In the Spring term of each year, any school students studying UK GCSE, A level, SQC Intermediate 2/Highers or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses are invited to write a unique essay of between 1,000 to 2,500 words, on a subject set by the President of the Royal Economic Society, calling on key elements of their studies, examples from the world around them and imaginative discussion. Applications for each year's essay topics are managed online through our partners tutor2u, the UK's leading online educational publisher who provide advice and resources to assist students. (View Tutor2U's blog and video on referencing)
RES Young Economist of the Year 2017 is now closed.
Congratulations to our 2017 Joint Winners:
Louise Averill(King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon) - Read Essay
Matthew Thorne (King's College Taunton) - Read Essay
For the Judges Report - Click Here
For a list of Finalists and Highly Commended Entries - Click Here
Due to the large number of entries we regret that no feedback can be provided for individual essays.
Students had to choose from the following essay topics:
1. A recent UK tribunal case has found that Uber drivers are not self-employed and so should be paid the minimum wage and holiday pay. Is this to the advantage of actual and potential drivers or not?
2. Some politicians have proposed a maximum wage to lessen inequality. From an economics perspective, do you think it is good idea?
3. “Governments should raise the public science budget, to boost flagging UK productivity growth”. Do you agree? Explain your answer.
4. “Having more grammar schools would help raise education levels and opportunities”. Do you agree? Explain your answer.
5. “If you don't look after your health, you can't expect free access to healthcare”. Is this wrong? What are the economic arguments?
6. A report (Hendryreview.wordpress.com) has recently concluded that it's worth investing in tidal lagoon systems even though the energy produced is expensive. What are the key judgements and assumptions which lead to this conclusion and how would you challenge them?
You will find more resources and details on these topics at tutor2U.net
The winner of the Young Economist of the Year receives an award and wins £1,000, with runners-up each receiving £500. All those on the final shortlist or highly commended lists will receive a certificate from our partners in the competition, the online educational resource publisher tutor2U.net.
Who is judging the competition?
Tutor2u arranges a panel of over 20 Economics teacher judges from across the UK, who meet over two days to read through all of the entries and put together a shortlist of essays for final judging and also a list of highly commended entries from the 2016 competition which are then passed to the Royal Economic Society for the final judging. The RES judging panel in 2017 will be made up of: Andrew Chesher (President, RES), Jonathan Haskel (Imperial College London), Bridget Rosewell (Volterra Partners) and Alvin Birdi (Economics Network and University of Bristol).
The deadline for submitting essays was Sunday, 9th July 2017 at 2359 hours (GMT).
Previous Years’ Essay Titles and Competition Winners
From this page, you can link to the Essay titles and Competition winners and runners-up, their essays and the judges' reports from previous years:
RES Young Economist of the Year 2016 - Sherwood Lam. 2016 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2015 - Lok Yin Cheng. 2015 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2014 - Kartik Vira. 2014 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2013 - Ellie Heatherill. 2013 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2012 - Calum You. 2012 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2011 - Mayank Banarjee. 2011 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2010 - Jessica Hawley. 2010 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2009 - Tiffany Young. 2009 Winning Essay and Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2008 - Lizzy Burden & Promit Anwar. 2008 Winning Essays & Judges Report
RES Young Economist of the Year 2007 - Zoe Hart. 2007 Judges Report
The paper is two hours 45 minutes long. You must answer five questions out of nine. All questions carry 80 marks, making a total of 400 marks. Higher-level students must answer two questions from both Section 1 and Section 2 and may choose their fifth question from either section. Ordinary-level students must answer one question from both Section 1 and Section 2 and may choose their final three questions from either section. The content of this course for both the higher and ordinary levels is similar. However, more detail and depth is required for a higher-level answer.
The paper is usually divided as follows:
Section 1 - Scientific
Question 1 - Nutrients or additives Question 2 - Foods or special diets; menu planning/recipes Question 3 - Physiology Question 4 - Foods or microbiology or food preservation/recipes
Questions 5 and 6 - Sociology/consumer studies Questions 7, 8 and 9 - Home management (to include electricity and appliances; water/heating systems; interior decoration; finance and housing)
Exam technique and timing
Take five minutes to read the paper carefully. Pick your five questions from the two sections as directed for higher or ordinary level.
Highlight key words and use these in your answer, e.g. using fresh fish, describe how you would prepare, cook and serve an attractive main course dish suitable for a weight conscious teenager.
Highlight plurals to ensure you answer the question fully, e.g. use diagrams.
Allow 30 minutes per question. Use the last few minutes to read the questions and your answers to make sure that you have answered everything you have been asked. Finally, on the day of the exam have the following with you: pens/biros (red/black/blue), pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser and ruler.
Section 1: Scientific
(usually Questions 1 and 2)
THE food science section of the course involves the study of the six nutrients, nutrition, special diets, meal planning and practical cookery. Nutrition is the study of the chemical nutrients in foods and how the body utilises them. The science of food looks at the behaviour of food components in storage, processing, cooking, and digestion. In studying diet and special diets one learns about the special nutrient needs of some individuals. Finally, meal planning and cookery is the process of putting the science of food and nutrition theory into practice. The following terms appear in the questions in Section 1:
You are required to list the information in point form. For example: Question: List the dietary sources of iron. (Q.1 - ordinary level 2000) Answer: Liver, red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, whole cereals, brown bread.
You are required to list in numbered points, in order of importance, giving a brief description, if applicable. For example: Question: Enumerate the main sources of calcium in the diet. (Q.1 - higher level 1996) Answer: Milk, cheese, bones of tinned fish (as canning softens the bones)
Give an account or describe
You are required to give a detailed description. You must answer in point form and back up your answers with examples. Use a diagram if you are asked for an "illustrated account" or to "describe the construction".
You are required to group items by similarities, e.g. items which have the same structure or function. For example: Question: Classify carbohydrates (Q.1 - Higher level 1994) Answer: The classification of carbohydrates is based on their structure:
Monosaccharides: Made up of one sugar unit, e.g. glucose, fructose, galactose.
Disaccharides: Made up of two sugar units, e.g. sucrose, maltose, lactose.
Polysaccharides: Made up of many sugar units, e.g. starch, cellulose, pectin.
(Either Question 2 or 4)
List each of the six nutrients (protein, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, water) and use them as headings.
Under each, state: (a) The percentage, e.g. Protein in milk: milk contains 31/2 per cent protein. (b) The type of nutrient present. For example, The protein in milk is of High Biological Value. Proteins in milk are caseinogen, lactoglobulin and lactalbumin. (c) Nutrients which are absent (if appropriate). For example, minerals in milk. Milk contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, however, iron is absent.
Give a minimum of five points. Structure each point as follows to ensure that you include all vital points - associate the nutrient that is present with a specific diet, then state why the nutrient is important to that diet. For example, calcium is present in milk and it is important in the diet of babies, young children and teenagers as they all require calcium for growth.
Nutritive value to the diet
(either question 2 or 4)
This is a mixture of nutritive value and dietetic value. Answer using the six "nutrient headings".
Associate the detailed nutrient information with specific diets. For example: Question: Nutritional value of chicken in a diet. Answer: Protein. The protein present in chicken is of HBV. Protein is necessary in all diets, especially for children, teenagers and the elderly.
YOU will have studied the major systems of the body - the circulatory, the digestive, the endocrine, the excretory, the lymphatic, the nervous, the reproductive and the respiratory systems. It is essential that you are able to draw diagrams of the structure of each of the organs that make up the systems, describe their position in the human body and give a detailed account of the functions of the system.
If you are asked for a diagram or an illustrated account:
Use a ruler and draw a box around the diagram.
Draw it in pencil so you can easily erase any mistakes.
Title and label your diagrams clearly.
Use a key instead of labels if the diagram is very complicated.
Diagrams need to be clear, therefore A4 size is recommended.
(usually question 4)
THIS section of the course has two components - general microbiology and food preservation. In home economics, the emphasis in microbiology is on food spoilage and food production, microorganisms, and the prevention of food poisoning. Food preservation is closely linked to microbiology - all microbes have certain requirements for growth, and food preservation is about limiting or removing these. It is about the methods employed commercially or on a domestic scale to delay or prevent the decay of food.
(Questions 2 and 4 sometimes require a recipe)
Question: "Using a variety of fresh vegetables, give directions for preparing and serving an attractive starter" (Q.4 - ordinary level 1994) Answer: Firstly note that it is vital to use fresh vegetables, i.e. avoid canned or frozen vegetables, in this recipe Then, always present a recipe as follows:
Name the recipe
List the ingredients in kg/g
Write out how to make the dish in detail and in point form.
Give (a) the cooking temperature and (b) the length of cooking time.
Describe how to present the dish.
Usually served on an oval dish.
Serve hot or cold as appropriate.
Garnish with parsley/lemon twists etc.
Usually served on a round plate (use a doyley under a cake)
Serve hot or cold as appropriate.
Decorate with whipped cream, grated chocolate etc.
Suggest suitable accompaniments if appropriate, e.g. serve a green side salad with lasagne.
(Questions 2 and 4 sometimes ask for a menu)
Note the following:
Menus should be drawn in a box.
Try and vary the temperature of the different courses, e.g. suggest a cold starter with a hot main meal.
Don't repeat a main ingredient between courses, e.g. avoid chicken soup with chicken hotpot.
Suggest healthy foods and recipes - avoid chips!
Read the question. It may sound obvious, but if the question asks for a menu for a vegan don't include any animal foods.
Always write menus in menu form.
Section 2 - Social
(Questions 5 and 6)
SOCIOLOGY is the scientific study of people as they exist in groups, rather than as individuals, and of social structures. An underlying idea is that every society has some kind of systematic inequality, a stratification system that establishes which groups of individuals have access to certain kinds of resources, e.g. the kind and extent of education, type and location of residence, how and where leisure time is spent, etc. This issue tends to arise in many of the sections of the course.
The sociology section is divided into the following five areas: marriage and the family; family and social problems; the community support services; child development and education; and a changing world. Bear in mind the following points:
Familiarise yourself with the terminology to ensure accurate interpretation of facts and to avoid repetition.
Be objective. Observations should be made on the basis of factual information rather than of personal opinions or value judgments which may be influenced by political or religious beliefs or by prejudices.
Avoid words like will. Use words like may, possibly, more likely in your answers.
Always answer in point form - no essaytype answers.
You will often be asked for the "effects" of various social problems. For example: Question:. Give an account of the effects of poverty as it exists in modern Ireland. (Q.6 - higher level 2000) Answer: You should deal with this question under three headings as follows:
Effects on the individual
Effects on the family
Effects on society Keep up to date with current affairs.
(Questions 7,8 and 9)
THIS section of the paper deals with matters pertaining to the efficient running of the home. You will have to identify both human and non-human resources and how best to use them. Note the following points:
Questions may cover any of the following areas: consumer information; finance; home acquisition; interior design; systems; services and household appliances.
The questions often contain two or more topics, e.g. consumer information and household appliances.
Diagrams are very important in these questions. Make sure you label them clearly.