Published Online: January 15, 1997

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An Economics Education

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An Economics Education

Following is a sample content standard from the voluntary national standards in economics.

Students will understand that:
Competition among sellers lowers costs and prices and encourages producers to produce more of what consumers are willing and able to buy. Competition among buyers increases prices and allocates goods and services to those people who are willing and able to pay the most for them.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:
Explain how changes in the level of competition in different markets can affect price and output levels.

Fast-food restaurants that set prices too high, or give slow, unfriendly service, risk losing customers to competing restaurants that offer lower prices, higher-quality products, and better service. In this way, competition benefits customers. Understanding the benefits of competition and the costs of limiting competition helps students evaluate public policies that affect the level of competition of various markets. It also helps students understand their own roles as producers and consumers in a market economy--in terms of opportunities to compete with others and in terms of the limits that competition places on their incomes, career plans, and what they can buy and consume.

Competition improves productivity by forcing all suppliers to "be the best that they can be.'' Productivity improvements, in turn, foster economic growth and a better quality of life for current and future generations. It is important for students to recognize that competition contributes in a positive way to economic growth and the quality of life.

4th Grade Benchmarks

Students will know that:
1. Competition takes place when there are many buyers and sellers of similar products.

2. Competition among sellers results in lower costs and prices, higher product quality, and better customer service.

Students will use this knowledge to:
1. Identify competitors in their community, using the yellow pages of the telephone book.

2. Explain how the opening of a second pizza shop in a small community affects prices, profits, service, and quality.

"The Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics" will be available on CD-ROM this month for $74.95 or $149.95 for network versions. Printed copies will be available in the spring for $19.95. For more information, call the National Council on Economic Education at (800) 338-1192.

Source: National Council on Economic Education.

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