Grade 9-12

Costs and Benefits of Political Decisions

Time: 30 mins,
Updated: October 25 2021,


Students will be able to:

  • Identify the costs and benefits of decisions by elected officials.

In this economics activity, students will examine potential influences on political decision-making.


This individual activity will require students to address a current topic from the viewpoint of elected officials, with the influence of constituents, lobbyists, and their own campaign promises. When deciding how to vote on pieces of legislation, elected officials need to consider the impacts on their constituents, lobbyists, and any campaign promises they made. Because their votes are public record, these influences are important factors in their decision-making.

Find news articles or websites with current political issues and an elected official representing your school’s Congressional District (your hometown). You may assign a specific topic or issue to research or allow students to choose their own. You can have students write their answers in a notebook/on a piece of paper or use ReadyAssessments Activity to record their answers. Open the slide deck and display the instructions to students. Read the slides out loud and ask the students to follow the instructions below:

  • Using a current political issue and an elected official representing your Congressional District (your hometown), research information about both topics.┬áKeep in mind, the person elected to Congress represents you and his/her vote is influenced by a variety of other sources: the people who elected him/her, potential lobbyists who have a vested interest in the issue, and any promises or party politics that may impact the vote made by your legislator. When voting, elected officials are weighing their costs and benefits about political decisions that impact your life.
  • Answer the Elected Officials Variables open-ended questions on a piece of paper/notebook or go to ReadyAssessments Activity.