Academic Group 3

Overview: Economics IA

Note: first assessment 2022; latest economics guide.

The Economics IA is a portfolio of three commentaries of a firm or nation’s decisions from extracts of published news media by applying existing knowledge on economic theories. Each IA has to use a theory or theories from one of the three units: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and International Trade. No two commentaries can be from the same unit. For SL students, the IA is worth 30% of the candidate’s final grade, whereas for HL students, the IA is worth 20% of the candidate’s final grade. Apart from that, the IA remains the same for SL and HL students. Each commentary has a word limit of 800 words.

Students are also required to choose one of nine key concepts for each commentary which it focuses on. The key concepts are: 

  • Scarcity
  • Choice
  • Efficiency
  • Equity
  • Economic Well-Being
  • Sustainability
  • Change
  • Interdependence
  • Intervention

Each article chosen must be published no more than one year before the writing of the commentary.

Choosing the article and the key concept to focus on completely depends on the student’s interest. No one key concept gives an advantage over the other during the scoring of the IA, which is judged by five criterion:

Criteria A: Diagrams [3 marks for each commentary]

The extent to which the candidate is able to construct and explain appropriate diagrams. Diagrams that score highly must have relevant, accurate, and correctly labelled diagrams that are fully explained.

Criteria B: Terminology [2 marks for each commentary]

The extent to which the candidate uses relevant economic terms. For help on how to appropriately use economic terms, refer to the IB Economics guide.

Criteria C: Application and Analysis [3 marks for each commentary]

The extent to which the candidate recognizes, understands, applies and analyzes the chosen economic theory with regards to the article. It looks at the consistent usage (or lack thereof) of relevant economic theories accompanied by effective analysis, as well as how different analyses link together and are convincingly explained.

Criteria D: Key Concept [3 marks for each commentary]

The extent to which the candidate recognizes, understands, and links the chosen key concept to the article. It looks at the extent to which the key concept is recognized and linked to the chosen article, through the actions of firms or nations.

Criteria E: Evaluation [3 marks for each commentary]

The extent to which the candidate’s judgement of the situation which is supported by a reasoned argument. It looks into the continuous statements made on the situation, as well as the sufficient assessments made on it. Furthermore, this criterion looks at the candidate’s inclusion (or lack thereof) of potential counterarguments and future repercussions. All in all, a high-scoring evaluation balances the actual judgement of the situation and the counterarguments presented.

Criteria F: Rubric Requirements [3 marks over the entire portfolio]

The extent to which the candidate meets the three rubric requirements mentioned. They are:

  • Each article has to be based on a different unit of the syllabus.
  • Each article has to be taken from a different and appropriate source.
  • Each article was published (at the maximum) one year at the time of writing the commentary.

Overall, the Economics IA helps students to choose an economic article of their interest, and analyze the consequences and potential problems through the use of theories learnt in class. Take the chance to analyze the effectiveness of different economic decisions that interest you!


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