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Ib economics ia rubric 2014

Jun 9, 2018

Rational thoughts never drive people's creativity the way emotions do. Neil deGrasse Tyson People are stubborn about what they perceive to be the right thing or the wrong thing, and it takes a long time to filter this human condition. There's a waiting period until people catch up. But if you have patience - which it takes when someone thinks differently from you - everybody always catches up. That patience is a wonderful virtue. Johnny Mathis Most people, if you live in a big city, you see some form of schizophrenia every day, and it's always in the form of someone homeless. 'Look at that guy - he's crazy. He looks dangerous.' Well, he's on the streets because of mental illness. He probably had a job and a home. Eric McCormack

My IB year 2 students are in the process of writing their second Internal Assessment commentary (IA), a major component of their grade in the course. Last spring they wrote a commentary on a microeconomic topic, and this time around they are investigating macroeconomic issues to write about. I thought I’d write a quick post to offer some advice for conducting a solid commentary on a macroeconomic topic.

First of all, it should be pointed out that finding a good article to write a macro commentary on should be very easy. Pretty much any newspaper (print or digital) is bound to have a couple of macro-related stories on its front page any day of the week. The tricky part, however, is choosing an article on a topic that interests you, the student. One place to start to look for the perfect article is on the Welker’s Wikinomics Universe page, which includes over 40 live streams from different economics news sources. You can be sure that the articles you find here are current and that the sources have already been filtered by an experienced Econ teacher, so they can generally be considered appropriate. 

WARNING: Make very sure that the article you are considering is NOT a blog post, a commentary or an editorial piece. It is strongly discouraged to write a commentary on another person’s commentary. One way to determine whether an article is a commentary is to look at the URL and if you see words like “blog” or “commentary” or “editorial”, or “opinion”, you should move on to another article.

I recommend my students choose an article about their own home country. This way, they have at least some vested interest in the issues they’re writing about.

Now, how to choose a good article. Below are some of the main themes in Macroeconomics that could serve as outstanding main ideas of an IB Economics commentary:

Economic growth:  The media is obsessed with GDP growth rates, perhaps because society seems to be equally obsessed. Any article about growth (or the opposite of growth, recession), can provide you with lots of points for analysis and evaluation.

The tradeoff between inflation and unemployment: This relationship is best illustrated in the Phillips Curve model. It’s easy to find evidence of this tradeoff in the press, as inflation and unemployment are just behind GDP as the macroeconomic indicators most mentioned in the news.

Income inequality: This is perhaps one of the MOST talked about economic topics in the news today. Rising Gini indexes in most developed economies indicate that inequality is growing, and this may be contributing to political and social discontent in the rich world.

Fiscal policies: This is a big one. With America’s “fiscal cliff” all over the news and the European debt crisis fresh on people’s minds, it is hard not to find articles about fiscal policy today.

Monetary policies: It’s really easy to find news articles in which central banks are mentioned. Whether it’s the “Fed” in the United States, the ECB in Europe, the People’s Bank of China, the Banke of England or the Indian National Bank, central banks are the masters of monetary policy, and the media follows their every move closely.

Supply-side policies: “Austerity” is a word heard often in Europe today. The fear over large budget deficits has led several European governments to reduce government expenditures drastically on public goods and social spending. This is having major impacts on the quality of life in many European countries, and leading to unrest (and even riots) in some cases.

The ideas above only scratch the surface of the potential areas of investigation a student could pursue in a Macroeconomics commentary. There is one model that ALL macro commentaries should employ, however, and that is the Aggregate Demand / Aggregate Supply model. Nearly every topic in this section of the course requires AD/AS analysis. Otherwise, there are several other models that could be used depending on what specific topic you are investigating. These are:

Have you already written a strong commentary on a macro topic? Would you like to your ideas about the assignment? Please post your own thoughts on this assignment below. If you have published your own commentary, feel free to post a link for others to see it!

About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use.

Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

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