timtamboy63

IA (Eco)
Tips for Economics Portfolio (Commentary)

53 posts in this topic

Just thought I would add on :D

Yes, finding a good article is important. Even if it takes you hours to find a good one, it's better to do that than to quickly find a not-so-good one and then realize that there's not much to say about it. Personally, it took me a while to find good articles.

Don't forget to define your terms correctly!! The easiest way to do this is to just copy the definitions word for word out of your textbook/notes.

Also, evaluate! Most people lose marks on evaluation (including me -_-) so don't forget this! Just think: Is my analysis always true? What else could happen/What is another possibility? What would be the resulting effect? Try not to make your evaluation too long though, a few lines should be enough.

I'll add more later xP

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tip: choose article that doesnt say much , so you can fill in the lines and expand.

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Some additional tips which I received from my teacher:

1. Include quotes and footnote them correctly. If you continue quoting the same article just write i.b.i.d (latin for: same as previous).

2. Make sure that you stay within the wordcount of 650-750, aim for the 750 though ( all words even titles and labels must be counted). This and following the general guidelines of the IB (minimum of three different sections in all four IAs, one can be done twice e.g. microeconomics) should net you the two easy marks for criterion A.

3. Use preferably two diagrams. Diagrams will save words if implemented appropriately and convey your economic understanding better.

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Also in your conclusion remember to remark and talk about the effect on the different stakeholders i.e

consumers

producers

the governement etc

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for the evaluation, you could also mention long term and short term effects along with stakeholders. and the advantages and disadvantages of whatever solution you suggest.

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Hi,

a question about making graphs (e.g. demand/supply). What program do you use to sketch them?

Thanks,

Filip

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Hi,

a question about making graphs (e.g. demand/supply). What program do you use to sketch them?

Thanks,

Filip

I used MSPaint to make my diagrams. Some people in my class used Photoshop. It's good that you're including a diagram by the way, they are very important in commentaries if you want to do well :yes:

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Hi,

a question about making graphs (e.g. demand/supply). What program do you use to sketch them?

Thanks,

Filip

or you can also use Ms. Word directly. draw the lines manually and group the objects altogether or insert a canvas first and draw there.

I personally use Autograph to draw my diagrams though. b/c it's hard for me to draw in Ms. Word :P

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The IB Economics Internal Assessment Tips

What is an IA?

An internal Assessment in Economics is a written commentary based on an economics article that you have chosen.

The article you choose should allow you to explain and analyze economic events.

For Economics SL, your IA represents 25% of your total IB score.

For Economics HL, your IA represents 20% of your total IB score.

What to do?

Pick an article that will allow you to use what we have learned in class.

For your first IA, you mostly need to find an article that will allow you to use the concepts of supply/demand, elasticity, and market failure.

In your internet search, it would be useful to search for the price of a commodity.

price of coffee, price of oil, price of cocoa, etc.

Where can I find an article?

You might browse the New York Times International Edition in the school’s library.

You can use any article you find anywhere, as long as you have a hard copy to hand in.

You can show me your article so that can let you know if it is appropriate.

Example article

As your IA’s are a part of your formal assessment, teachers are not allowed to provide as much assistance with IA’s as we might like to.

Teacher Feedback

“Written feedback should generally be limited to reflecting on and explaining the instructions in the syllabus --define, label, explain, etc.

Tell students what doesn't make sense, etc. Do not give detailed instructions to students about how to improve their IA. But you may ask them, for example, to explain what this paragraph was intended to mean, if a paragraph does not make sense.

You may also mention, for example, ‘background theory notes needed here!“’

Then What?

Once you have picked an article, you need to analyze it. If your article is about a change in the price of a commodity, ask yourself:

Why did the price change?

Can I use a supply and demand diagram to explain what happened?

By how much did quantity change?

Who was affected by price change?

Your IA

Write an economics commentary of 650-750 words, where you explain and analyze what happened in the article you have picked.

In your commentary, you should:

Define economic terms

Explain economic theory

Use and explain graphs

Evaluate (more to come on this)

Format and Submission

Commentary First Draft Checklist

The ISB Economics Coversheet

Commentary

Number your pages and write your name as a header on the top right hand side of each page

Use footnotes for definitions of key terms (optional)

The Article

If the article is long, you need to highlight the sections you use

Submission

Also submit an electronic copy of the commentary and the article, for ISB records.

Your articles have to be recent.

It should be no older than 6 months from the start of the course.

How else I can Help

I cannot choose an article for you, but for your first IA, you could show me the article and I will tell you whether it is appropriate or not.

You will get feedback on the first version and will be allowed to make changes once.

The second version you submit will be your final version.

Your IB Score will be based on this version.

The assessors appreciate variety. With each article you choose:

Cover a different part of the world (i.e. Not only the US and the UK),

And Use a different source

Assessment

There are 5 IB Criteria on which your commentary will be assessed:

A: word limit+ IAs cover more than 3 sections of syllabus. [2 marks]

B: 4 different sources + appropriate use of diagrams. [4 marks]

C: Economic terms are used and are defined correctly. [5 marks]

D: Theory explained and applied [5 marks]

E: Evaluation [4 marks]

The first three criteria of your portfolio should be no problem for you.

Mistakes are possible here, but if you are careful A, B and C should be fine.

What separates the top students is the analysis and evaluation they show in D and E.

Applicationof theory

Analysis of the article

Evaluationof concepts involved

Expert Analysis

Homer Simpson on Evaluation

Copy and paste this:

http://fliiby.com/file/132144/ay0fjcdh9o.html

Shopkeeper: [Homer has agreed to purchase a Krusty doll for Bart's birthday] Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse! Homer: Ooh, that's bad. Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt! Homer: That's good. Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed. Homer: That's bad. Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings. Homer: That's good! Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate. [Homer looks puzzled] Shopkeeper: ...That's bad. We start with Homer's simplistic evaluation and then use it as a base for a more detailed evaluation that includes specific details as to why it's good or bad. Don’t be a being passive receptacle of information; rather, passing judgment on what they are learning simply doesn't occur to them.

IA’s are your chance to show that you have a clear grasp on economic theory.

Economists structure their thinking, so you should as well. Apply the theories in a structured, considerate narrative.

Hierarchy of Skills

What is Evaluation?

EVALUATION

1. Short term versus long term implications

2. Effects on different stakeholders

3. Prioritise the arguments

4. Question validity of a theory/data presented

5.Can you detect contradictions/limitations between economic theory and the real world problem at hand.

6. Are there winners and losers

7. Is there any bias in the way the article was written

8. Can you predict what will happen in the future based on what happened in this article?

Short Term Versus Long Term

Examples:

“in the short run, abnormal profits can be earned.

however, in the long run this is not possible.”

or

“in the short run, it is possible to justify the

infant industry argument. however, in the long

run, the industry could be inefficient.

The Validity of Assumptions

Most economic theory is based on assumptions. Identify the assumptions in the article and question their validity. For example:

“The assumption of perfect competition that there is perfect knowledge. This is unrealistic in globalised markets dominated by advertising.”

“The theory of comparative advantage fails to take transport costs into account (from the producing country to the country buying the good). this is clearly a weakness of the theory.”

Stakeholders

Consider the issue from the points of view of different stakeholders:

Examples

Domestic producers

Consumers

Government

Foreign producers

High income people

Low income people

Prioritise the Arguments

For example, you might structure your reasoning like this:

The most important argument against protectionism is….

The least effective argument forprotectionism is….

Conclude

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does anybody have a good recent article on price controls? i've been spending a few hours already looking for one I could take- i must be doing something wrong. I would like to write about buffer stocks or max/min prices (that could be in form of min wages or wage cuts as well).

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does anybody have a good recent article on price controls? i've been spending a few hours already looking for one I could take- i must be doing something wrong. I would like to write about buffer stocks or max/min prices (that could be in form of min wages or wage cuts as well).

The article I used for price controls was about price ceilings in Russia. Try searching for that on Google :D

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thank you for the quick reply. unfortunately my teacher is really picky- he wants us to have articles with a length of like 700 words (if not more) to quote properly. the article of bloomberg on the russian ceiling price is too short. im having such difficulties finding something. theres always a problem.

Either its too short, or it talks about too much other stuff, or it contains info about inflation which we didnt do yet. i need one purely on price controls, possibly interlinked with development economics.

what topics are there that involve or use applications of min/max prices- buffer stock schemes?

minimum wages, wage cuts, releasing oil onto the market from the reserves,..

elasticities would also be possible- how could i search for elasticities without mentioning it directly?

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thank you for the quick reply. unfortunately my teacher is really picky- he wants us to have articles with a length of like 700 words (if not more) to quote properly. the article of bloomberg on the russian ceiling price is too short. im having such difficulties finding something. theres always a problem.

Either its too short, or it talks about too much other stuff, or it contains info about inflation which we didnt do yet. i need one purely on price controls, possibly interlinked with development economics.

what topics are there that involve or use applications of min/max prices- buffer stock schemes?

minimum wages, wage cuts, releasing oil onto the market from the reserves,..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8446206/Minimum-wage-provides-lift-to-youth-employment.html - date: april 13, 2011

try that one? it's 300 words though, but i think it's sufficient.

an economics IA needs some quotes, but you can't quote all of it. you use the information and then elaborate yourself.. so make the diagram, discuss and evaluate.

to be honest, our teacher told us to find the shorter articles which were succinct and to the point, so that we quoted, but the evaluation wasn't done for us by whoever wrote the article..

here's another one.. :)

http://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/8955413.Council_to_look_to_set_minimum_price_for_alcohol/ - date: 8 april 2011

elasticities would also be possible- how could i search for elasticities without mentioning it directly?

if you haven't done elasticity, then don't do an IA on it - save it as a later opportunity if this IA doesn't work out.

or, elasticity can be your second IA in microeconomics, since you have to do 4 IAs, 3 from different units, and the last one, a repeat.

so you'd do one microeconomic, one macroeconomic, and one international trade IA.. and then do another IA, (the last one) on one of those topics.. unless of course, you want to do development, although development IAs are difficult. i would stick to the three main ones of micro, macro and international trade.

Edited by Desy ♫

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Dear all fellow economics students,

I was recently informed that the IB moderators are more inclined to lower economics IA marks if the student(s) have done more than 1 piece of coursework in microeconomics. This appears to be because of the fact that it is very difficult to move away from the theory of demand and supply and the moderators feel it is too much of the same thing.

So tip from me: Write one piece of coursework on Microeconomics and then do your final 3 on other topics within International, Development or Macro economics.

Hope this helps :)

White94

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Question: Do labels on diagrams count towards the 750-word limit per commentary?

Just the title of the diagram. Nothing else.

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Question: Do labels on diagrams count towards the 750-word limit per commentary?

Just the title of the diagram. Nothing else.

I was told by my teacher that every label counts as a word.

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Question: Do labels on diagrams count towards the 750-word limit per commentary?

Just the title of the diagram. Nothing else.

I was told by my teacher that the every label counts as a word.

I was told otherwise :S Actually my commentaries were sent to be moderated and there was no change in grade (19/20) so I guess even if they do count, you can get away with it :P

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Hi guys I know I'm new here but nonetheless I'd like to give some parting advice on the Eco Commentaries.

Firstly suggested topic areas -

1. Market structure - something on oligopolies I guess ? Search for "price fixing"

2. Unemployment - well this one's easy. But try and get a short and succinct article here without too much analysis. Just maybe someone mentioning the sectors or something like that for a line or two and the rest important data. Tips - try searching for Greece or Portugal right now and you might save yourself some time while searching for you're article.

3. Inflation - see above for unemployment, Also suggested country - India.

4.Something on trade this time again refer to points from 2 and 3 and use your common sense.

5. Market Failure - search for local deforestation or smoking or whatever floats your boat really.

Choose and 4 out of the 5.

This is a diverse group of topics and I suggest stick to these ones. DON'T DO DEMAND AND SUPPLY, its waaaay to easy.

While choosing your sources don't go to FT or the Economist. Please try and visit a regular newspaper which keeps the analysis at minimum. My personal favourite is Reuters - lovely short articles. (use them for 2,3 or 4 only though).

Structure

Summary of the passage.

Identify the economic theory (if it is unemployment then what type of unemployment is it etc....)

Analysis - who benefits look at all the stakeholders. (Include the usual evaluation stuff like short term vs long term while prioritizing your arguments, see who benefits and who doesn't etc...)

What can be done. (usually what the govt can do - example taxes .....)

Conclusion and with your mini-recommendation.

Please include your diagrams while identifying the economic theory.

Tip: DEFINE WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO PROPERLY, don't just say its an oligopoly explain what the term means!

A lot of the commentary work is free marks if you follow this, even if you suck at economics.

Nice sources IMO:

Reuters

BBC

Irish Times

The star (It's Canadian I think)

Times of India

Hope I was of any help and do correct me If I'm wrong anywhere.

I'm sorry but I'm sure you'll find the criteria elsewhere in this site so I've not posted it.

Edited by Capt'n Marth
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Hi guys,

I'm currently writing my IA and I'm not sure what to write about the short run and long run? My article is on market failure, negative externality of production: in China, some firms are dumping chemicals into the local river... Help!

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Is it only me or when writing commentaries it's really hard to get to 750 words or really hard to keep it under 750 words? As in once I start writing I cant stop

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Realised I've submitted my IA Portfolio with sources (e.g. 'The Guardian') but not the urls, is that likely to be a problem?

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Is it only me or when writing commentaries it's really hard to get to 750 words or really hard to keep it under 750 words? As in once I start writing I cant stop

At times I found it was hard to get to 650 words and other times I found it hard to stay under 750 words :P It depended on the IA for me. To be honest if you're over/under by about 10 words they probably won't notice. It's if you're over by about 50 words that it could be a problem.

Realised I've submitted my IA Portfolio with sources (e.g. 'The Guardian') but not the urls, is that likely to be a problem?

No, I didn't submit any URLs for my online sources and it was fine. All I had was the title of the article, the name of the source, and the date the article was written.

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