IB@Nesbru vgs

Satelite site for the IB Diploma programme at Nesbru videregående skole


Economics is a dynamic social science, forming 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 social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.

The IB Diploma Programme economics 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.

Prior knowledge

The economics course requires no specific prior learning. No particular background in terms of specific subjects studied for national or international qualifications is expected or required. The specific skills of the economics course are developed within the context of the course itself. The ability to understand and explain abstract concepts and the ability to write in a logically structured manner are distinct advantages in economics.

Syllabus outline

Section 1: Microeconomics

  • Competitive markets: demand and supply
  • Elasticity
  • Government intervention
  • Market failure
  • Theory of the firm and market structures (HL only)

Section 3: International economics

  • International trade
  • Exchange rates
  • The balance of payments
  • Economic integration
  • Terms of trade (HL only)

Section 2: Macroeconomics

  • The level of overall economic activity
  • Aggregate demand and aggregate supply
  • Macroeconomic objectives
  • Fiscal policy
  • Monetary policy
  • Supply-side policies

Section 4: Development economics

  • Economic development
  • Measuring development
  • The role of domestic factors
  • The role of international trade
  • The role of foreign direct investment
  • The roles of foreign aid and multilateral development assistance
  • The role of international debt
  • The balance between markets and intervention


Student learning is continuously assessed in the forms of topic tests, essays, data-response, short-answer and extended response questions, student presentations and bi-annual examinations. All assignments and examinations are assessed using established criteria.

The final assessment from the IB consists of the following components:

The internal assessment component is assessed by subject teacher and moderated externally by the IBO at the end of the course. This component makes up 20% of the final grade and consists of a portfolio of three commentaries.

The external assessment component consists of two examinations at the end of the course.

Adapted from the IB Economics guide © International Baccalaureate Organization