by Shauna Mujic
Overall, students were pleased that the Economics paper was fair, approachable, student friendly and topical.
Section A (short questions):
The short questions were possibly the more challenging element of this exam, with some new types of questions, such as the difference between a Free Trade Area and a Customs Union and students being required to know the Government Debt-to-GDP and Unemployment rates. This section also contained a lot of straight forward questions, with the Equi-Marginal Principle of consumer behaviour and labeling an imperfect competition equilibrium position. There was also a topical theme to this section, including a question on the Taoiseach pledging to increase the threshold for the top rate of PAYE to 50,000 and the age of Ireland’s working population.
Section B (long questions):
Students welcomed the mix of long questions in this paper. The section opened with a very manageable question on demand, equilibrium and shortage in the rental market as a result of rent controls. Students will have been glad to see monopoly dominating the market structure question, one which did not contain any surprises, requiring the well practiced characteristics and equilibrium position. Students were delighted to be rewarded with a full elasticity question and a full costs and factors of production question. Therefore students whose strengths lie in the microeconomics element of the course had four very approachable questions. Questions 5 to 8 contained a very nice mix of macroeconomic topics, including the use of electronic money, the government budget, inflation, National Income and taxation.
It is safe to say this was a lovely paper, in which the well prepared student was given a huge amount of scope to shine.