How to get full marks on an IB Economics IA

How to get full marks on an IB Economics IA

Choosing an Economics IA article

Firstly, it is important that you are looking in the correct place. Make sure that the article is a news story, not a commentary or blog giving the opinion of an author. In addition, the topic should be focused on an aspect of the syllabus, but make sure it does not already totally explain the economics behind the topic as you will just end up repeating the article.

Micro: The main IB economics micro topics are elasticities, taxation and subsidies, market failure and theory of the firm. Theory of the firm is a higher level topic, so stay clear of this if you are a standard level student. The easiest articles to write about would be those including taxation, subsidies or market failure because those are taught extensively in the course, lend themselves well to real world examples and have diagrams that are easy to explain.

Macro: The main IB Economics topics in macro are unemployment, inflation, interest rates, distribution of income and demand and supply side policies. An easy way to find an article is choose a topic you would like to write about and search the topic in google news. For example, if I would like to debate if demand or supply side policies are the most effective way of improving employment rates, I might look for news on youth unemployment or unemployment figures.

Here is a nice article on ‘Obamacare’ which is a good example of an article providing a topic which you can apply economic theory to and has not done any of the analysing already. Here you would discuss correcting a positive consumption externality and is a much more interesting example than the usual market failure topic of smoking.

Planning an Economics IA

Once you have chosen the article, you need to think about how to plan the essay. Do not jump straight in. Write a plan thinking about what economics you are going to pull out of the article. Going on the Obamacare article, this is a rough plan that would help you get full marks.

  • Summarise Obamacare
  • Explain positive consumption externality
  • Apply Obamacare to positive consumption externality, explaining why it is an example of it. Explain how a rollout of Obamacare would go towards correcting this externality.
  • Analyse the diagram or correcting the externality whilst applying to Obamacare.
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of rolling out Obamacare -picking out differing views from the article.

Writing an Economics IA

Remember that your word count is only 750 words. Do not try and say everything in flowery language, precise and to the point is much more effective. When writing the essay, use the mark scheme. The Internal Assessment is in five areas:

  • Diagrams- to get the full three marks, the diagrams need to be correctly labeled to the context of the question and fully explained in a paragraph which goes along with it.
  • Terminology- if you use and define relevant economic terms throughout the essay, these two marks should be simple to secure.
  • Application- these two marks are about picking out the relevant economic concepts throughout the commentary
  • Analysis- to get three marks here, the economic concepts you picked out need to be analysed in the context of the article.
  • Evaluation- this four marks section is about making judgements supported by balanced reasoning.

Check it over!

After you have written your essay, read over it, get someone else to read over it and do not get offended if they pick up lots of errors. If you still need some help, you could contact one of our IB Economics tutors to help you out.