Why study Economics?

Economics is a fascinating subject because it is always topical. We use theories to help analyse the causes and consequences of economic events, such as the global financial crisis that affect all our lives in various ways. A good example is pay and living standards, which have declined for most people living in Britain. Thirty years ago graduates were snapped up by employers who paid them generous starting salaries. Today, many graduates have to work as unpaid interns for a year or two before they are hired. What caused this situation to change? Over the same time period living standards in countries such as South Korea and China have soared. What makes some countries richer than others? Can governments do anything to help, or would it be best for politicians to leave alone?

Economists are also interested in what goes on in the various markets that make up the economy. The housing market is rarely out of the news – prices have more than doubled since you were born. What causes dramatic price changes like that? In 2015 Aldi and Waitrose opened new stores in Guildford. On the other hand Tesco is struggling and planning to close stores. Economic theory can help you to understand why some firms are more profitable than others. Sometimes firms can be tempted to put their profits before the environment. Should government try to stop this by imposing taxes on firms that pollute?

The gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Why do some people earn more than others – why are city lawyers better paid than doctors? Does inequality matter? Should the state top up the wages of the low paid with tax credits?

Tell me more….

Economics is a very analytical subject. Studying Economics will help you to develop problem-solving skills. You will learn to think critically. Critical thinking is the skill used to evaluate big questions, such as: Should the UK leave the European Union?

Balance your subjects – Economics is a wonderful social science mix of words (mainly), diagrams and numbers and NO you don’t need much Mathematics to cope, though you probably will for top university courses later. You’ll use all the skills of your GCSE subjects, so don’t worry about it being new. We get lots of A*and A grades.

Economics Department Staff
  • Mr. Nigel Watson BA - Head of Economics and Business
    Nigel has taught A Level Economics since the late 1980s. Before joining St Catherine’s in 2006 he taught IB Economics and IB Business and Management at Oulu Lyseon in Finland. In addition to his teaching, he enjoys writing about the subject and has authored two Economics textbooks. He also regularly has articles published in magazines, such as: Economics Review and Economics Today.  He has also written an article for the Adam Smith Institute that appeared on their website. A disciple of Mises and Hayek, he is a vocal critic of all things Keynesian! In a previous life he played top level amateur cricket for twenty years for Purley in the Premier Division of the Surrey Championship; and, in the winter, football for Carshalton FC.
  • Mrs Susan Weighell

    Sue has been teaching A level Business and Economics at St Catherine’s since September 2004. She has many years business experience having worked in a variety of roles for organisations such as Marks and Spencer plc, and the City law firm Slaughter and May. Her particular area of interest is the impact of different leadership and management styles on the competitiveness of organisations.
  • Mrs Michelle Phillpotts
    Michelle is a very experienced teacher of both Business and Economics. She joined St Catherine’s in September 2015 after leaving Beaconsfield Grammar School. In her free time she is a very accomplished middle distance runner. Michelle hails from People’s Republic of South Yorkshire (Rotherham).