What Our Subject is About

Why is diamond priced so much more than water which is essential for survival?  This puzzling question is known as the Diamond-Water Paradox.

The act of saving is preached as a virtue from a young age.  However, if every family practices this virtue in excess, it can become detrimental to the economy.  Families could even end up saving less!  This conundrum is known as the Paradox of Thrift.

We welcome you to begin your life-long journey in learning Economics in RI.  Economics is a social science which studies human decision-making.  Scarcity is the condition where limited resources are called upon to meet the growing and unlimited wants of people.  Due to scarcity, decisions must be made on the use of these limited resources to best meet the wants of society.  Whenever decisions are made, opportunity costs are incurred.  In using limited resources to meet a certain want, some other want must be compromised.  For example, the use of timber resources to manufacture paper compromises the conservation of forests to act as a carbon sink.  Scarcity, decisions and opportunity costs lie at the heart of the study of Economics.  Economics provide a set of tools to understand and evaluate human decision-making in light of scarcity.  

Economics is broadly categorized into Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.  Microeconomics is a branch of Economics that studies the decision-making of individuals and businesses, and the impact of these decisions on markets.  Microeconomics will provide you with a framework to analyse and explain many market-level phenomena including the fluctuation of prices of commodities such as steel and oil, the dominance of certain industries such as banking and telecommunications by large firms, and the active role played by governments in breaking up and regulating monopolies.  Microeconomics will also provide you with the tools to explain the Diamond-Water paradox.    Macroeconomics studies the decision-making of the economy as a whole.  Topics such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment rate, inflation rate, exchange rate, fiscal budget and international trade are analysed in Macroeconomics.  Macroeconomics equips you with the tools to not only explain the Paradox of Thrift, it will also help you appreciate and critically analyse current events and issues such as the US twin deficits in its government budget and current account, zero/negative interest rates,  US-China trade war, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, among many others.

If you are excited in wanting to understand, anlayse and critically evaluate the happenings of the modern economy, we welcome you to start your life-long journey in learning Economics with the RI Economics Department.

What We Do To Develop Students' Interest/Abilities

RI offers GCE A Level H1 and H2 Economics to all students.  Students with a keen interest in Economics looking to be stretched in their learning of the discipline are invited to offer H3 Economics in Year 6.  A lecture and tutorial system is put in place for the instruction of H1 and H2 Economics, and Seminar style instructional approach is used for H3 Economics.  Assessments for GCE A Level Economics are based on real world context.

To deepen students’ appreciation of Economics, the Department also organizes enrichment lectures and overseas field trips to expose students to the application of economic concepts and framework to the real world.


What Our Students Say

“When connections between the economic theories and real life are being made, it really increased my interest in economics and allowed me to understand the importance of learning economics.”

“Economics has become far more interesting to me as I have gained insight into tools which are highly relevant in a world which is undergoing a severe recession.”

“I think it is interesting to analyse problems in the real world using economic analysis as it is something that we have never learnt before.  It is also interesting to see how what we have learnt can be applied to our lives.  Learning about the different market structures and thinking of relevant examples also allowed us to better understand our world.”

“It is quite cool to be able to put into words real world phenomena we observe, and understand the rationale for people’s behaviour.”