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Economics

The IB Diploma Programme Economics course forms part of group 3—individuals and societies. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a dynamic social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.

The course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.

The ethical dimensions involved in the application of economic theories and policies permeate throughout the economics course as students are required to consider and reflect on human end-goals and values.

The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.

At both standard level and higher level, candidates are required to study four topics: microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and development economics with some sub-topics within these reserved solely for higher level. These sections are assessed by two examinations at standard level and three examinations at higher level.

In addition to the examinations, candidates must submit an internal assessment. Both standard level and higher level economics students must produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on articles from published news media.

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Order IB publications relating to group 3.

Read about similar studies in the Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme.


"IB history students have jumped at the opportunity to do internal assessment pieces about colonialism, the civil rights movement, and the African-American experience. That their own history and interests are validated in an academic programme has been essential to their success."

Adam Man, Diploma Programme coordinator, Baltimore City College, Maryland