Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify and evaluate the benefits and costs of alternative public policies, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs.
Why does government pay private construction firms to build roads and highways? Why do the firms that build the roads not own them themselves and charge tolls to users? All kinds of goods and services are produced and distributed through private markets, so why not roads and highways, too? In flipping through the pages of the telephone directory, we observe a vast array of businesses and government agencies. Why do markets work well to supply much of what we want, while failing to produce other things we want?
Citizens should understand the limitations and shortcomings of markets and how some government policies attempt to compensate for market failures. Learning the economic as well as the political and social reasons for public sector services helps citizens make better choices about the appropriate size and scope of markets and government. It is also important that students be able to evaluate redistributive effects of government programs.
You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 16 from the Council for Economic Education Website.
This standard focuses on income earned or received by people. The primary focus at the 4th grade level is to describe different types of jobs as well as different forms of income earned or received. Attention at the 8th grade level turns to the benefits and costs of increasing income through the acquisition of education and skills. Government programs that affect income are introduced. The 12th grade level gives further emphasis to types of income and taxes, highlights benefit-cost decisions related to jobs and careers, and introduces labor markets.