Economics (H): A testing paper with good choice

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Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2022 Economics (Higher Level) by Keith Hannigan, Economics teacher at The Institute of Education.

Coming in at 38 pages, this paper was very long and could have been overwhelming for some students.

This style of the paper continued with the new way of not displaying the marks beside individual questions.

Newer parts of the syllabus were represented well, including market failures (short questions) and sustainability (long question).

Although very diverse, there were at least five nice short questions which would have suited students and the choice here would have really helped them too.

The format of the long questions meant that multiple topics on the course were combined in some questions. Because of this it was important that students read questions right to the very end before they started.

Most students however would have found three long questions that suited them.

SECTION A: Short Questions:

Like last year, students had to answer five out of ten questions. Normally they will have to answer eight out of eight.

Question 1 was a lovely question on elasticity. It was a nice start to the paper and required a simple calculation.

Question 3 focused on minimum unit pricing on alcohol. It was a good, topical theme and nice to get students’ opinions on this issue.

Question 5 looked at demographics, the fact that there will be over 1 million people over 65 living in Ireland by 2031, and the impact that this will have. Again, this was very current and topical.

Question 7 was on recent trends on interest rates, and functions of the ECB. It was nice and straightforward, and required textbook knowledge.

Question 8 was quite a business style question and focused on the black economy and the fact that there are supply chain issues for illegal fireworks in Ireland. Again, this was nice and topical, and if students keep in touch with the general news, they would have had insight here.

Question 9 was again very textbook oriented and focused on the benefits and costs to the consumer of solar panels.

Section B- Extended Response Questions:

Like last year, students had to answer three out of six questions. Normally they will have to answer four out of five.

The first half of question 11 was quite standard and focused on the factor of production land. It then moved on to the benefits of the government supporting regional development, such as financing regional airline services.

Question 12 was on market structure, focusing on monopoly and oligopoly, and also touching on other areas including electric cars and the planning permission for data centres.

Question 13 was more concise and looked at taxation. The last part of the question was nice and topical, asking for students’ opinions on whether this new tax should affect all firms, or just large firms.

Question 15 focused on how quotas and subsidies affect the milk supply chain and how Brexit has affected trade between Ireland and the UK. While most of the question was on trade, the last part changed its focus to fiscal policy, a different part of the course, which some students may have found more challenging.

Question 16 was nice and looked at sustainability and what the government and citizens can do to move to a more low carbon economy. It also focused on reducing the impact of fast fashion on the environment.