Evaluation in Economics

Evaluation is a very important concept in economics. It is what you to when you have finished analysing. By analysing we mean giving your Definitions, Explanations, Examples and Diagrams (DEED). Show how the theories relate to the question and explain the theories. Basically analysing is drawing out the theory and then evaluation is drawing your conclusions and also challenging the analysis.

The hard part about all of this is making sure that you say enough in your analysis and in your evaluation. So you don’t forget, remember to “Do the DEED” when you analyze and then “CLASPP it all together” when you’re evaluating.

On your essay questions and data response questions (on your exams) you’ll need to evaluate. But you don’t need to evaluate in your short-answer questions.


(d.) – A clasp is something that holds things together. But (spelled with 2 P’s) it’s also an acronym for the 6 types of evaluation in IB Economics.

Use at least 3 of these in your Part B questions. Personally, I recommend to my students that they try use Stakeholders, Assumptions each time and include a third one of their choice. We always care a lot about stakeholder effects and assumptions is impressive because it shows that you really understand the theory.


-What can we conclude from the theory (that you’ve explained in your analysis)?

Long-term and short-term effects

-Is the change good in the short-term, but over in a few years it will have undesirable consequences?
-Will the policy be really hard on people in the short-run, but it fixes the long-term problem?
-Will this policy fix one problem, but create another?


-Are there some assumptions being made, that the theory depends on that may not hold true? This is the same as “ceteris paribus” –the assumption that all other things are being held equal, when in fact they might not stay constant. Explain what might change and how that would effect your analysis.
-Tell us the weaknesses in the theory?
-What is unrealistic about the theory?


-What effects would this policy (i.e. an indirect tax) have on the government, consumers, producers and the rest of society?
-Policies (i.e. price ceilings) are often made with particular stakeholders in mind, so are there undesirable effects on other parties (i.e. price increases for consumers)?
-Is the policy great for some groups, but bad for others?


-Discussing the priorities of a society, or the government is also a good way to keep things in perspective. A policy like subsidising schools is good for families, good for the long-term macro economy, but bad for tax payers who don’t have children, what are the priorities as a society?
-Is there an important normative (i.e. values aspect) that the theory doesn’t consider?

Pros and Cons

-What are the advantages and disadvantages of this policy?
-What are the costs and the benefits of this policy?
-What are the arguments for and the arguments against this policy?
-This one is to double-check that you haven’t left anything out in the preceding ones.

6 Responses to Evaluation in Economics

  1. anonyomous says:

    could you please help me out as to how should i start off with my explanation for the graphs and diagrams that i have used in my essay

    • Tim Woods says:

      Basically you want to use the diagrams to help explain what the economic theory says. Economics is fully of weaknesses. It’s hard to make accurate predictions, but we use theories like the basic Supply and Demand curve to make predictions anyway. So you basically just explain how the diagram works –what it shows, using a real life example if you can remember one.

      I tell my students to explain the diagram in a way that a friend of yours, who hasn’t taken econ, would completely understand the explanation. That’s hard to do, but it’s all about writing simply.

  2. anonyomous says:

    if i have used a diagram in my ia and i want to explain it so how do i start my explanation to the diagram ,should i start with in the diagram above or below or is there any other line i should start of with

    • Tim Woods says:

      Either of those ways are fine. It’s normally best to pull in the diagram whenever you think you need it. Think about it as though you were explaining the situation to a friend. When would it make the most sense to pull the diagram into the conversation?

  3. Tim Woods says:

    Hi Kurt, You do not need to define words again in Part B or draw the same diagrams again. In both cases you can refer back to the word you’ve done in Part A. Just don’t assume the marker remembers what you just did. You’ll need to point it out to them, as in “As the diagram in Part A shows,” or, “… as defined in Part A.”

    I would certainly always recommend mentioning a related policy which was not mentioned in the question (as long as you can afford it, timewise). Obviously you’re getting most of your marks for answering the question that was asked, but it can show just how well aware you are when you can mention a policy that might be more appropriate.

    All the best!

  4. Tim Woods says:

    I explain “analysis” in Econ as using theories to explain reality. The price of apples has gone up, so using a supply and demand curve to explain why this might have happened would be analysis.

    Evaluation would be CLASPP things –basically giving perspective to your analysis, helping the reader to understand the extent to which the theory is helpful in this case, etc.

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