Economics Case Study Series II

Economics Case Study talking


Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to do well in your economics case study and always struggling to finish in time?


In this part II of case study series (please click here in case you have missed part I), I will be sharing with all of you some little tips that you can employ in your actual exams!


Many students have feedback to me they do not understand what the extracts are talking about.


Extracts come in the form of written poses or economic data like graph, tables, charts and bar charts.


Written poses are real life reflections of your own general knowledge. As harmless as it seems but if you do not read adequately i.e Straits Times, the Economist, you will tend to spend longer time in trying to understand the context of the extracts. You will also tend to miss out key economic concepts disguised in the extracts. As such, day to day reading to build up your economics content & constant practice is the key.


An example of written pose could be like this:


Duties on cigarettes and manufactured tobacco products have remained constant since 2005. In the meantime, smoking prevalence has increased, especially amongst youths aged 18 to 29. To discourage this trend, I will raise the excise duties for cigarettes and manufactured tobacco products by 10%. This is expected to yield additional revenue of about $70 million a year. The last effective increase in liquor duties was made 10 years ago, in 2004, when we rationalised our liquor duties to bring them in line with our international obligations. We will now raise the excise duty rate of all liquor types by 25% to keep pace with inflation. These changes will take effect today and result in a revenue gain of about $120 million a year.

Source: Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore Budget 2014.


The few key points that should come to you immediately are:
1) Tax – possible tax revenue and tax burden diagram;
2) Tax on demerit goods – possible market failure context;
3) Fiscal Policy – pros & cons of raising tax;
4) Gain of tax revenue – possible income redistribution as an microeconomic goal.


Don’t be afraid to use a highlighter to highlight key points!


In our online CSQ technique workshop, I will be sharing in depth on case study exam techniques to systematically dissect the extracts, questions and share with all of you on the key points to look out for.