NCEE National Economic Standards

  • Standard 1 : Scarcity

    Students will understand that:
    Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people can not have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.

    Related concepts: Capital Resources, Choice, Consumer Economics, Consumers, Goods, Human Resources, Natural Resources, Opportunity Cost, Producers, Production, Productive Resources, Scarcity, Services, Wants, Entrepreneurship, Inventors, Entrepreneur, Factors of Production

    Standard 2 : Marginal Cost/Benefit

    Students will understand that:
    Effective decision making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices are "all or nothing" decisions.

    Related concepts: Decision Making, Profit Motive, Benefit, Costs, Marginal Analysis, Profit, Profit Maximization, Cost/Benefit Analysis

    Standard 3 : Allocation of Goods and Services

    Students will understand that:
    Different methods can be used to allocate goods and services. People acting individually or collectively through government, must choose which methods to use to allocate different kinds of goods and services.

    Related concepts: Economic Systems, Market Structure, Supply, Command Economy, Market Economy, Traditional Economy

    Standard 4 : Role of Incentives

    Students will understand that:
    People respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.

    Related concepts: Choice, Incentive

    Standard 5 : Gain from Trade

    Students will understand that:
    Voluntary exchange occurs only when all participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade among individuals or organizations within a nation, and among individuals or organizations in different nations.

    Related concepts: Barriers to Trade, Barter, Exports, Imports, Voluntary Exchange, Exchange, Exchange Rate

    Standard 6 : Specialization and Trade

    Students will understand that:
    When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase.

    Related concepts: Division of Labor, Production, Productive Resources, Specialization, Factor Endowments, Gains from Trade, Relative Price, Transaction Costs, Factors of Production, Full Employment

    Standard 7 : Markets - Price and Quantity Determination

    Students will understand that:
    Markets exist when buyers and sellers interact. This interaction determines market prices and thereby allocates scarce goods and services.

    Related concepts: Market Structure, Markets, Price Floor, Price Stability, Quantity Demanded, Quantity Supplied, Relative Price, Exchange Rate

    Standard 8 : Role of Price in Market System

    Students will understand that:
    Prices send signals and provide incentives to buyers and sellers. When supply or demand changes, market prices adjust, affecting incentives.

    Related concepts: Non-price Determinants, Price Floor, Price Stability, Supply, Determinants of Demand, Determinants of Supply, Law of Demand, Law of Supply, Price Ceiling, Substitute Good, Price

    Standard 9 : Role of Competition

    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.

    Related concepts: Market Structure, Non-price Competition, Levels of Competition

    Standard 10 : Role of Economic Institutions

    Students will understand that:
    Institutions evolve in market economies to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions. A different kind of institution, clearly defined and enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.

    Related concepts: Legal and Social Framework, Mortgage, Borrower, Interest, Labor Union, Legal Forms of Business, Legal Foundations of a Market Economy, Nonprofit Organization, Property Rights, Banking

    Standard 11 : Role of Money

    Students will understand that:
    Money makes it easier to trade, borrow, save, invest, and compare the value of goods and services.

    Related concepts: Exchange, Money Management, Money Supply, Currency, Definition of Money, Money, Characteristics of Money, Functions of Money

    Standard 12 : Role of Interest Rates

    Students will understand that:
    Interest rates, adjusted for inflation, rise and fall to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed, which affects the allocation of scarce resources between present and future uses.

    Related concepts: Interest Rate, Monetary Policy, Real vs. Nominal, Risk, Investing, Savers, Savings

    Standard 13 : Role of Resources in Determining Income

    Students will understand that:
    Income for most people is determined by the market value of the productive resources they sell. What workers earn depends, primarily, on the market value of what they produce and how productive they are.

    Related concepts: Human Resources, Derived Demand, Functional Distribution of Income, Labor, Labor Market, Marginal Resource Product, Personal Distribution of Income, Wage, Aggregate Demand (AD), Aggregate Supply (AS), Demand, Prices of Inputs, Functional Distribution

    Standard 14 : Profit and the Entrepreneur

    Students will understand that:
    Entrepreneurs are people who take the risks of organizing productive resources to make goods and services. Profit is an important incentive that leads entrepreneurs to accept the risks of business failure.

    Related concepts: Taxation, Costs, Costs of Production, Entrepreneur, Risk, Taxes, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Inventors

    Standard 15 : Growth

    Students will understand that:
    Investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and in the health, education, and training of people can raise future standards of living.

    Related concepts: Incentive, Interest Rate, Opportunity Cost, Production, Technological Changes, Trade-off, Trade-offs among goals, Human Capital, Intensive Growth, Investment, Physical Capital, Productivity, Risk, Standard of Living, Economic Efficiency, Economic Equity, Economic Freedom, Economic Growth, Economic Security, Investing, Business, Businesses and Households, Factors of Production, Health and Nutrition, Savers, Savings, Stock Market

    Standard 16 : Role of Government

    Students will understand that:
    There is an economic role for government in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income.

    Related concepts: Externalities, Income, Natural Monopoly, Redistribution of Income, Role of Government, Taxation, Transfer Payments, Bonds, Distribution of Income, Income Tax, Maintaining Competition, Monopolies, Negative Externality, Non-clearing Markets, Positive Externality, Property Rights, Public Goods, Maintaining Regulation, Taxes, Regulation, Government Expenditures, Government Revenues

    Standard 17 : Using Cost/Benefit Analysis to Evaluate Government Programs

    Students will understand that:
    Costs of government policies sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public, or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.

    Related concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis, Benefit, Costs, Special Interest Group, Barriers to Trade

    Standard 18 : Macroeconomy-Income/Employment, Prices

    Students will understand that:
    A nation's overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government agencies, and others in the economy.

    Related concepts: Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Macroeconomic Indicators, Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Potential Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Circular Flow

    Standard 19 : Unemployment and Inflation

    Students will understand that:
    Unemployment imposes costs on individuals and nations. Unexpected inflation imposes costs on many people and benefits some others because it arbitrarily redistributes purchasing power. Inflation can reduce the rate of growth of national living standards because individuals and organizations use resources to protect themselves against the uncertainty of future prices.

    Related concepts: Types of Unemployment, Causes of inflation, Consumer Price Index (CPI), Deflation, Labor Force, Unemployment, Unemployment Rate, Inflation

    Standard 20 : Monetary and Fiscal Policy

    Students will understand that:
    Federal government budgetary policy and the Federal Reserve System's monetary policy influence the overall levels of employment, output, and prices.

    Related concepts: Inflation, National Debt, Tools of the Federal Reserve, Discount Rate, Federal Budget, Fiscal Policy, Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations, Reserve Requirements, Budget, Budget Deficit, Central Banking System, Budget Surplus, Causes of inflation