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Introduction to Economics
Semester Elective
Authored by: Felicia Fellows
Reviewed by:
Mark DeBiasse, Supervisor of Humanities
Dr. Michael Rossi, Superintendent of Schools
Approval Date: September 10, 2013
Members of the Board of Education:
Lisa Ellis, President
Patrick Rowe, Vice-President
David Arthur
Kevin Blair
Shade Grahling
Linda Gilbert
Thomas Haralampoudis
James Novotny
Superintendent: Dr. Michael Rossi
Madison Public Schools
359 Woodland Road, Madison, NJ 07940
Introduction to Economics is a semester elective that introduces students to economics as an
evolving social science and teaches students to recognize and deal with the essential problem of
scarcity. The course is divided into interrelated micro and macro economic units.
Scarcity and choice are a part of everyone’s life. “We cannot opt out of economic decisions.
Our only options are to be informed, uninformed, or misinformed, when making our
choices.” Thomas Sowell
Economics studies the decisions people make, why we make them, and the consequences of those
decisions. We have to make decisions because we have unlimited needs and wants but limited
resources. With each decision we face trade offs. Decisions made impact us individually and
collectively. This course introduces students to the nature of economic thinking and gives students
particular tools of analysis that will help them understand the fundamental economic forces that
directly affect their lives and the lives of others. The state of New Jersey, recognizing the essential
nature of economic study, has become the third state in the United States to implement a 2.5
Credit Graduation Requirement for Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy:
N.J.A.C. 6A: 8-5.1(a) 1v requires "At least 2.5-credits in financial, economic, business, and
entrepreneurial literacy, effective with the 2010-2011 grade nine class." This course fulfills this
New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards
9.2 Personal Financial Literacy
A. Income and Careers
9.2.12.A.1: Analyze the relationship between various careers and personal earning goals.
9.2.12A.3: Analyze how the economic, social, and political conditions of a time period can affect
starting a business and can affect a plan for establishing such an enterprise.
9.2.12A.5: Evaluate current advances in technology that apply to a selected occupational career
9.2.12.A 8: Analyze how personal and cultural values impact spending and other financial
9.2.12.A.10: Explain the relationship between government programs and services and taxation.
B. Money Management
9.2.12.B1: Prioritize financial decisions by systematically considering alternatives and possible
9.2.12.B.4: Analyze how income and spending plans are affected by age, needs, and resources.
9.2.12.B.6: Analyze how changes in taxes, inflation, and personal circumstances can affect a
personal budget.
C. Credit and Debt Management
9.2.4.C.1: Explain why people borrow money and the relationship between credit and debt.
9.2.4.C.2: Identify common sources of credit (e.g., loans, credit cards, mortgages).
9.2.12.C.8: Evaluate the implications of personal and corporate bankruptcy for self and others.
E: Becoming a Critical Consumer
9.2.12.E.3: Evaluate how media, bias, purpose, and validity affect the prioritization of consumer
decisions and spending.
9.2.12.E.4: Evaluate business practices and their impact on individuals, families, and societies.
F: Civic Financial Responsibility
9.2.12.F.2: Summarize the concept and types of taxation used to fund public initiatives.
9.2.12.F.3: Assess the impact of emerging global economic events on financial planning.
9.2.12.F.4: Analyze how citizen decisions and actions can influence the use of economic
resources to achieve societal goals and provide individual services.
9.2.12.F.7: Explain the concept and forms of taxation and justify the use of taxation to fund
public activities and initiatives.
9.2.12.F.8: Evaluate the effects of entrepreneurship on economic stability and quality of living in
local and global communities.
9.2.12.F.9: Assess the impact of the global economy on entrepreneurial opportunities.
6.1 U.S. History: America in the World
3. Expansion and Reform
6.1.12.C.3.a: Analyze how technological developments transformed the economy, created
international markets, and affected the environment in New Jersey and the nation.
6.1.12.D.3a: Determine how expansion created opportunities for some and hardships for others
by considering multiple perspectives.
5. The Development of the Industrial United States
6.1.12.C.5.a: Analyze the economic practices of various business organization (i.e., corporations
and monopolies) regarding the production and marketing of goods, and explain the positive or
negative impact of these practices on the nation and individuals.
6.1.12.C.5.c: Analyze the cyclical nature of the economy and the impact of periods of expansion
and recession on businesses and individuals.
9. The Great Depression and World War II: The Great Depression
6.1.12.C.9.a: Explain how government can adjust taxes, interest rates, and spending and use
other policies to restore the country’s economic health.
6.1.12.C.9.b: Explain how economic indicators (i.e., gross domestic product, the consumer
index, the national debt, and the trade deficit) are used to evaluate the health of the economy.
6.1.12.C.9.c: Explain the interdependence of various parts of a market economy.
12. Postwar U.S.: Cold War
6.1.12.C.12.d: Assess the role of the public and private sectors in promoting economic growth
and ensuring economic stability.
14. Contemporary United States: Domestic Policies
6.1.12.C.14.a: Use economic indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of state and national fiscal
and monetary policies.
6.1.12.C.14.b: Judge to what extent government should intervene at the local, state, and national
levels on issues related to the economy.
6.1.12.C.14.c: Analyze economic trends, income distribution, labor participation (i.e.,
employment, the composition of the work force), and government and consumer debt and their
impact on society.
16. Contemporary United States: Interconnected Global Society
6.1.12.C.16.b: Predict the impact of technology on the global workforce and on entrepreneurship.
6.1.12.C.16.c: Assess the impact of international trade, global business organizations, and
overseas competition on the United States economy and workforce.
Common Core Standards:
Science and Technical Subjects
RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or
depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the
RST.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words
and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10
texts and topics.
RST.11-12.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words
and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12
texts and topics.
RST.9-10.5. Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including
relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
RST.9-10.6. Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure,
or discussing an experiment in a text, defining the question the author seeks to address.
RST.9-10.7. Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into
visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or
mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.
History/Social Studies
RH.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including
vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
RH. 11-12.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary
sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the texts as a
Unit One: Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Models: Scarcity and Choice
What is Economics?
Why does it matter?
Can a decision be economic, if there is no money involved?
How does it affect everyone?
What is the nature of economic thinking?
How is the economists’ craft practiced?
How can we make the best economic choices?
How does a society decide who gets what goods and services?
Adam Smith had a high opinion of capitalism, despite his low opinion of
capitalists. How does this relate to the difference between systemic causation
and intentional causation?
What are the five/six major elements critical to an operating free market
In what ways is the Constitution of the United States an economic document?
Does the presence or absence of property rights make any difference to people
who own no property?
What role should government play in a free market economy?
Unit Two: Supply and Demand
Who benefits from the free market economy?
How do we decide what to buy?
How do suppliers decide what goods and services to offer?
What is the right price?
How does competition (or the lack of) affect your choices?
How can I participate more fully in decision-making processes as both
consumer and producer?
What information do “naturally occurring” prices convey?
What is the difference between a shortage of a product and physical scarcity?
Can there be growing scarcity without a growing shortage – or a growing
shortage without growing scarcity?
How can there be surplus food in a society where people are hungry?
What is the relationship between incentives and the laws of supply and
What role should government play in a free market economy?
When a government institution or program produces counterproductive results,
is that necessarily a sign of irrationality or incompetence on the part of those
who run that particular institution or program?
Unit Three: Market Structures/Business
a. How does competition (or the lack of) affect your choices?
b. What is meant by the phrase “the evolution of cooperation?”
c. What are the risks and benefits of sole proprietorships, partnerships and
franchises, and corporations?
d. How are some businesses organized to “help others”?
e. Why do some businesses succeed and others fail?
f. What role should government play in a free market?
g. What is the relationship between incentives and market structures?
Unit Four: Labor
How can workers best meet the challenges of a changing economy?
How do economic trends affect workers?
What is meant by creative destruction? Who “wins” and who “loses”?
Why do some people earn more/less than others?
What is unemployment?
How much can we reduce unemployment?
What role should government play in a free market economy?
What is the relationship between incentives and labor?
How can businesses and labor best achieve their goals?
Unit Five: Government
What role should government play in a free market economy?
Why does a society provide public goods?
What is the difference between private, public, and quasi-public goods?
What is meant by market failure – externalities?
To what degree should the government discourage negative externalities and
encourage positive ones?
f. How do taxes change behavior that can affect the whole economy for better or
g. What is the relationship between incentives and taxation?
h. How can taxation meet the needs of the government and the people?
Unit Six: Money
What is money?
How does it function?
What forces impact the value of money?
How can you make the most of your money?
How do spending, saving and investment choices affect your future?
Unit Seven: Banking/Fiscal and Monetary Policy
a. What is a bank?
How well do financial institutions serve our needs?
Why does it matter how the economy is doing?
How do we know if an economy is healthy?
How effective is fiscal policy as an economic tool?
How effective is monetary policy as an economic tool?
What role should government play in a free market economy?
Unit Eight: International Trade: Opportunity Cost in Action
How might scarcity divide our world or bring it together?
Why do nations trade?
What is the critical distinction between absolute and comparative advantage?
Why is an understanding of this distinction important?
What is considered a “favorable balance of trade”? Why is it considered
favorable? Is it also favorable to producing prosperity in the economy?
f. What economic difference does it make when the level of honesty in one
country is very different from that in another country?
g. What are the costs and benefits of international trade?
h. Should free trade be encouraged?
Scarcity and choice are a part of everyone’s life. “We cannot opt out of economic decisions.
Our only options are to be informed, uninformed, or misinformed, when making our
choices.” Thomas Sowell
This course is designed to make it easier to be informed. Structured around essential
questions, Intro to Economics combines accessible direct instruction, vivid “real life”
examples, practice, application, and simulation, introducing students to the manner in which
economists think about the world and attempt to solve problems. Multiple opportunities and
strategies are utilized in an attempt to demystify the dismal science. Activities encourage and
challenge students to apply basic economic principles and thinking to their own lives.
Evaluation of objectives may include:
Tests and quizzes
Simulation participation and debriefing write-ups/discussions
Article analysis/graphing
Case study analysis
Reflection papers
In-class activities
Homework assignments
Student Text:
O’Sullivan, Arthur, Sheffrin, Steven M., Wiggins, Grant.
Upper Saddle River, NJ.2010.
Economics. Prentice Hall:
BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
BEA: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Chapter readings:
Levitt, Steven D. & Dubner, Stephen J. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the
Hidden Side of Everything. Harper Collins: New York. 2005.
Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. Basic
Books: New York. 2011.
Wheelan, Charles. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. W.W. Norton &
Company: New York. 2010.
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The Economist
SUGGESTED RESOURCES for Simulations and Videos:
Capstone: The Nation’s High School Economics Course: Student Activities
Favorite Ways to Learn Economics: Anderson and Chasey
Focus: High School Economics, National Council on Economic Education (NCEE)
Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE)
Games Economists Play: Non-Computerized Classroom-Games for College Economic by
Greg Delemeester and Jurgen Brauer (google: Games Economists Play) Games are
easily adaptable for high school
Game – Online games of strategy
Hudsucker Proxy (hula-hoop clip)
A Beautiful Mind (excepts and special features: Meeting John Nash)
Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room (chapter with brief nudity deleted)
CBS: 60 minutes: Sarbannes-Oxley
CNBC Originals: ex: Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing
The New Age of Walmart
Inside the Mind of Google
Frontline: ex: Is Walmart Good for America
NJTODAY: Ryans Heart parts 1 and 2
PBS Online Newshour: NYDJ Case Study
ACDC Leadership: Jacob Clifford
Eminent Domain Battle Ends 9-15-09 Youtube: Asbury Park Press
Eminent Domain Ruins a Small Town: Youtube: Hannity
Eminent Domain: Voices of American Law: Duke University: Kelo vs New
London Ct.
Institute for Justice: licenses
World Courses: Game Theory: Cigarette advertising ban
This pacing guide is a rough guide for a block-scheduled semester course with 69 scheduled
classes. Semester 1 and Semester 2 do not have the same number of scheduled class periods.
Furthermore, individual classes may not have the same numbered of scheduled class periods. In
reality, the class may meet only 63 times. No matter what any year may hold, in terms of
scheduling, Chapters 1-6 are the most essential. The essential questions, economic concepts and
skills in these units lay fundamental groundwork for the units that follow.
Unit One: Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Models: Scarcity and Choice (15 days)
Student Text: Chapter 1: Sections 1, 2, & 3: What is Economics?
Chapter 2: Sections 1, 2, 3, & 4: Economic Systems
Chapter 3: Section 1: American Free Enterprise
Chapter 18: Section 3 Economies in Transition
Personal Financial Handbook 40-41
Unit Two: Supply and Demand (16 days)
Student Text: Chapter 4: Sections 1, 2, & 3: Demand
Chapter 5: Sections 1, 2, & 3: Supply
Chapter 6: Sections 1, 2, & 3: Prices
Personal Financial Handbook 32-39
Unit Three: Market Structures/Business (11 days)
Student Text: Chapter 7: Sections 1, 2, 3, & 4: Market Structures
Chapter 8: Sections 1, 2, 3, & 4: Business Organizations
Personal Financial Handbook 10-13
Unit Four: Labor (6 days)
Student Text: Chapter 5: Section 2: Cost of Production
Chapter 9: Sections 1, 2, & 3: Labor
Chapter 12: Section 2: Business Cycles
Chapter 13: Section1: Unemployment
Personal Financial Handbook 42-43
Unit Five: Government (5 days)
Student Text: Chapter 14: Sections 1, 2, 3, & 4: Taxes and Government Spending
Chapter 3: Sections 2, 3, & 4: American Free Enterprise
Personal Financial Handbook 44-47
Unit Six: Money (3 days)
Student Text: Chapter 10: Section 1: Money
Chapter 13: Section 2: Inflation
Chapter 12: Section 1: Gross Domestic Product
Personal Financial Handbook 5-9, 10-13, 16-21, 22-27
Unit Seven: Banking/Fiscal and Monetary Policy (4 days)
Student Text: Chapter 10: Sections 2 & 3: Banking
Chapters 15: Sections 1, 2, & 3: Fiscal Policy
Chapter 16: Sections 1, 2, 3, & 4: Monetary Policy
Personal Financial Handbook 22-27
Unit Eight: International Trade: Opportunity Cost in Action (9 days)
Student Text: Chapter 17: Sections 1, 2, & 3: International Trade