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Hints and Approaches to H1 and H2 A Level Economics Essay Questions for Practice

H1 and H2 A Level Economics Essay Questions for Practice (Hints and Approaches)

Essay Questions: Quick Recap and Introduction

These are the promised Economics hints (covering Economics concepts, definitions, ideas, arguments, and logical approaches) for the Economics essay questions for practice posted in my earlier post. 

(Do please see the bottom of this page for the relevant links if you want to refer to that post.)

Suggested Economics Tutor's Hints

Q: "Protectionism is better than free trade.” Discuss. [15]

HINT: Define protectionism, and international trade. List and explain various methods of protectionism (tariffs, quotas, subsidies). Talk about gains from trade, and maybe terms of trade. Thesis argument: protectionism is better than free trade. Why? Think about the infant industry argument and other arguments you could use. Anti-thesis argument: on the other hand, free trade is beneficial. Why? Define comparative advantage, opportunity cost. Show the diagram for the small country case, demonstrating deadweight loss from tariffs. You may discuss quotas too. Discuss other reasons why trade is beneficial. Be sure to give examples from Singapore/China/USA/UK. Conclude with a justified argument – which is better, why, or are both equally important?  

Q: Explain how imperfect information can lead to market failure, using examples from Singapore. [10]

HINT: Define market failure, and imperfect information. Define merit and demerit goods also. Explain how this leads to market failure – overconsumption (in what case?) and underconsumption (in what case?). Draw and explain diagrams. Use examples from Singapore, such as healthcare (Medisave, Medishield), etc. You may bring in other areas if you wish. List other forms of market failures. Other forms of market failures are important too, such as externalities. How would you conclude?  

Q: Explain comparative advantage and why international trade is beneficial for countries. [10]

HINT: Define comparative advantage and international trade. Talk about gains from trade, and terms of trade. Free trade is beneficial. Why? Demonstrate that countries can consume outside their PPC (on the PPC is for the autarky case) when their consumption possibilities increase (the trade case has CPC); draw diagrams. Explain the diagrams. Can also show the diagram for the small country case, demonstrating deadweight loss from tariffs; argue that protectionism is bad. Define and explain protectionism briefly. Discuss other reasons why trade is beneficial. Be sure to give examples from Singapore or China/USA/UK. 

Q: Explain the likely demand and supply factors affecting the oil (petroleum) market. [10]

HINT: Define demand and supply; talk about market prices and equilibrium output and how these are determined. Factors affecting the demand for oil are: derived demand (define), substitutes and complements (define), population changes, expectations, and rising incomes. Which of these is most likely? Factors affecting the supply of oil are: cost of production, expectations on the part of producers, number of firms, and government policies on the part of OPEC producers.  Which of these is most likely? Draw the demand and supply diagram with simultaneous shifts, explain it, and conclude your essay.

Q: Explain the difference between public goods and merit goods, using examples from the United Kingdom. [10]

HINT: Define public goods and merit goods. Define market failure, and say that these are instances of market failure. Why? Public goods are non rival and non excludable – leading to P = MC = 0 and also to the free rider problem, respectively. Give UK examples. Merit goods are goods that have positive externalities or due to imperfect information are underconsumed. Give UK examples (see next question for further hints). What is the difference, based on the explanations that you have written? Which is the most important difference?

Q: Explain using economic theory why in the United Kingdom, entry to national museums and art galleries is free and tickets to the opera are subsidised. [10]

HINT: Define public good and merit goods, and define market failure. The central problem here is underconsumption. National museums and art galleries can be considered quasi-public goods or merit goods. Why (for each of the possibilities), justification? Opera can be considered a merit good. Why, justification? Talk about imperfect information and positive externalities. Talk about a paternalistic state; talk about government intervention. Conclude.

Q: Discuss how the Singapore government deals with negative externalities in Singapore. [10]

HINT: Define market failure, externalities in general, and talk about negative externalities in particular. Focus on car congestion, cigarette smoking for this paper to make it easier. Draw the negative externality diagram and explain why it is a problem. What should the government do? Either impose taxes or quotas. Define those, explain, show. For congestion in particular, talk about ERP and COE. Conclude with the limitations of government policies.

Q: Explain how fiscal policy in the USA can be used to increase the circular flow of income in the USA. [10]

HINT: Define fiscal policy, and circular flow. Draw the circular flow diagram. Explain it. When G is increased, what happens to the circular flow? When corporate taxes are lowered, what happens to I, and in turn what happens to circular flow?  I, G, X are injections, and S, T, M are withdrawals. Talk about net injections and net withdrawals, but focus on injections. Give examples from the USA. (You may also in the course of the essay, define and discuss GDP, national income, standard of living.)

JC Economics Essays - Economics Tutor's Comments: These are some suggested hints (possible approaches, possible ideas/ concepts/ logic/ economics materials) to the Economics essay questions posted earlier (with a few general instructions, ideas, and pointers/tips for students). Do remember to think through them, and see if there are other Economics ideas, concepts, and approaches that you could use in addition to those provided by Economics tutors. 

For the earlier post on JC Economics Essays' questions for practice: H1 and H2 A Level Economics Essay Questions for Practice. 

For ease of reference, here is my List of Economics Exam Questions for Practice. Note that these questions are practical, heuristic, and training questions that test fundamental Economics understanding and fundamental, basic application. Some students have kindly, and rightly, pointed out that these questions in the "List" are for training purposes, and not all are reflective of the rigour of A levels or introductory undergraduate Economics - true!  

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