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High School | Social Studies | Economics

Understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States. People's lives are directly affected by the economies of cities, states, nations and the world. All people engage in economic activity: buying, selling, trading, producing and consuming. By understanding economic systems—and how economics blends with other social sciences, students will be able to make more informed choices, prudently use resources and function as effective participants in the economies around them.

Learning Objectives Grades 9-10

Understand how different economic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services:

  • Explain how national economies vary in the extent that government and private markets help allocate goods, services and resources.
  • Describe Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Analyze the impact of inflation on an individual and the economy as a whole.
  • Explain the effects of unemployment on the economy.

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers:

  • Explain the costs and benefits of making consumer purchases through differing means (e.g., credit, cash).
  • Analyze the impact of current events (e.g., weather/natural disasters, wars) on consumer prices.

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers:

  • Analyze the impact of political actions and natural phenomena (e.g., wars, legislation, natural disaster) on producers and production decisions.
  • Explain the importance of research, development, invention, technology and entrepreneurship to the United States economy.

Understand trade as an exchange of goods or services:

  • Explain the meaning and importance of “balance of trade” and how trade surpluses and deficits between nations are determined.
  • Describe the relationships between the availability and price of a nation’s resources and its comparative advantage in relation to other nations.
  • Describe the impact of worker productivity (output per worker) on business, the worker and the consumer.

Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy:

  • Explain why government may intervene in a market economy.
  • Describe social and environmental benefits and consequences of production and consumption.
  • Analyze the relationship between a country’s science/technology policies and its level and balance of trade.

Learning Objectives Grades 11-12

Understand how different economic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services:

  • Explain the impact of various determinants of economic growth (e.g., investments in human/physical capital, research and development, technological change) on the economy.
  • Analyze the impact of economic growth.
  • Analyze the impact of various determinants on the levels of GDP (e.g., quantity/quality of natural/capital resources, size/skills of the labor force).
  • Explain the comparative value of the Consumer Price Index (e.g., goods and services in one year with earlier or later periods).

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers:

  • Analyze the impact of changes in non-price determinants (e.g., changes in consumer income, changes in tastes and preferences) on consumer demand.
  • Analyze how inflation and interest rates affect consumer purchasing power.
  • Analyze elasticity as it applies to supply and demand and consumer decisions.

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers:

  • Explain how competition is maintained in the United States economy and how the level of competition varies in differing market structures (e.g., monopoly, oligopoly, monopolistic and perfect competition).
  • Explain how changes in non-price determinants of supply (e.g., number of producers) affect producer decisions.
  • Explain how government intervention with market prices can cause shortages or surpluses of a good or service (e.g., minimum wage policies, rent freezes, farm subsidies).

Understand trade as an exchange of goods or services:

  • Explain how transaction costs affect decisions to produce or consume.
  • Analyze why trade barriers and exchange rates affect the flow of goods and services among nations.
  • Explain how technology has affected trade in the areas of transportation, communication, finance and manufacturing.

Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy:

  • Explain how and why government redistributes income in the economy.
  • Describe how fiscal, monetary and regulatory policies affect overall levels of employment, output and consumption.
  • Describe key schools of thought (e.g., classical, Keynesian, monetarist, supply-side) and explain their impact on government policies.

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