Recent Posts by Matt McGee

Last minute…

I'm having an interesting day. One of the Picts (look this up) I customarily hang out with for after-school grap juice (fermented) apparently decided to yank me back to reality after a three-day weekend by way of a perky good morning note: Shades of Adam Smith Then it turns out (no, I don't read memos) that the IB2 crowd are off (and with any luck, home studying - god knows some of them need it) and the IB1 crowd is apparently spending ...

Extended essay start-up

At every school I've worked at, the English and business/economics departments have accounted for at least one third of all extended essay (EE) titles. It makes sense; these two disciplines lend themselves easily to the study of a very broad cross-section of society - not that I personally could say anything insightful about Moby Dick or Eric Blair. OK Leo, you may write in the subject of your choice.  This is always something of a problem for the business/economics departments, for two ...

Coming up on IA final deadline…

Around this time of year we - students and teachers - are getting close to maximum stress levels. Syllabi need finishing prior to mocks, revision schedules need polishing, extended essay (EE) covers are being handed out for signing - and Internal Assessment (IA) portfolios are being compiled so that teachers can submit grades and ultimately IA samples for external moderation. This is 20% of your final grade so it might be worth your while to put a few extra minutes into ...

In the long run, we’re all spread

By Monday, February 15, 2016 No tags 2

President Harry Truman famously exclaimed, after dealing with a number of economists and economic predictions, that he needed a one-handed economist. Yes, we do have a tendency to opine back and forth, often cushioning our vagaries with “…on the one hand…on the other hand…” which so irritated the former US president. One of Keynes’ friends was to have said very much the same: “Ask four economists for a prediction and you shall get four different answers – five if Maynard ...

Price discrimination online

Most of you students are pretty 'switched on' in terms of what we old people still marvel at; the Internet. You have never lived in a world without internet - which is pretty much what my dad said (he was born in 1928) to me about TV. No, relax, this is not going to be some sort of rant about taking things for granted or any sentence starting with "...young people today..." I am a big fan of technology and ...

New rule – old problem; rent ceiling

Around about this time during IB1, students should be well into the various forms of government intervention that are included in the IB syllabus. For micro economics, these include (indirect) taxes, subsidies, maximum prices and minimum prices. You may rest assured that at least one of these will be the subject of an exam question for you! During the summer, Berlin became the first German city to implement rent controls, e.g. a maximum rent on inner-city housing in Berlin. The basic ...

Ever more kinked…

I have just revised oligopolies in theory of the firm (ToF) for HL students in IB2. I introduced the kinked demand curve a bit differently this time: I outlined the premises carefully, drew the market equilibrium point in a diagram and then asked the students to carefully obey the PED conditions of '...if I lower my price and the other firms follow...' in drawing the demand curve. This gave an entirely different outcome than most textbooks! I also played a game ...

Syllabus order

I have written here about one of the questions facing IB schools and teachers, namely in which order one might best go through the syllabus. Naturally this is a question for all subjects yet the discussion here is confined to economics. Briefly recapitulating, I have put forward that there are costs and benefits in following a strict syllabus order. The benefits are ease of following the progression for students and that when students move (as frequently happens in IB schools) it's ...

Eternal City

As the recently passed away Yogi Berra would say: "No matter where you go, there you are!" Undersigned has just moved from Shanghai to Rome (the one in Italy, not USA) and after some three months of living out of suitcases, I now have a place to put my collection of watches. Yes, home it is. I've been here a few weeks and am overcome by how incredibly lovely the Romans are! Warm humour and generosity of spirit are defining characteristics ...

‘That word…I don’t think it means what you think…’

It has been told to me that I have a bull-headed propensity towards taking things literally - something enmeshed in my father's favourite childhood story. I was about five and we were living in Panama City. My father was working for the ILO and living the expat life. We often had people over for dinner - many of the guests were of UN/diplomatic types - and my father, of old-fashioned ilk, made a point of having his children neatly dressed ...

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