Part B – Case study (10 marks) (500 words)

Choose some aspect of economic activity, and show how a concept or theory we have studied can be used to understand what happens in that situation, and/or to make policy recommendations on how social welfare could be improved through some type of intervention.

Possible topics for case studies might be:


  1. Using the model of perfectly competitive markets to explain price changes that have  occurred, or to analyse the effects of some type of market intervention;


  1. Using the concept of incentives to explain behaviour by market participants;


  1. Using the concepts of surplus to analyse the effect on society’s well-being of a government policy; or


  1. Use the theory of market power to analyse or explain prices.

To show in more detail how to go about doing a case study, we will post some examples of  excellent case studies from previous years. There is also a variety of books that illustrate (in differing amounts of detail) the idea of a case study that you could consult:

The Economic Naturalist by Robert Frank

Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

In the case study you should:

  1. Introduce the aspect of economic activity that you will analyse;
  2. Briefly describe the theory or concept you will use in the case study;
  3. Most importantly, apply the concept or theory to analyse the aspect of economic activity you’ve chosen; and
  4. Provide any concluding remarks.

Four main factors will be considered in marking your case study:

  1. a) Knowledge of economic concepts – For example: Has the answer used the appropriate economic concepts? Does the answer show a thorough understanding of those concepts?
  2. b) Quality of analysis and application of economic concepts – For example: Is there a logical and thorough supporting argument or description of how conclusions have been drawn? Have economic concepts been applied in an effective manner in the particular application? Are assumptions clearly described? Is an understanding shown of any relevant qualifications to the conclusion?
  3. c) Presentation – For example: Are the writing style and organisation of material such that the main ideas and arguments can be understood? Are diagrams presented clearly and effectively integrated with text?
  4. d) Research – Have examples been chosen that have taken some effort to find? What is the quality of evidence supporting arguments that are made?