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Welcome to the 3rd edition of Wednesday Wisdoms by EdGenie!

Every Wednesday I send out actionable tips, tricks and real-world application insights from my 13-year experience coaching students to achieve As and A* in their Economics and Business A Levels.

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Your Economics Struggles: Let's Get Real

Complex economic concepts can be challenging to understand.
The primary reason?
A phenomenon known as "Lack of Context."
Suppose you're learning about monopolies. Monopolies are entities that exclusively supply a particular commodity or service.
However, without concrete, real-world examples, the concept remains a mystery.
Like understanding Amazon's dominance in the e-commerce industry.
Or the impact a large supermarket chain can have on local businesses.
Without these relatable examples, economics can seem dull and complicated.
It becomes detached from your day-to-day life.
This leads to confusion, disinterest, and ultimately, the risk of underperforming in the classroom.
So how can we resolve this?
Understanding complex economic concepts is not just about memorising definitions and diagrams - it's about relating them to the world around us.

Let's explore 4 ways you can use real-world context to deepen your understanding of economics:

  1. Knowledge: Whenever you're learning a new concept, use real industries or products to illustrate it. For instance, when understanding the concept of a Current Account deficit, refer to the fact that the UK had a deficit of -5.3% of GDP in 2022. This helps anchor the definition in reality.
  2. Diagrams: Connect your theoretical diagrams to real-world examples. For example, when looking at the Allocative Efficiency (P=MC) diagram for a Monopoly, consider how big pharmaceutical companies can charge high prices due to their market dominance and hence don't produce at that low price.
  3. Analysis: Get in the habit of conducting detailed analyses using real-life scenarios. For instance, examine the impact of a potential increase in Corporation Tax to 25% on businesses - consider their competitiveness vs other countries (UAE has 9% Corporation Tax). Would this lead to potential job losses, and how it may impact overall economic growth?
  4. Evaluation: Lastly, take a step back and evaluate the bigger picture, considering different perspectives and conditions. So, in the previous Corporation Tax example, understand that only firms earning above £250,000 would be impacted by the tax increase. This contextual understanding is key to a nuanced perspective.

Remember, every economic theory you learn has a real-world application.
By connecting the dots between the theory and its application, you not only gain a deeper understanding of economics, but you also start to appreciate how it influences the world around you.
There are students from other sixth forms using EdGenie who dedicate 5-6 hours every day because they want to succeed! You're in the same arena, charting your own path towards your future.
Keep going. Keep pushing. You're on your way to becoming a success!

UK Interest Rates: Crashing the economy is no way to bring down inflation


  • Interest Rate Hike: The Bank of England (BoE) has increased interest rates to 5.25%, aligning with similar actions by the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. The UK's inflation rate is currently higher than both the US and the eurozone.
  • Monetary Policy Concerns: The BoE aims to decrease household spending by reducing demand to match supply and curbing inflation. This strategy could also increase unemployment as a means to decrease wage demands, even though the UK has historically achieved low inflation with low unemployment.
  • Moral and Economic Implications: Critics argue that the BoE's current approach could harm living standards and the broader economy. Creating unemployment may lead to economic scars like lost skills and diminished industrial capability.
  • External Inflationary Pressures: Current inflation isn't just due to high demand; factors such as Brexit, the Ukraine war, higher food and energy prices, and structural issues like labour shortages due to increased economic inactivity play a role. Addressing these challenges may require more health sector investments and a well-funded NHS.
  • Alternative Approaches: Other countries, like Spain, have used price controls effectively to manage inflation. The BoE's current policies might be compounding issues, suggesting the need for more controlled pricing and long-term investments in health, skills, and productivity for sustainable economic growth.

A Level Economics Questions:

Q: How can a rise in interest rates by a central bank, such as the Bank of England, affect consumer spending and borrowing behaviors?
A: A rise in interest rates can lead to an increase in the cost of borrowing. Consequently, consumers may reduce taking on new loans or credit, leading to decreased consumer spending. Additionally, those with variable-rate loans or mortgages will find their repayments increase, reducing their disposable income. This could further reduce consumer spending as they have less money to spend on goods and services.

Q: According to the article, how does the Bank of England perceive the relationship between unemployment and inflation?
A: External events, such as geopolitical tensions, can disrupt trade flows, create uncertainties, and potentially lead to shortages of goods or increased costs. In the case of the Ukraine war, it could lead to disruptions in energy supplies, especially if the country is a significant provider. Brexit, on the other hand, could lead to changes in trade dynamics, tariffs, and supply chain disruptions. Such factors can increase costs for businesses, and these are often passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, leading to inflation.

Q: Highlight the structural problems in the UK mentioned in the article that contribute to inflationary pressures.
A: The article identifies structural problems in the UK such as labour shortages due to increases in economic inactivity. This is a result of more individuals over the age of 50 leaving the workforce and rises in ill health. Such labour shortages can put upward pressure on wages as employers may need to offer higher salaries to attract and retain workers, which can then be passed on to consumers as higher prices.
Q:Based on the article, how can investment in the health sector potentially alleviate inflationary pressures?
A: The article suggests that new investments in the health sector can help alleviate hospital waiting lists. A better-funded NHS would contribute to a healthier workforce. By addressing health-related issues, more individuals could remain active in the workforce, mitigating the current limits on labor supply due to poor health. As the labor supply increases or becomes more efficient, the upward pressure on wages, and subsequently on prices, might be reduced, helping to alleviate inflationary pressures.

Possible A Level Economics 25 Marker Question

Evaluate the potential short-term and long-term economic impacts of a central bank's decision to significantly raise interest rates. Consider both the domestic economy and any possible international repercussions.

Infographic of the Week

Which countries are more reliant on coal?

Despite global efforts to decarbonize, coal still represents over 80% of primary energy use, with emerging economies heavily relying on it. In 2022, South Africa was the most coal-dependent, at 69%. China and India were the top coal consumers, with China's power sector consuming a third of the global total. However, developed countries like the U.S. and parts of the EU have reduced coal consumption, with the U.S. experiencing a 50% drop since the early 2010s. The International Energy Agency forecasts that coal demand will remain at 2022 levels until 2025, then decline.

Chart of the Week

This week's chart of the week highlights a new visualisation of European inflation: tracking the proportion of countries experiencing steeper or more limited price increases at a given moment.
The chart depicts the extent of price increases in the eurozone over the past four years by categorizing nations based on annualized quarter-on-quarter inflation rates: less than 2% (green), 2-4% (amber), 4-8% (red), and above 8% (dark red). Prior to April 2021, the majority (70%) of eurozone countries experienced minimal inflation. However, by spring 2022, all countries in the eurozone fell into the top two inflationary categories. While 2023 generally witnessed a disinflationary trend due to tighter monetary policies, there was a notable surge in inflation in April and May.

Macroeconomic Data

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A huge thanks for hopping on board EdGenie's Wednesday Wisdoms newsletter! 
I'm Emre, and I've got a big goal - to make A* education accessible to all A-level students.
And it Starts With You!

Emre Aksahin
Chief Learning Officer at Edgenie