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April 23, 2021, 09:59:13 pm

Author Topic: How to Write an Economics Essay  (Read 15451 times)  Share 

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How to Write an Economics Essay
« on: July 17, 2017, 09:05:39 pm »
Hey everyone!!

One of the hardest parts of the whole economics course, besides the enormous amount of dry content we are expected to know, was actually figuring out a way to write all of it in a way that “synthesis knowledge, integrates economic concepts and demonstrates a clear understanding of every topic.”

With the upcoming trials *cries* I thought I would write up a quick guide on how best to approach economics essays!!

The most important thing before starting to write an essay is to look at the directive verb, this should dictate how you structure your response. You should be familiar with them for your other subjects too, they tend to pop up a lot in short answer questions as well!! If you need to refresh your memory check out this

To show you how to write an economics essay, I’ll be integrating an essay I wrote in my trial:

“For an economy other than Australia, discuss and evaluate the strategies used to promote economic growth and development

Let’s break down the question firstly:
Discuss – provide points for an against
Evaluate – provide a judgment based on criteria
Strategies – this is asking us for policies the government put into place
Economic growth and Development – it is important to know the difference between the two (they are defined in the essay) as well as the criteria for each so that you can properly evaluate if the strategies lead to Economic growth and development

The first thing you should ALWAYS do is PLAN!!! You should always brain dump anything your mind thinks of then assess what you have written, what is relevant, what your structure will be. Here is a picture of my planning page for this essay.

The introduction to your essay is incredibly important. It’s your marker’s first impression of your whole essay; make a sh*t one and your marker will be slightly annoyed when reading the rest of it. Markers want succinct and sophisticated introductions that provide a clear outline of your essay, as well as your stance on the question. So how do you make sure your marker loves your introduction?

1. Your introduction should always start with a definition of the key words in the question, this shows the marker that you know exactly what you are talking about and it can help with clarity as you have already established what the economic concepts is.
2. The next sentence should address the question and be your “thesis” for your essay which basically outlines your argument and your stance – this is especially evident if it is a question that requires a judgement.
3. Your next few sentences should outline what will be in your subsequent paragraphs – this can be done pretty briefly as you will explain more within the paragraphs.
4. Finally, sum up your introduction by linking your paragraphs to your thesis and the question.

Economic growth is defined as an increase in the total value of goods and services produced by an economy over a period of time, whereas economic development is a qualitative measure of a countries wellbeing based on quality of life which is measured through the Human Development Index (HDI) using criteria of GNI/capita, mean years of schooling and life expectancy. The Chinese economy has undergone major structural reforms in order to promote economic growth and development by embracing globalisation. Economic growth and development have successfully been increased through strategies such as the Open-Door Policy, Agricultural Reforms and Special Economic Zones. These changes have seen increases in China’s GDP growth as well as HDI and other development attributes. More over these policies benefits have not been shared equally as there a large extent of inequality within China.

Trend Analysis
The next paragraph should always be a trend analysis outlining the trends in whatever economic concept you are being asked. You should include what has happened to the concept in recent years as well as why it happened.
This includes the direction (increase/decrease), a high point, a low point, an average and a current point. This should be repeated for as many trends as necessary, dictated by the question. For the question posed, it asks about Economic growth as well as development in a country other than Australia. This section gives the marker the context of what you are talking about; we’ve all been told to use statistics and trends in our essays, this is where the bulk of them should go. These trends, and reasons for them, have been set out below:

Prior to Deng’s rule, China was a closed economy having growth rates less than 5% as well as increasing poverty and low development. After and during Deng’s reign, the policies aforementioned boosted aggregate demand and supply seeing an increase in GDP growth that averaged 11.9% for 3 decades and reached a high of 16% in 1995 and 14% in 2007, maintaining high growth until the GFC which unlike other economies slowed but did not go into negative at 7%. GDP growth is still high but has significantly slowed since then currently at 6.9% as at 10/8/16. Due to GDP growth China’s HDI increased from 0.432 in 1980 and currently at 0.732 in 2015 showing rising development within China; reinforced by 400 million less people in absolute poverty (less than $1.25 USD a day). However, income inequality has significantly worsened within China, with the combined income of households in eastern coastal regions have 2.7x more income than inland regions.

The body of your essay is where you really start to explain the different concepts and then apply them to real life global events. You’ll find that these are incredibly similar to English essays in your paragraph structure and hopefully they will be a little easier to write!

1. You should always start each paragraph with a topic sentence outlining what you will be discussing.
2. Then you should include a definition (if applicable) of whatever the concept in this paragraph is; you should then provide an explanation of what it is and how it works.
2a. With this, you should try to provide diagrams to show what you are talking about and explain the concepts more clearly; you should never just throw in a diagram without explaining it.
3. The next few sentences vary depending on the question, but they usually are along the lines of showing the cause or effect of something; or showing advantages and disadvantages.
4. Just like how you have quotes in an English essay as textual evidence, you need to show evidence of what you are saying is true and not just theoretically. Each time you show a cause/effect of something or provide an advantage/disadvantage, use an example from real life to prove what you are saying is true.
5. You should repeat steps 3 and 4 for as many times as you need. With questions that ask for an explanation of how something leads to another thing, make sure you provide every necessary step in order to get there – e.g. exchange rate appreciates = costs more for overseas buyers to exchange their currency = less likely to buy our exports if not internationally competitive = decrease in exports = since economic growth is driven by Aggregate demand in the short/medium term = it will cause a slow-down in economic growth = less total national income = lower living standards as less money to go towards material possessions.
6. Finally, end each of your paragraphs with a linking sentence back to the question.

Here’s an example body paragraph to the above question:

Special Economic Zones within China have promoted both economic growth and development. Through reforms to create special economic zones along coastal ports; Transnational Corporation investment was incentivised through tax cuts and the abundant labour supply (loose legislation). From increased investment through FDI flows, Aggregate Demand (C + I + G + X – M) was boosted as seen in figure 1 where an increase in Aggregate demand results in an increase of Output from Q to Q1. This saw an increase in economic growth from 4% to approximately 7% in 1980s as investment contributed 40% within this time. Due to FDI, China’s employment within that area increased which gave these people higher incomes that could spent on food, shelter, education or healthcare, improving economic development. Businesses in China increased production of mainly manufactured foods which increased Aggregate Supply in the economy as seen in figure 2 where an increase of Aggregate supply from AS to AS1 creates an increase in GDP from Q1 to Q2. This increase facilitated an increase in productive capacity and thus fostered economic growth. Through this policy taxation was collected from TNC’s which was used by the Government to fund expenditure in healthcare, infrastructure, education which significantly improved development throughout China. However, inequality between the coastal SEZ regions and rural areas has resulted, seeing 40% of the population still living in absolute/extreme poverty and the Lorenz gap widening as seen in figure 3. Thus, the special economic zone strategy has promoted both economic growth and development.


You’ve smashed out a stellar introduction, given the marker flawless body paragraphs that clearly explain economic theory and relationships and shown you are up to date with contemporary economics; the only thing left to do is to conclude your essay in a way that solidifies your greatness in the marker’s mind. So, how do you do it?

1. Your first sentence should be restating your thesis that directly links back to the question.
2. Your second few sentences should be a really quick summary of what you talked about in each of your paragraphs and how they relate to your argument as well as the question.
3. Lastly, you should sum up your argument again, taking into account any counter arguments.

Ultimately, China’s strategies to open up the economy to global markets and increase efficiency have successfully facilitated economic growth and development. Policies including the Open-Door Policy, Special Economic Zones, Agricultural Reforms and Taxation Reforms have created higher growth levels and development levels than China has previously had; enabling the transition to an emerging economy soon to be advanced. Whilst many benefits have come to China’s popular, inequality has been created between Eastern and Western/Northern provinces, seeing a significant amount of China’s population still in extreme poverty; even so, overall strategies have been effective. 

And that’s it!!! You’ve delivered an amazing band 6 worthy essay and you didn’t even break a sweat!! I really hope you found this guide super helpful, I know that when I first started writing economic essays I was so confused as to what to talk about, how many stats to have, how to integrate trends and diagrams… But I really hope you are a little bit more at ease now and have some direction. By all means, this is not the be all and end all structure; feel free to mix up body paragraphs and go into depth about one particular concept or split up all of your advantages/disadvantages – this is just a simple rough guide that can be moulded to suit your particular style. As always, if you need help or clarification on anything, be sure to make an account and post your questions!! There are many people that definitely have the same questions as you, no question is too stupid!!

Isaac :D
HSC 2016:   ATAR: 99+
Mathematics - 97    Economics - 96     Legal Studies - 95     Advanced English - 91    Business Studies - 95

2017: B Commerce/B Law @ UNSW  

For essay marking or tutoring enquiries, send a message to [email protected] :P


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Re: How to Write an Economics Essay
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 09:12:00 pm »

guys you can trust this guide Isaac knows what he's talking about (as demonstrated through the stimulus provided).

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

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Re: How to Write an Economics Essay
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 09:29:47 pm »
Life is weird and crazy as heck but what can you do?


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Re: How to Write an Economics Essay
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 09:34:50 pm »
Great work, Isaac!

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