Help broaden your students’ understanding of the underlying economic principals behind current events, as well as other more basic economic concepts.
FOR TEACHERS ONLY: K-ching! Kindergarten affects income, Thursday, October 07, 2010, 2A
FOR THE WEEK OF Oct. 10, 2010
Article Link: "Corn on the job," Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, The Denver Post, 2A
- Benefits: before making a decision (or choice) you have to estimate the expected (future) benefits (good results) in money terms. A benefit means that you are better off.
- Costs: While making a decision (choice) you have to estimate the expected (or future) costs (bad consequences) in money terms. A cost means that you are worse off.
- Economic: economics is the study of how people decide to use scarce resources.
- Market: a system or place where buyers and sellers meet to exchange goods and services for money.
Discussion:This is a report about how scientifically modified corn kills the corn borer and increases corn production for farmers. The farmers benefited by $6.9 billion over the past 14 years in the Upper Midwest. Farmers who did not use the modified corn received a benefit of $4.3 billion which was 62% of the total benefit. They received more benefit because they did not have to buy the more expensive modified corn seeds. Modified corn has controlled this pest which destroys the corn kernels before they are harvested. Most farmers use genetically modified corn (63%).
- Choice: the process of judging the costs and benefits of taking an action. In this article some farmers chose to grow the genetically modified corn and other farmers chose to grow regular corn.
- Unintended consequences: outcomes that are not the results that were expected by an event or decision. The unintended consequences may be positive or negative. In this article the use of genetically modified corn in a neighboring farmer’s field increased corn production in other fields in which regular corn was growing.
Questions for discussion:Can you think of any other examples of unintended consequences? How do you think the farmers feel about this unintended sharing of benefits? Think of a situation where you have measured costs and benefits. How did you decide?
Article Links: "I now pronounce you grad and groom" and "More about marriages," Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, The Denver Post, 12A
- Marriage penalty: refers to the lower marriage rate among college-educated women as compared to non-college women.
- Economically secure: is the condition of having stable income or other resources to support a standard of living now and in the future. It includes job security (including fringe benefits such as health insurance), reliable earnings, and higher income.
- Happy: when someone feels better off. Economists study happiness in order to find out what it takes to give people a sense of well-being. Happiness is a measure of satisfaction with one’s life circumstances. Happiness components include income, but only up to a point (about $75,000/year). After a point more money does not make people happier.
- Choice: the process of judging the costs and benefits of taking an action. In this case the choice is between married or single life. Married adults earn about $10,000 more per year than unmarried adults.
- Opportunity cost: the “implicit” (hidden) cost of giving up the second best choice in favor of a first choice. In this case the opportunity cost of marriage is all the benefits of single life.
Discussion:The article describes the results of a new report that shows that the generation of women born in the last 40 years and attend college are better off then their peers who do not marry. These women are in their late 30’s and are benefiting from better incomes, higher happiness, and increased marriage rates. Earlier generations of college-educated women did not experience these benefits. These college-educated women are also less likely to divorce then their married non-college peers.
Questions for discussion: What are the pros and cons of marriage for women? For men? Why do you think a college education makes a difference in marriage rate? Do you think the declining numbers of men in college will mean that college-educated women will have a hard time getting married? Why or why not? What are the costs and benefits of going to college? For women? For men?
Handy Dandy Guide
6 core economic Principals
Colorado Model Content Standards for Economics
Economics is written by Dennis Grogran, Program
Director, Colorado Council for Economic Education. For information about
CCEE's other programs, call 303-752-2323 or e-mail email@example.com.