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Monday, 15 September 2014

Unit 3: UK Competition Policy

Click here to read a relatively short, if rather dull notice from the government explaining UK Competition Policy. You are asked about this EVERY year and have to include a decent definition. Recently the government merged the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission, to form the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

Please take a few minutes to read. I will ask you about it in class this week!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

All Economists: Scottish Independence - From a different perspective!

The economics of Scottish independence has been turned in to a gay romantic comedy in an online series launching today. 

The mini-series ‘United Queendom’ tells the story of a couple on the verge of separation: Scott and Adrian argue over oils (for the bath), who controls the credit card, membership of ‘The Club’ and whether they should aspire to be like their neighbour, the Scandinavian model.

At the end of each episode, the viewer is presented with a choice of endings and votes on whether the couple breaks up or stays together. Embracing the apathy of some of today’s voters, the poll also includes an option for those who just ‘don’t care’. The ending with the most views will be declared the winner.

The series centres on a gay relationship and is full of hidden references to the economics but it is produced for a general audience. Denham adds: ‘This series is universal. I want everyone in the world to be able to watch and take part.

The series releases today in four mini episodes (5-7 minutes each). The episodes are as follows.

Episode 1 – SCOTT'S INDEPENDENCE – Scott thinks about going alone

Episode 2 – ADRIAN'S WALL – Adrian puts up barriers of his own

Episode 3 – THE SCANDINAVIAN MODEL – She's an inspiration

Episode 4 – DECISION TIME – In or out, once and for all

Question - How would you vote?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Unit 3: Oligopoly in Dubai

I saw an article today in the 7-Days newspaper which discusses how a bar in Dubai is trying to attract more customers. Click here to read the article.

Questions for discussion:

What type of competition strategy is this?
What is the market structure of bars in Dubai?
How effective will this form of competition be?

Try and get used to commenting on this blog.....I welcome discussion.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Unit 3: Horizontal & Vertical Integration

A useful explanation on a relatively straight forward concept.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Unit 3: Ofwat curbs price rises

Here is an important example of regulatory control of utility businesses with regional natural monopoly power. Ofwat is requiring regional water companies to cut their bills in real terms for the next five year pricing regime.

Regulatory agencies are often accused of failing to be sufficient strong with suppliers leading to allegations of regulatory capture i.e. producer interests dominate consumer interests. Ofwat may be an example of a regulator that avoids this criticism.

Click here for the article from BBC news

Questions for discussion:

Why does the water industry need regulation?
Are there any disadvantages to the consumer of govt intervention?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Unit 1: Cost benefit analysis and Swansea Bay

Plans for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon power station are potentially a superb case study to use when teaching the multiplier effect, renewable energy, cost-benefit analysis, economies of scale and different forms of government intervention including subsidies for harnessing new energy sources.
According to an article in the Independent:

"The £850m, six-mile-long U-shaped seawall by the Swansea docks will not only generate enough electricity to power 120,000 homes for 120 years – it will also create nearly 2,000 construction jobs in the two years it takes to build; and it will leave the city with a tourist attraction drawing in up to 100,000 visitors a year."

News articles:

Tidal power generator unveiling hailed as landmark(BBC August 2014):

Swansea Bay £850m tidal lagoon plan submitted (BBC February 2014):

Flooding concerns raised over Swansea Tidal Lagoon project (Wales Online, July 2014):

Unit 1: Monetary policy - Factors affecting Interest rate decisions

Click here for a really informative piece from Larry Elliott at the Guardian on some of the factors that the Bank of England will take into account when deciding the moment to move policy interest rates up from their historic low of 0.5%. 
Mark Carney in thoughtful mood!

To think, there are students who might make it through their entire secondary school education without experiencing a change in UK monetary policy interest rates!