What Is the New IB Economics Syllabus?

ibdp economics syllabus

As a seasoned writer in International Baccalaureate (IB) topics and a former IB student, I’m thrilled to guide you through the new IB Economics syllabus. Remember, understanding your IB syllabus is the first step toward success in any course. So, let’s jump right in!

Overview of the IBDP Economics Syllabus

The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) Economics syllabus is a fascinating field. From my extensive experience, I can attest that it can provide you with a thorough understanding of economic theories and practices.

In this syllabus, you’ll grapple with the foundational economic concepts. These include demand and supply, market structures, and the basic principles of economic thinking. It’s like learning the alphabet before you can start forming words and sentences. As you progress, the syllabus introduces you to more complex topics, such as market failure and government intervention, which are crucial for understanding the real-world dynamics of economies.

But it doesn’t stop there. The IBDP Economics syllabus introduces you to global economic issues, offering insights into international trade, exchange rates, and the balance of payments. These topics are especially relevant in today’s interconnected world, where economic events in one country can have ripple effects globally.

Furthermore, the syllabus ensures you’re well-versed in critically evaluating economic models and theories. Through my years in this field, I have learned that Economics is not a one-size-fits-all discipline. Different economies require different approaches, and this syllabus prepares you to understand and analyze these variations effectively.

So, the IBDP Economics syllabus is a gateway to understanding economics’s complex and dynamic world. It’s created to ignite your curiosity, sharpen your analytical skills, and prepare you for higher studies and careers in economics and related fields. Remember that you’re not just learning a subject — you’re gaining a perspective that will serve you for a lifetime.

Major Updates in the Syllabus: IB Economics Guide

Now, let’s tackle the changes. As I know from keeping up with IB updates, the new syllabus emphasizes more real-world application. This change is crucial because it helps you, as students, connect what you learn in class with what’s happening in the world. According to general IB criteria, such practical relevance is critical. So, here are updates in the syllabus:

  • Focus on Global Economics. The new syllabus has expanded its lens to include more global economic issues. You will be exploring economic concepts not just in theory but also in the context of global economic events.
  • Incorporation of Contemporary Case Studies. The syllabus includes recent case studies to ensure the material is current and relevant. These help illustrate how economic theories play out in the real world, allowing for a more dynamic and engaging learning experience.
  • Greater Emphasis on Economic Sustainability. There is a stronger focus on sustainability within economics. You will research how economic decisions impact the environment and society, emphasizing the importance of sustainable development.
  • Interactive and Technological Integration. The new syllabus incorporates technology and interactive elements. It could include using economic simulations, online resources, and interactive modules, making the learning process more engaging and versatile.
  • Revised Assessment Criteria. The way you are assessed has also evolved. There is a greater emphasis on evaluating your ability to apply economic concepts to real-world scenarios rather than just recalling theoretical knowledge.
  • Updated Content on Economic Policies. The syllabus has been updated to reflect the latest economic policies and practices across the globe. It ensures that you are learning relevant and applicable economics to the current world scenario.

In my opinion, these updates represent a significant step forward in economics education. They make the subject more relevant for you.

IB Economics Syllabus

In-Depth Look at the Economics IB Guide

IB Economics syllabus is divided into four comprehensive and intriguing parts, each offering a holistic understanding of economics from various angles.

UnitStandard Level (SL) HoursHigher Level (HL) Hours
Introduction to Economics1010
The Global Economy4565
Internal Assessment2020
Total Teaching Hours150240


In this fascinating section, you’ll dig into the core of market dynamics, researching the intricacies of supply and demand and much more. It’s all about understanding the decision-making processes of individuals and businesses. You’ll learn how markets work, how prices are determined, and what happens when markets fail. This section is crucial as it lays the foundation for understanding economic principles at a granular level.


This segment zooms out to the bigger picture, focusing on national economies, fiscal policies, and economic growth. Here, you’ll explore how governments manage their economies through policy-making, the causes and impacts of inflation and unemployment, and how these elements interplay in the economic cycle. This section is vital in helping you understand the broader economic environment affecting us all.

International Economics

This part is incredibly relevant and timely as the world becomes more interconnected. You’ll examine the complexities of international trade, exchange rates, and the effects of globalization. This section is eye-opening, offering insights into how countries interact economically, the benefits and challenges of global trade, and the role of international economic institutions. It’s a fascinating look at economics on a worldwide scale.

Development Economics

Here’s where you tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues today. This section covers economic development, inequality, and poverty. It’s not just about understanding the statistics; it’s about grasping the human impact behind the numbers. You’ll learn about different strategies for development, the challenges developing countries face, and the role of international aid. This part of the syllabus is inspiring, as it opens up perspectives on how economics can be a tool for positive change in the world.

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Economics Key Concepts: IB Syllabus

The IB Economics syllabus does an excellent job of introducing and elaborating on these fundamental concepts, such as scarcity, choice, and efficiency.

Scarcity, a central theme in economics, refers to the basic economic problem — the gap between limited resources and theoretically limitless wants. This concept teaches you the value of resource allocation and the importance of making choices. Every decision, whether by an individual, a business, or a government, involves trade-offs. In this part of the syllabus, you’ll learn how scarcity leads to the necessity of prioritizing and the impact of these decisions on various aspects of life and the economy.

Choice, another key concept, stems directly from the issue of scarcity. It involves selecting the best option from a range of alternatives. This part of the syllabus encourages you to think critically about how and why choices are made and the economic, social, and ethical implications. You’ll research how individuals, businesses, and governments decide how to allocate resources and the consequences of these choices.

Efficiency, meanwhile, is about making the best possible use of scarce resources. In Economics, this means achieving the maximum output with the given inputs or achieving a desired output with minimal waste. This concept is vital in understanding how economies can grow and develop sustainably. The syllabus guides you through different types of efficiencies, such as productive and allocative efficiency, and their importance in various economic contexts.

Moreover, the IB Economics syllabus doesn’t just present these concepts in isolation; it interweaves them through different topics, showing how they are applied in various economic scenarios. This approach helps you see the interconnectedness of economic principles and their practical relevance in the real world.

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Understanding Assessment in IBDP Economics

Now, let’s talk about assessments. Expect to encounter a mix of essay questions, data response questions, and case studies.  For both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL), the external assessment is a significant portion of the final grade and consists of:

  • Paper 1. This paper assesses your ability to apply economic concepts and theories to real-world situations through structured questions. It requires a mix of short answers and extended responses.
  • Paper 2. Here, you’ll be given data response questions that test your ability to interpret and apply economic data and evaluate economic issues.
  • Paper 3 (HL only). This paper features more quantitative questions, where you’ll perform calculations and demonstrate an understanding of economic concepts through numerical data.

The Internal Assessment (IA) is integral to the IBDP Economics course, accounting for 20% of your final SL and HL grades. You’ll need to write three commentaries based on different syllabus sections, each analyzing an article related to an economic issue. It assesses your ability to apply your knowledge to current economic events. The assessment criteria for these commentaries focus on:

  • The relevance of the article chosen.
  • Your ability to explain the economic theories and concepts.
  • The depth of your analysis.
  • The evaluation of the economic impact of the issue is discussed.

Overall, the assessment in IBDP Economics is rigorous and comprehensive, testing a range of skills from data analysis to critical thinking.


The new syllabus is an exciting and comprehensive guide to understanding the micro and macro aspects of Economics. With a focus on real-world application, it can equip you with the knowledge and skills needed in today’s global economy. Happy studying, and remember that you can always contact our experts at IB Writing Service if you need help with Economics IA.