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AS and A Level: Markets & Managing the Economy

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How do markets work?

  1. 1 Economics is the study of the allocation of resources so understanding how prices are set and the amount of resources used for any particular product is important.
  2. 2 Most resources are allocated by the free market. Adam Smith called this ‘the invisible hand’ as no one is in charge of it. It just happens through the interaction of millions of individual buyers and sellers, all working in their own best interest.
  3. 3 The price and amount produced are determined where the amount supplied equals the amount demanded. This is known as market equilibrium or the market clearing output.
  4. 4 Any changes to the supply of a good e.g. costs change, weather disrupts production or any change in demand e.g. a product goes into or out of fashion will cause a change in the equilibrium point and so lead to a change in price and output.
  5. 5 When discussing this, always start with the change in supply and demand and talk about the change to price and output this causes. Not the other way round.

What is market failure?

  1. 1 Markets do not work perfectly all the time. Several things can and do go wrong with its operation. One of these is market power. If individuals or groups of producers (or consumers to a lesser extent) have too much power, they can distort the market.
  2. 2 Externalities – The production and consumption of many goods has an external cost e.g. pollution that is paid by other people than those who consume or produce the product. To determine how much of this product should actually be produced or consumed for the greatest benefit to society, this cost should be taken into account as well.
  3. 3 Public goods – Some goods would not be produced at all by the free market as it is impossible to stop other people benefiting from them (the free rider problem). Examples include defence, light houses and street lights.
  4. 4 Merit goods – Some goods would be under-consumed if it was left to individuals to decide how much they wanted to spend on them. This is because they have external benefits to society beyond the private benefits e.g. we all benefit from an educated workforce.
  5. 5 Make sure you are comfortable with the market failure graphs and some of the other reasons for market failure e.g. information problems, immobility of the factors of production.

Five key facts about price elasticity of demand

  1. 1 Elasticity matters because it determines the importance of shifts in the demand and supply curves and helps with our understanding of how markets operate. In theory all demand and supply curves have different elasticises at different points along them. We are interested at their elasticity where they intersect.
  2. 2 Price elasticity of demand measures the responsiveness of demand to a change in price. The formula is the percentage change in quantity demanded divided by the percentage change in price.
  3. 3 Demand for a product is elastic if the percentage change in demand is greater then the percentage change in price e.g. a 10% price rise causes a 20% reduction in demand.
  4. 4 Demand for a product is inelastic if the percentage change in demand is less than the percentage change in price e.g. a 10% price rise causes a 5% reduction in demand.
  5. 5 Remember the formulae for income and cross elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply. Q always goes on the top in the formula. We always ‘queue up’.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 10
  • Peer Reviewed essays 12
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain and illustrate the roles played by profit in allocating scarce resources within the economy over time.

    5 star(s)

    Hence, firms would allocate their resources to increase output till this point as reflected in the diagram A. As shown in Diagram A, producing at output level, Q1 would result in a profit earned reflected by the blue border box. However, the firm is not producing at the optimal output level of Q2 which generate the highest possible profit as reflected by the red border box. Hence, profit-driven firms would be motivated allocate more scarce resources to increase their output level to Q2 to maximize profits. Therefore, this shows that potential profit is able to drive allocation of scarce resources to achieve profits maximisation.

    • Word count: 954
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Supermarkets in UK - An oligopily

    5 star(s)

    The market average increase in sales over this period was 4.4%. Tesco hold an 'actual monopoly' over the industry, with 30.7% market share. The industry is currently worth �146.3bn and is predicted to grow to �175.9bn by 2014 according to 'UK Grocery Retail Outlook 2009 - Repositioning for Growth' Market share The market in which Tesco operates is supermarkets. Although this is a highly competitive one Tesco holds a disproportionate amount of power. The figures below indicate that Tesco holds over a third of the market share, and even double the amount of Asda's market share, the second leading supermarket.

    • Word count: 3335
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the merits of road pricing (25)

    4 star(s)

    means of transport such as the train or tube, or they may simply think twice about using their car if it isn't necessary. The London congestion charge has, for example meant that congestion in the extended zone has decreased by 20% and there are 8-12% less vehicles being used on a daily basis that before the charge. Showing that road pricing has decreased congestion. The hypothecation of road pricing has meant that the �120 million raised per year can be spent on improving public transport services.

    • Word count: 1868
  4. Marked by a teacher

    A free market is an economic system where the prices of goods and services are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses.

    4 star(s)

    Unlike public goods, merit goods are excludable. With merit goods such as healthcare, only those with sufficient income would be able to access the service and those who have insufficient income would not be able to access the good/service. This leads on to the next limitation of a free market, unequal distribution of income. In a free market economy, there is large unequal distribution of income because the income of most labourers is driven down by the high level of competition in the market. Those whose businesses are profitable and not forced down by competition are those with great wealth.

    • Word count: 986
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of demand-side policies (fiscal and monetary policy)

    4 star(s)

    Deflationary demand-side policies decrease aggregate demand in the event of aggregate demand running ahead of aggregate supply and posing inflationary risks or leading to an unsustainable deficit on the balance of payments. An example of when reflationary demand-side policies would be used is when aggregate demand is too low, so for instance when taxes are high and interest rates are high. The policies that would be used in order to shift out the aggregate demand curve would be lowering taxes and government spending, fiscal policy, and decreasing interest rates, monetary policy.

    • Word count: 810
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Explain how the equilibrium level of output is determined in perfect competition. Both for the whole market and one firm within the market

    4 star(s)

    There is also perfect information for the consumers and producers. Most importantly, in a perfectly competitive market, the firms aim to maximize profits, firms aim to sell where marginal costs meet marginal revenue, where they generate the most profit. Following on from above, an important idea from which equilibrium output is determined in perfect competition is that the firms main aims are to maximize profits. So, price taking from the firms guarantees, that when the firms maximize profits, by choosing the quantity they wish to produce and the combination of factors of production to produce it with, the market price will be equal to marginal cost.

    • Word count: 1303
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Comment on the statement that only carbon trading is likely to be an effective and efficient way of reducing C02 emissions.

    3 star(s)

    "Developing countries would face a lower burden in reducing emissions than developed countries". This is because developed countries have more industries such as steal which require huge amounts of carbon to be exerted into the atmosphere, whereas developing countries won't have many of these industries and it will be easy for them to stay below their quota and may then even be able to sell their permits to more developed countries on the open market. You will also need tight limits on regulations, we need huge transfers of wealth to poorer countries to be effective as these countries may not be able to afford the permits if they end up going over their limit.

    • Word count: 1003
  8. Marked by a teacher

    Asses the extent to which the internet has made markets more competitive

    3 star(s)

    Consumers who may be disadvantaged due to disabilities, age, time constraints and so on are those who use the internet the most to buy. Previously, these people would have found it difficult to buy, but with the internet comes these frequent buyers. Even people who would have normally bought from high street shops would have the option of buying from the internet. Usually, a lot of people go out and buy things to socialise with friends. These people might seek the internet to buy things on their own if they cannot go out with friends.

    • Word count: 811
  9. Marked by a teacher

    Essay: Discuss whether the Basic Economic Problem will ever be solved

    3 star(s)

    can use coal instead, where there are huge amounts of reserves all around the world and it would be available for a lot less than the price of oil. There is a question, if the northern countries in the world can survive without oil, as they themselves have little reserves, therefore are having to import it from other places in the world for huge prices, which reflects the price consumers have to pay for it, this is why countries' governments have to look for alternatives such as coal, nuclear power and renewable energy.

    • Word count: 1175
  10. Peer reviewed

    Is the existence of a monopoly against The public interest?

    5 star(s)

    In this market structure it is also assumed profits are maximised and there is consumer rationality. Traditionally monopoly is thought to be a potentially harmful market structure with unwelcome consequences for the consumer and the economy. Competition has always therefore been seen to be desirable. It could be said therefore to be against the public interest. However there are arguments not only against monopolies but also for their existence. One of the main arguments against monopolies is that they raise prices, restrict output and therefore exploit consumers.

    • Word count: 1068
  11. Peer reviewed

    Outline the argument for and against smoking ban

    4 star(s)

    So they want people to consume where the pink lines meets the green line. MSB = MSC (5 a day). Below 5 a day both the MSC and MPC are below MPB and MSB. So both society and the individual wants to consume the good. Above 10 a day the MSC and the MPC are above the MSB and the MPB so neither the individual or society wants more than 10 cigarettes a day. However in between 5 and 10 cigarettes a day, the MSC is above the MSB so society does not want to have that many cigarettes.

    • Word count: 1026
  12. Peer reviewed

    The effect of Trade Unions on causing Labour Market Failure Today

    3 star(s)

    Trade union have, for many years been a major cause of LMF and to an extent, still are.since their inception, trade unions main aim has been to increase wage rate for workers.

    • Word count: 367
  13. Peer reviewed

    What are the main characteristics of a free market economy and a centrally planned economy?

    3 star(s)

    Second, in the resource market, households provide firms with the factors of production (land, labour and capital etc.) they demand in order to produce their output. But, these inputs are not free, so every firm face costs in acquiring them, so when they choose the products they produce, they must consider the cost of the products and production. Every producer is willing to reduce the cost and make the maximum profit. But, this will cause a problem in such situation, there will be some black-hearted producers that use the bad material in the production, like the dirty oil event in China, that is because the oil producer overdoes reducing the costs, and the mangers of restaurants are also

    • Word count: 751
  14. Peer reviewed

    To what extent is Price elasticity of demand useful in a companies planning decisions?

    3 star(s)

    The price elasticity of demand depends on several factors. The most important factors are whether the product concerned is produced by a monopoly industry or by a competitive industry structure where there exist many substitutes. For example if say in a mobile telephone market there exist many companies competing and customers can switch to other companies with little switching costs then the demand for the product will be most probably elastic. However, if there is considerable switching costs then the demand will be inelastic.

    • Word count: 416
  15. Peer reviewed

    Income and Price Elasticity of Demand

    3 star(s)

    Normal Good Normal goods are when demand for a product rises, income levels rise. Necessities and luxuries are normal goods. Examples of necessity would be toilet roll. Examples of luxury goods are expensive cars and designer clothes. Between 0 and +1 is a normal necessity. Greater than +1 is a superior/luxury good. Example In this current climate people income decreased and started to buy more inferior goods. E.g. Before the recession people would have bought Andrex toilet roll, however in the recession they would have bought supermarkets own brand toilet roll which would be a lot cheaper.

    • Word count: 590
  16. Peer reviewed

    Explain the main factors that have influenced recent trends in the demand for the railway service in the U.K.

    3 star(s)

    In this essay I would like concentrate on recent trends on the demand for railway service in the U.K. Domestic passenger travel by mode, 1980-2003 diagram in the transport economics book shows that the overall demand for transport has increased over the past yeas. Railway transport also has increased after privatising in 1995, although rail transport is about 6 percent of the total transport share. Privatisation in railway also increased the demand for rail freight transport by 40%. Furthermore, this increased rail freight transport overall market share by 10%. The reason for privatisation according to "new opportunities for British Rail" white paper 1992 is that- encourage better use of the railways by consumers, to provide high quality railway service,

    • Word count: 732
  17. Peer reviewed

    Market Economies- characteristics and examples.

    3 star(s)

    The price in this case and the demand of the product from people determines decision of what is to be produced or taken. The price in this case acts to indicate the market value of resources. The government has a very restricted part to play in that it should control national defence, act against monopolies, issue money, raise taxes and protecting the rights of the private sector. Examples of Countries under Market Economy are United States of America (USA) - leading in their support for market economy have many laws such as anti-monopoly laws that restrict free competition, which is essential for a pure market economy.

    • Word count: 891
  18. Peer reviewed

    There's no such thing as a free lunch

    3 star(s)

    The definition of trade-offs is giving up something to get something. Getting a free week of yoga at Corepower Yoga is great, but what if a different yoga center is better? Corepower Yoga does many hot yoga classes. This means that the room will be heated up to one hundred and five degrees and the humidity turned up to fifty percent. This could create a lot of discomfort and strain to new yoga users that they are not ready for.

    • Word count: 556
  19. Peer reviewed

    income distribution

    3 star(s)

    Although the gap still exists from a series of factors. A rise in earnings inequality can cause income inequality. This is due to a fall in demand for unskilled and semi-skilled labour and a rise in demand for skilled labour because of deindustrialisation, where resources have been shifted from secondary to the tertiary and quaternary sectors, so thus, skilled labour is needed. In the UK this happened as we lost our wage and price competitiveness to developing countries, causing structural unemployment in the secondary sector industry. Therefore the income gap widens as skilled labour productivity widens, and thus, so do wages.

    • Word count: 482
  20. Describe what we mean in economics by the word incentive. Provide examples of perverse incentives and discuss their impact on the economy.

    This shows that a strong incentive is one that achieves what is carried out to be a significant goal and if this goal is to maximise production, then a strong incentive will be on that motivates workers to produce goods and services at full capacity using maximum efficiency that is possible. The government giving subsidies to farmers allows them to manage their cost of production and gives them the ability to present their goods at a reasonable price in the market to attract consumers.

    • Word count: 975
  21. Herd Behavior in Financial Markets

    D. Hamilton's theory animals are forming a group to reduce the danger of being hunted by predictors. As a unit, they are moving together to the same direction. Animals are behaving in the same way to minimize the risk on the behalf of self-protection. Maybe this kind of behavior sounds rational if the result is always optimistic but copying your neighbor can be the worst decision sometimes. When something goes wrong and someone leads the group to the wrong direction, the whole group is going to be in danger. Human Herd Behavior However, human herd behavior is much more complicated than animals' one and several scholars tried to explain it.

    • Word count: 2070
  22. Explain the Environmental effects of increased demand for road & air transport

    An example of the environmental effects of increased demand for road an air transport would be: The USA and China are the worlds greatest polluters, and in the case of china, the fastest growing emitter of greenhouse gasses. Emerging economies such as Poland and India are also growing contributors to global emissions of CO2 although largely through industrialisation it is also a result of rising vehicle ownership levels. Overall, the UK is responsible for around 4% of all CO2 levels worldwide.

    • Word count: 693
  23. Evaluate the role played by barriers to entry in the long run

    Cost Tactics - Linking with pricing strategies, business who have been in the market for a long time, who have had experience in the field will have learnt ways in which to cut costs Advertising and Marketing - Companies that are already established in a market and have spent money in advertising and marketing making their products successful pose a threat on new companies making their entry into the market harder as they already have a loyal customer base. Economies of Scale - Economies of scale is a further barrier to entry that stops smaller, less experienced firms from entering

    • Word count: 2489
  24. MARKET REPORT: Mobile phone recycling. For a while now, many companies have been exploiting the environmentally-friendly angle in an attempt to increase sales.

    Although mechanisms to recycle phones were already in place before this market began, there was not enough financial incentive to surrender old phones, not enough publicity and inefficient recycling infrastructure. The market for mobile recycling has increased rapidly, with industry experts predicting a mobile phone recycling volume of over 10 million handsets in 2010, and increase of over 25% from 2009. This report has been compiled in order to assess what kind of market the mobile phone recycling market is, and how contestable it is.

    • Word count: 985
  25. Is the Government to Blame for Higher Petrol Prices?

    I will look in the short term to see why in this moment in time prices seem to be at this high levels and questioning are these prices high enough to reflect the true cost of Petrol? Petrol prices are often cited in newspapers and TV and my aim is to look behind the headlines and try to establish the economic basis behind these. ECONOMIC THEORIES (Applicable to Petrol Prices) Price Elasticity of Demand for Oil (Product) Refers to the responsiveness of quantity demanded to a change in price.

    • Word count: 4292

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • "Discuss and evaluate the proposition that perfect competition is a more efficient market structure than monopoly."

    "Consequently the statement of perfect competition being more efficient than monopoly is not entirely true. In conclusion, although perfect competition is more economically and productively efficient than monopoly, monopolies have dynamical advantages. Monopolies can exploit economies of scale and economies of scopes which in theory would lower cost. Also perfect competition doesn't include externalities in which case it wouldn't be efficient. Even though it is almost impossible to have a pure monopoly or a pure perfect competition market structure in an economy, perfect competition seems to have an advantage regarding static efficiency over monopoly. The question now is whether a perfect competition market model is more desirable over a monopoly market model. Economics Essay By: Santiago Caicedo 10-5 Topic: Perfect competition and Monopoly. Research question: "Discuss and evaluate the proposition that perfect competition is a more efficient market structure than monopoly". 1 ROY J. RUFFIN, PAUL R. GREGORY, "Principles of Economics" Chapter 30 pg.563 Fifth Edition 2 ROY J. RUFFIN, PAUL R. GREGORY, "Principles of Economics" Chapter 30 pg.566 Fifth Edition 3 ROY J. RUFFIN, PAUL R. GREGORY, "Principles of Economics" Chapter 30 pg.610 Fifth Edition 4 ANNE KRUEGER, "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society." American Economic Review 64 (June 1974). 5 HARVEY LEIBENSTEIN, "Allocative Efficiency vs X-Inefficiency", American Economic Review56(June 1966)"

  • Discuss the view that monopoly power is always negative from a consumer and economic view point.

    "Overall, there are many negative impacts of monopoly power; however, there are also benefits, both to the consumer and from an economic view. We can definitely reach the conclusion that monopoly power is not always negative as there are advantages. However, overall, the disadvantages do overpower the advantages of monopoly power when considering the view economically or form the consumers' view"

  • What are the implications for economic welfare of a market structure changing from perfect competition to a monopoly charging a single price? To what extent would you modify your conclusion if the monopoly practiced price discrimination?

    "In conclusion, perfect competition results in allocative and productive efficiency. When market structure changing from perfect competition to monopoly charging a single price, there is a deadweight loss to the society. The resources are not used efficiently. Meanwhile, there is redistribution from consumers to the monopoly producer. Moreover, the monopoly leads productive inefficiency because of lack of pressure. But on the other hand, monopoly has the incentive to innovation. It may benefit from the economies of scale. From these standpoints, monopoly is more efficient than we thought. If monopoly practices price discrimination, the economic welfare will increase up to the total surplus in the perfect competition. The price discrimination increases the efficiency of monopoly. "The more perfectly the monopoly can price discriminate, the closer its output gets to the competitive output and the more efficient is the outcome." (Economics, fifth edition, Michael P) However, there is a transfer of surplus from consumer to producer."

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