  Pricing power is a particularly fruitful area: I once negotiated my energy bill down live in a lesson!

When we ourselves see Economics everywhere, we help our students to do the same.  Their understanding deepens and they learn examples that are invaluable in exams, both as application and in supporting evaluative judgements.  Applying the subject consistently may well be the biggest success indicator that our students can display.

Through conversation with teachers around the country I’ve recently attempted to distil the study habits of highly effective Economics students.  Here are the five key headings I’ve arrived at:

  • Apply
  • Deepen
  • Broaden
  • Question (and answer)
  • Review

Newly available on this website is a free full colour wall display based on these study habits.  You can order your copy here: https://economicsfactory.com/product/free-wall-display/

I’m also excited to be publishing a new volume of Economics Today for 2021-22.  It covers A-level theory in a huge range of contexts and fosters these effective study habits.  Please visit https://economicsfactory.com/product-category/economics-today/ for further details.

Let’s share the love of Economics with our students and help them to see Economics everywhere!