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IB Economics IA: 60 Examples and Guidance

IB Economics IA: 60 Examples and Guidance

6 min Read|June 11 2024
|Written by:

Charles Whitehouse

Contents

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers a variety of assessments for students, including Internal Assessments (IAs), which are pieces of coursework marked by students’ teachers. The Economics Internal Assessment (IA) is an essential component of the course and accounts for 20% of the final grade for Higher Level students and 30% for Standard Level students. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the IB Economics IA, including the requirements, the evaluation criteria, and some tips for success.

What is the Economics IA?

The Economics IA is made up of three separate 750-word commentaries, each based on a different area of the syllabus: microeconomics, macroeconomics, and either international trade or development economics. They should analyse real-world news stories using concepts from the Economics course. This is true for both Higher and Standard Level.

What should the IA be about?

When choosing a topic for their IA, students should keep in mind that the investigation should be related to the content of the IB Economics course. It should also be practical, feasible, and of sufficient complexity to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter.

Have a look at our comprehensive set of IB Economics Resources like IB Economics Study Notes and IB Economics Questions, developed by expert IB teachers and examiners!

What are some example research questions?

Our senior IB tutors have compiled a few examples of potential research questions which could inspire your Economics IA. Remember that are many more options available, based on the syllabus, so pick the topic you are most interested in and think you can score the highest analysing.

1 - Investigating the relationship between government expenditure and economic growth in a specific country.
2 - How does a change in interest rates affect consumer spending and saving behavior?
3 - Can the relationship between unemployment and inflation be explained using the Phillips curve?
4 - Investigating the effect of a minimum wage increase on employment levels in a specific industry.
5 - How does a change in exchange rates affect the trade balance of a specific country?
6 - Can the relationship between income and demand for luxury goods be explained using Engel's law?
7 - Investigating the impact of government subsidies on the production and consumption of renewable energy sources.
8 - How does a change in taxation policies affect the behavior of firms in a specific industry?
9 - Can the impact of externalities on market equilibrium be explained using the concept of marginal social cost and marginal social benefit?
10 - Investigating the effect of globalization on income inequality in a specific country.
11 - How does a change in the level of government debt affect the level of economic growth in a specific country?
12 - Can the impact of market failure on social welfare be explained using the concept of Pareto efficiency?
13 - Investigating the impact of price ceilings and price floors on market equilibrium and consumer surplus.
14 - How does a change in the level of competition affect the behavior of firms in a specific industry?
15 - Can the impact of public goods on market equilibrium be explained using the concept of free riding?
16 - Investigating the impact of trade barriers on the level of international trade in a specific industry.
17 - How does a change in consumer tastes and preferences affect the demand for goods and services in a specific industry?
18 - Can the relationship between income and demand for inferior goods be explained using Giffen's paradox?
19 - Investigating the impact of anti-trust laws on market structure and consumer welfare in a specific industry.
20 - How does a change in the level of economic growth affect income distribution in a specific country?
21 - Can the impact of transaction costs on market efficiency be explained using the concept of market friction?
22 - Investigating the impact of environmental regulations on the behavior of firms in a specific industry.
23 - How does a change in the level of interest rates affect the behavior of savers and borrowers in a specific country?
24 - Can the relationship between demand and price elasticity be explained using the concept of total revenue?
25 - Investigating the impact of a change in government spending priorities on income distribution in a specific country.
26 - How does a change in the level of technology affect the behavior of firms in a specific industry?
27 - Can the impact of market power on market outcomes be explained using the concept of market concentration?
28 - Investigating the impact of income taxes on income distribution and economic growth in a specific country.
29 - How does a change in the level of government regulations affect the behavior of firms in a specific industry?
30 - Can the impact of asymmetric information on market outcomes be explained using the concept of adverse selection and moral hazard?
31 - Analyzing the impact of trade policies on a country's economy and international relations.
32 - Examining the relationship between inflation and unemployment in different economic systems.
33 - Investigating the effectiveness of different methods of poverty alleviation and social welfare.
34 - Developing a model to predict the demand for a product based on consumer behavior and preferences.
35 - Analyzing the impact of government regulations on the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare costs.
36 - Examining the relationship between labor market dynamics and income inequality.
37 - Investigating the effectiveness of different taxation policies on reducing income inequality.
38 - Developing a model to predict the outcome of a merger or acquisition based on market trends.
39 - Analyzing the impact of natural resources on economic development and environmental sustainability.
40 - Examining the relationship between foreign direct investment and economic growth in developing countries.
41 - Investigating the effectiveness of different monetary policies in controlling inflation and economic stability.
42 - Developing a model to predict the effect of interest rates on borrowing and lending in the economy.
43 - Analyzing the impact of globalization on the labor market and income distribution.
44 - Examining the relationship between education and economic growth in developing countries.
45 - Investigating the effectiveness of different antitrust policies on promoting competition and consumer welfare.
46 - Developing a model to predict the effect of exchange rates on international trade and investment.
47 - Analyzing the impact of economic sanctions on a country's economy and political relations.
48 - Examining the relationship between environmental regulations and industry competitiveness.
49 - Investigating the effectiveness of different policies in reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy.
50 - Developing a model to predict the impact of fiscal policies on government revenue and expenditure.
51 - Analyzing the impact of income inequality on health outcomes and social welfare.
52 - Examining the relationship between financial crises and banking regulations.
53 - Investigating the effectiveness of different education policies on student achievement and labor market outcomes.
54 - Developing a model to predict the effect of technological change on productivity and economic growth.
55 - Analyzing the impact of demographic changes on the labor market and social security programs.
56 - Examining the relationship between corruption and economic development in developing countries.
57 - Investigating the effectiveness of different trade agreements on promoting economic growth and development.
58 - Developing a model to predict the impact of transportation infrastructure on regional economic development.
59 - Analyzing the impact of income tax on labor supply and consumer behavior.
60 - Examining the relationship between gender inequality and economic growth in developing countries.

Which news article should I base my commentary on?

When choosing a news article to use for your Economics IB portfolio commentaries, it's important to select one that is relevant to your research question and that provides credible and reliable information.

Here are a few tips on how to choose a news article:

  • Look for articles from reputable sources
    Use sources such as The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, etc.
  • Look for articles that are recent
    Try to find an article that has been published within the last 6-12 months, as this will ensure that the information is up-to-date and relevant to your research question.
  • Look for articles that are relevant to your topic
    Try to find an article that is directly related to your research question, as this will ensure that the information is relevant and useful for your analysis.
  • Look for articles that explore the consequences of policy
    Try to find articles that present evaluation of the consequences of an economic policy decision, as this will help you to fully analyse economic concepts.

How should I structure the commentary?

Cover page: This should include the title of the IA, your name, and the date of submission. It may also include the name of your school or teacher.

Introduction: This section should provide an overview of your research question and the purpose of your investigation. It should also provide background information on the topic and explain why it is important or relevant. Additionally, you should define any key terms and concepts that are central to your research question.

Key terms and definitions: This section should provide definitions of the key terms and concepts that are central to your research question. It should also explain their relevance to your analysis.

Diagrams: This section should include diagrams that help to present and explain the economic data and concepts relevant to your research question. Make sure that your diagrams are clear, well-labeled, and easy to understand. Also, provide a brief explanation of what the diagrams show, and how they support your analysis and conclusions.

Analysis: This section should present the results of your analysis in a clear and organized manner. Use tables, graphs, and figures to help present your findings. This section should also include an explanation of how the data supports your research question, and any relevant economic theory.

Linking diagrams and analysis: This section should link the diagrams and the analysis together, explaining how they support each other and how they help to answer the research question.

Evaluation: This section should be a critical reflection on the strengths and limitations of your investigation. Consider the potential sources of bias or error and how they may have affected your results. Also, you should reflect on the reliability and validity of the sources you used, and how they influenced your analysis. Furthermore, it should suggest any areas for future research.

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How can I do well?

Before starting each commentary, you should remind yourself of the marking criteria of the IA. Paying close attention to hitting each criterion will allow you to maximise your score. If you are struggling in preparation then you should consider hiring a good IB Economics tutor. With the support of experienced IB tutors and resources like IB Economics Q&A Revision Notes, students gain deeper insights into their subjects, fostering a stronger foundation for higher grades.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program evaluates student's economics IA based on six criteria: A-F. In order to score well in each criterion, it is important to show a deep understanding of the topic, and the ability to apply and analyze the economic concepts and theories in the context of the article. In this article, we will discuss each criterion in detail and provide tips on how to score well in each one.

Criterion A: Diagrams

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student is able to construct and use diagrams. In order to score well in this criterion, it is important to include relevant, accurate and correctly labeled diagrams in your IA, and to provide a full explanation of how they support your analysis and conclusions.

Criterion B: Terminology

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student uses appropriate economic terminology throughout the IA. To score well in this criterion, it is important to use terminology relevant to the article, and to use it appropriately throughout the commentary.

Criterion C: Application

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student recognizes, understands and applies economic information in the context of the article. To score well in this criterion, it is important to apply relevant economic concepts and/or theories to the article, and to do so appropriately throughout the commentary.

Criterion D: Analysis

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student can explain and develop appropriate economic theories and/or concepts in the context of the article. To score well in this criterion, it is important to provide appropriate economic analysis relating to the article.

Criterion E: Evaluation

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student synthesizes their analysis in order to make judgments that are supported by reasoned arguments. To score well in this criterion, it is important to make judgments that are supported by appropriate reasoning.

Criterion F: Rubric requirements

This criterion assesses whether the IA meets the rubric requirements, such as word count, the article the commentary was based on, and the syllabus content covered.

An Economics tutor said the following:

"I advise students that the Economics IA is a chance to show how well they understand and can use economic ideas to examine real-world issues. For each commentary, students should pick a news article that relates to the topic and use economic theories to explain what's happening in the article. It's important to connect these theories to real-life examples and think deeply about how economic decisions and market changes affect us. This helps students not only get better at analysing but also see the real impact of economics around the world."

How is the IA graded?

It is graded by the student’s teacher, who is trained and certified by the International Baccalaureate organization. The report is then sent to a moderator, who will check that the report adheres to the IB guidelines and that the grade awarded is appropriate.

IB Economics Guide

Source: IB Economics HL Subject Brief

Conclusion

In summary, the IA in the IB is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of the Physics curriculum, as well as their ability to conduct independent research. It consists of a laboratory report and a reflective statement, and is worth 20% of the final grade for the course. To prepare for the assessment, students should ensure that they understand the material covered in their Physics course, practice writing lab reports, and seek feedback from their teachers.

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Charlie

Charlie

Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Charles Whitehouse

Written by: Charles Whitehouse

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Oxford University - Masters Biochemistry

Charles scored 45/45 on the International Baccalaureate and has six years' experience tutoring IB and IGCSE students and advising them with their university applications. He studied a double integrated Masters at Magdalen College Oxford and has worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant.

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