Economics is a way of thinking about how people make decisions and interact with each other. As such it is one of the cognitive and social sciences, such as psychology, sociology and philosophy. Economics focuses on “the ordinary business of life” as the economist Alfred Marshall stated. It explains how we get our incomes, how we use them, the supply of resources and the production and exchange of goods and services. Decisions relating to these have social consequences, intended and unintended, which are also analysed in Economics.
Students who have studied Junior Certificate Business Studies will have received a basic introduction to economics but this is not essential for study of Leaving Certificate Economics.
The syllabus for Leaving Certificate Economics offers students a broad introduction to economics. It introduces students to the nature of economics and to basic economic concepts. Following this introduction, the units of study undertaken are:
- Production and consumption
- Economic systems and economic thought
- Demand and supply
- Price and output
- Factor incomes
- Determination of national income and its fluctuations
- Money and banking
- The Government in the economy
- International trade and payments
- Terms of trade
- Economics of population
- Economic growth and development
- Economic policies, problems and conflicts
The syllabus is assessed by means of a terminal examination paper at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. The leaving cert paper is 2.5 hours long (most other subjects are 3) and has a large amount of choice. Section A consists of 9 short questions to do 6. Section B consists of 8 long questions to do 4.