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Welcome

Welcome to the Sloman Economics News Site. Each blog post discusses economic issues in the news and relates these news items to key economic concepts and theories. Links are given to a range of articles and other relevant material and each blog post finishes with a set of discussion questions. (Click here for more details of the site, its authors and for making a guest post.)

Scroll down to read the latest posts, or use the search facilities on the left-hand side to search the articles by date, keyword or your chosen textbook and chapter.

Milking it in the EU

Increased demand for milk and milk-based products has led to the EU agreeing to increase milk quotas by 2% from April. The move was backed by most countries but Germany and Austria opposed the move on the basis that increased quotas would push milk prices down and therefore hit many farmers.

EU farmers to produce more milk BBC News Online (17/3/08)

Questions
1. Using diagrams as appropriate, show how EU milk quotas affect the equilibrium price and level of output in the market for milk.
2. Analyse the likely impact of a 2% increase in quotas on the equilibrium price and level of output in the market for milk. (n.b. as part of your answer you may like to consider the likely value of the price elasticity of demand for milk and the impact this is likely to have on the market price.)
3. Discuss the effectiveness of using milk quotas in maintaining income levels for dairy farmers.

Choice – whether you like it or not!

As economists we often argue that choice is a good thing as it will help to create more efficient and dynamic markets. Public-sector reform has tended to focus on the introduction of choice as a way of making public services more responsive to consumer needs. But is choice always a good thing? The article linked to below from the Guardian considers the trade-off between choice and central planning.

We’re getting choice, whether we want it or not Guardian (16/3/2008)

Questions
1. Explain how increased choice helps to make the public sector more responsive to consumer needs.
2. Discuss whether centrally planned provision of public services, such as healthcare, is likely to lead to more or less efficient services.
3. Assess the extent to which increased choice in the provision of health services is likely to make health care more responsive to people’s healthcare needs.