The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a dynamic social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.
The course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.
The ethical dimensions involved in the application of economic theories and policies permeate throughout the economics course as students are required to consider and reflect on human end-goals and values.
The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.
At both standard level and higher level, candidates are required to study four topics: microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and development economics with some sub-topics within these reserved solely for higher level. These sections are assessed by two examinations at standard level and three examinations at higher level.
In addition to the examinations, candidates must submit an internal assessment. Both standard level and higher level economics students must produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on articles from published news media.
From the IB Economics Subject Guide
This course is a two year course. During the junior year, students learn basic economic principles from microeconomics and macroeconomics with minimal introduction to international economics. Students take a mandated End of Course Test at the end of the year that covers the basic economics found in any econ class.
The first semester of the senior year is a more in-depth study of international economics as well as the more advanced microeconomic concepts contained in Theory of the Firm. Students will also learn the Higher Level (HL) equations and begin to work with them. Additionally, students work independently on their Internal Assessments (IAs). Second semester is almost exclusively an independent study endeavor. Students have two major projects that they will work on in addition to their final IAs. They will also be responsible to use their knowledge from micro, macro, and international economics to teach themselves the concepts contained within the unit called "developing economies."
The senior year culminates with the IB exams in May.