The subject involves the formulation and understanding of theoretical concepts, but the theories are applied to real-world examples to give it a much more applied flavour. Economics is not a discrete subject, since it incorporates elements of Geography, History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Studies and many other related fields of study.
Over 60% of the Sixth Form choose to study Economics at either Higher or Standard Level.
Economists occupy an important position in society, advising political, social and business leaders on how best to achieve their goals. Whatever the challenge in today’s working world – in fields as varied as healthcare, sport and diplomacy – having an economist’s toolkit seems to be a prerequisite. Economics examines decision-making under scarcity by scrutinising the links between everyday human activities (the work we do, the things we buy) and national and global economic forces. By studying economics, you will learn to develop models of behaviour to predict how people will act, and then to deploy those models in real world situations. You will also develop an appreciation of the impact on individuals and societies of economic interactions between nations, and an awareness of development issues facing nations as they undergo the process of change.
Approximately 130 students study economics in each year of the Sixth Form and we have a well-established department with a deep pool of resources. We aim to make the course challenging, engaging and relevant to the real world. There is no presumption of prior knowledge and no requirement for students to have studied economics before.
The Economics course covers Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Development Economics and International Economics; these are studied as an integrated whole rather than as discrete topics. Microeconomics examines economic decision-making from the bottom-up by looking at the incentives and puzzles faced by individuals, firms and governments: how they can accrue and deploy scarce resources, what makes them choose to operate in one market rather than another; and what governments might do when free markets let us down. Macroeconomics looks at the economy top-down by examining how whole economies operate, in particular by looking at the main macroeconomic indicators you might read about in the newspapers (growth, unemployment, inflation and trade) and the ways in which governments can influence these indicators. International Economics finds itself highly topical in the age of Brexit and Trump, as it examines trade policies, exchange rates and the extent of economic integration between different countries. Development Economics gives students an appreciation for the specific challenges faced by less developed countries as they pursue greater prosperity: how they can measure their development and how – through their own domestic actions and by the intervention of foreign countries and NGOs – this process can be influenced. The widely reported acceleration of global inequality makes this final paper very engaging.
Throughout the course two key questions are posed: is this the most efficient way of doing things, and is this the fairest way of doing things? To develop their appreciation of the subtleties of these questions, students will take an active interest in current affairs and have the chance to participate in various trips, external competitions and extension classes.
Head of Department: Dr Hugh McCormickham@sevenoaksschool.org