What you will study
The module is divided into five blocks. The first three blocks cover macroeconomics, the way the economy as a whole works and how policymakers try to influence this. The final two blocks look at microeconomics, including how firms and households make decisions.
Throughout, the module considers issues of: fragility, such as vulnerability of the economy to shocks and climate change; economic justice, in the face of rising inequality both within and between countries; and policy intervention, in particular what governments may do to address fragility and inequality.
Block 1: Economics, crises and connections
You’ll start by looking at a range of economic crises, gaining insights into why they happen, their impact especially on households, and how data is used by economists to track the state of the economy. You'll then consider how economies are increasingly interconnected through trade and financial flows, which can in equal measure promote economic development and also fragility.
Block 2: The macroeconomic toolkit
Through the lens of the Great Depression of the 1930s, you’ll study the iconic theories of the economist, John Maynard Keynes, and how they have come back into fashion as governments turned to fiscal policy (tax and government spending) to grapple with the 2008 global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll also study the nature of money and how monetary policies have been critical in shaping the economy since 2008 and in response to the recent global inflation crisis.
Block 3: Applying the macroeconomic toolkit
You'll use a model of the economy in diagram form that's very similar to one used by central banks around the world. This will deepen your understanding of how unexpected events can shock an economy and the policy levers that the authorities can use to try to steer the economy back on track. You'll critique the use of such policies, particularly from the perspective of justice for wage earners.
Block 4; Regulating markets, promoting growth
In theory, competitive markets and firms should benefit everyone. But what happens when firms become so big that they can control prices and reap massive profits? You'll look at decision-making within firms, how markets work and why and how regulators intervene.
Block 5: Global growth and inequality
Returning to the idea of the interconnected world, you’ll look at why countries choose to trade with each other and who benefits both in theory and reality. Having considered how trade can magnify the inequalities between countries, you’ll turn to inequality within countries and what governments can do – if so minded – to reduce inequality. In the final chapter, you'll look at the economic theories that explain why climate change is such a difficult issue to address and how economics may hold some of the answers.
You will learn
You’ll learn a range of economic theories, modelling them mainly in diagrammatic form. You’ll also learn to apply a range of numerical and statistical techniques to analyse data, enabling you to draw conclusions about what is happening in an economy and to identify and give scale to social and economic problems that policy can address. This module includes an introduction to using Excel spreadsheet software to aid data analysis and the creation of charts.
Studying economics, and this module in particular, equips you with a range of transferable skills that employers value including: problem solving, communication skills, digital and information literacy, numerical skills and commercial awareness. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in a collaborative activity that will help your development of team-working skills.