National Standards in Economics
Name: Decision Making
- Students will understand that: Effective decision making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Many choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices "are all or nothing" decisions.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Make effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens.
Name: Government Failure
- Students will understand that: Costs of government policies sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public, or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify some public policies that may cost more than the benefits they generate, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs. Explain why the policies exist.
- Students will understand that: People usually respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify incentives that affect people's behavior and explain how incentives affect their own behavior.
- Students will understand that: Institutions evolve and are created to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, markets, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions. A different kind of institution, clearly defined and enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Describe the roles of various economic institutions and explain the importance of property rights in a market economy.
Name: Role of Government and Market Failure
- Students will understand that: There is an economic role for government in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also have direct or indirect effects on people's incomes.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify and evaluate the benefits and costs of alternative public policies, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs.
- Students will understand that: Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify what they gain and what they give up when they make choices.