Consolidated below are excerpts of Economics tutor Mr Koh’s chapter-specific previews for Microeconomics. The main aim is to help Economics tuition students gain a better understanding of what each topic entails, and the key skills required of Economics students.
Demand and Supply
The essence of this topic can be summarised into two parts – (i) understanding the demand, supply and elasticity factors and their application; and (ii) applying the different types of government policies to serve a specific purpose. For the former, we need to apply our understanding of the various factors to explain the impact of certain developments on a market and to suggest strategies for a producer seeking to maximise total revenue (price x quantity).
On government intervention, students should be familiar with how a price ceiling, price floor, indirect tax and subsidy works, and the pros and cons associated with each policy. They should then be prepared to propose a combination of such policies to serve the government’s aims – specifically to help consumers or producers.
Firms and How They Operate
The concept map shared in Mr Koh’s Economics tuition classes shows students a recommended approach to understanding this challenging topic, i.e. students should be prepared to use an understanding of the different features of market structures to explain and evaluate the respective firms’ behaviour and performance.
However, essay questions do not necessarily have to revolve around firm behaviour and performance. An entire question could be set on any of the following smaller concepts: (i) Barriers to entry; (ii) Price discrimination; and (iii) Economies of scale. Hence, students need to be familiar with the content underlying these concepts as well.
The essence of this topic can be summarised into two parts according to Mr Koh’s Economics tuition classes– – (i) explaining the root cause of market failure; and (ii) discussing the choice of policy to tackle market failure. (i) is largely content-driven, and relies on memory work to deliver a complete explanation; while (ii) requires an evaluation of the policies adopted to deal with a specific form of market failure.
In this chapter, Mr Koh’s Economics tuition classes will be focusing on three specific themes relating to part (i) and part (ii) respectively. A slotting approach and a stacking approach will also be shared to provide a structure for part (ii) essays.
Some schools follow an activity approach to explaining market failure due to externalities, while others use a market approach. In this topic, we focus on the use of an activity approach, i.e. a negative (positive) externality results in a divergence in the cost (benefit) curves, regardless of whether the spillover effects arose from production or consumption activities.