Economics Project 

Economics Project 2021 (20% of final grade) 

Research Theme: The Covid-19 crisis resulted in many sectors of Irish society and the Irish economy changing and adapting dramatically in order to ensure the long term sustainability of the country. The Irish government, the world of business and the world of work face many critical challenges in dealing with this crisis.

“The Covid-19 crisis has revealed a number of critical challenges in relation to Ireland’s economic, environmental and social sustainability”.

Research Topic 1: Candidates are required to pursue an individual line of enquiry on the potential implications of the Covid-19 crisis on sustainable development for individual behaviour or business decisions at a local, national or international level.

Research Topic 2: Candidates are required to pursue an individual line of enquiry on the potential implications of the Covid-19 crisis on sustainable development for Irish Government policy.

This is quite a straightforward project. Prior to the Covid19 crisis, policy makers had debated as to whether economists use the classical measures of economic performance to measure growth. In light of the Covid19 crisis, there is a push to also measure degradation of scarce resources in national statistics. Thus to use the crisis as a reset, to redefine how our societies measure long term economic performance or sustainability. Notably, there is no numerical acknowledgement in National Income of degradation to the Factor of Production: Land. 

The aim of our Sunday 1-2.30pm class is to assist you in sourcing the data for your project, but also to use the opportunity to develop and complete the macroeconomics for the written examination, ensuring the time is beneficial to the written examination as well. 

  • Tutor: Dr. Barry Ryan
  • School: Kilmartin Educational Services, 83 O’Connell Street, Limerick City
  • Credentials:
    • BSc. :UCD First Class Honours, Mathematics and Mathematical Physics
    • MSc: UCD  First Class Honours, Mathematical Physics
    • PhD: California Institute of Technology, Applied Mathematics

Taught undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics, physics and applied mathematics at UCD and Caltech. Subsequently, before semi retiring home to Ireland, ran mathematical modeling, economics strategies and asset allocation at leading global financial institutions and hedge funds, in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. This entailed managing teams of mathematicians, traders, economists and software engineers to devise mathematical strategies across global equity, currency and commodities markets.


Below is a broad outline of the economics course (for students taking this course outside of school).  For each topic, students will be given:

(1) A topic list (a list of all of the concepts/theories/ issues that the student must know for a given topic),

(2) A copy of all past exam questions for a given topic from the last 10 years

(3) A gapped handout which covers everything on the topic list.     

The focus of each class will be on (a) working through the gapped handout so that the course content is learned and (b) working through the past exam questions. 

For 5th years studying economics outside of school, there are 4 official exams at KES: Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Summer.  For 6th years, studying economics outside of school, there are 5 official exams at KES: Halloween, Christmas and 3 mock exams in term 2.  The Leaving Cert exam itself must be taken at each students own school.

Topics will include:

Topic 1: Markets and Elasticity

This topic covers the basic microeconomic principles of demand, supply and elasticity.

Topic 2: Producer Theory

This topic covers the theory of the firm.  In particular, firms’ costs and how the degree of competition in the industry affects individual firms, in terms of prices, output, and the amount of profit that can be earned.    

Topic 3: Factor Income

This topic covers the four factors of production: land, labour, capital and enterprise. 

Topic 4: National Income

This is the foundation topic for macroeconomics in that it covers how national income is determined.  (A simple demand determined model of national income is used). 

Topic 5: Unemployment and the Economics of Population

The economics of population section covers issues such as the aging population and emigration.

Topic 6: Inflation

Topic 7: Money and Banking

The main issues covered here are how commercial banks operate, the European Central Bank and Monetary Policy and current banking issues such as NAMA and bank nationalisation

Topic 8: The Government and the Economy

This topic covers what the government can do to influence the economy and in particular what the current policies are.  Also this topic covers the details of governments own accounts (income and expenditure) and the economic impact of a government budget surplus or a deficit. If the government runs a deficit, then government borrowing will take place so this is where government borrowing is covered. 

Topic 9: International Trade and the Balance of Payments

The main issues relating to international trade are: the law of comparative advantage, imports and exports and exchange rates.  The balance of payments is a record of our transactions with the rest of the world over a period of time i.e. it records the total amount of money that comes into the country and the total amount of money that goes out of the country. Foreign Direct Investment is also covered here as is the European Union. 

Topic 10: Economic Growth and Development

The difference between economic growth and economic development is addressed here,

aswell as the costs and benefits of growth and development. In addition, we take a brief look at developing economies, what the requirements are for economic development and what the developed countries can do to help. 

Topic 11: Economic Thought

The three types of economic systems are covered here: a market economy, a command economy and a mixed economy. Also we examine the contribution made by some of the most famous economists, starting with the alleged father of Modern Economics, Adam Smith (1923-1790).  It is appropriate to learn about the economists at the end of the course as the economic theories and ideas will already have been learned so it will just be a matter of associating a particular economist with these theories and ideas.