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Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate


Career Zone
NFQ Level
2 Years


Leaving Certificate economics provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for understanding how the Irish and global economy functions. The learning experiences in economics develop students’ critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and numeracy skills. Economics provides students with a learning foundation for a wide range of careers in business, economics, finance, enterprise and management.

Why Study Economics

Economics deals with the real world business obstacles such as demand and supply, production and consumption, money and banking as well as economic policies, problems and conflicts.  With inflation and international trade and payments constantly making headlines, economics requires its students to keep track of real world situations.

It helps students to develop a clear understanding of the role of economics, to encourage the development of appropriate learning skills, and to generate in students a positive and ethical attitude to economics in personal, business and public life

What kind of student might Economics suit? 

  • Anyone considering a future career in any area of business, journalism, communications or finance
  • Students who enjoyed Junior Cert Business.
  • Students who take an interest in politics, current affairs, or psychology.
Note: Students are not allowed to have a subject combination of Agriculture Economics and Economics for Leaving Certificate.


This subject is suited to students who are willing to work hard and caters for all abilities. It is not necessary to have studied business at Junior Certificate to study Economics but it would be helpful. Ideally, students should have a general interest in how the economy works and be interested in current affairs.  It would be important to be listening to the news and reading the daily papers.

Students show a distinct preference for questions about micro-economics, such as household budgets, rather than macroeconomics, which deals with broader issues, like inflation and growth.

To perform well in the macro-economic questions at higher level, candidates need a good knowledge of contemporary economic issues in the Irish economy and an ability to apply the relevant economic theories to particular issues.

This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4990 students who sat the Higher Level Economics exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 873 students who sat the Ordinary Level Economics exam in 2019.


Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

This subject teach the skills and knowledge needed to understand how business works.

Economics is regarded as the most practical business subject and is the study of how people manage limited resources such as money to meet their goals. By understanding the reasons why people spend their money in certain ways, economists can try to introduce incentives to change their behaviours. As a discipline, economics is divided into two broad categories:

Microeconomics considers how individual people decide what goods they are willing to buy or not buy based on maximising their personal 'utility' (getting as much benefit as possible from their money), and how firms and businesses will try to take advantage of consumers' habits to maximise profit. It also examines how multiple businesses in a market will price their goods based on their competitors and their various costs.

Macroeconomics considers how governments handle the economy as a whole - how they select policies which meet their goals, such as stable economic growth (avoiding recessions), minimising the national debt, and encouraging employment. How the government handles issues such as fiscal policy (how much money flows in the economy), international trade, and banking all have implications for economics stability and growth.

Course Content

The subject is concerned with understanding the workings of a modern economy from both Macro and Micro level. Leaving Cert economics consists of eight main examination question areas:

Subject content

  1. Demand, supply, equilibrium, utility and elasticity
  2. Costs and market structures
  3. Factors of production (including economists)
  4. National income and the multiplier
  5. Inflation, money, banking and monetary policy
  6. International trade, balance of payments and the euro
  7. Fiscal policy and taxation
  8. The Government in the economy (including economic development and growth, population and emigration)
  • Separate questions on elasticity and costs are also possible, and questions on broader topics such as the national income, Government policy - the list above is just a general guide
  • There are no projects, practical aspects, field trips, etc. Teacher may include project work but it is not a requirement of the syllabus.
  • There is a common syllabus covering Higher and Ordinary level, which will fulfil the aims and objectives.

Exam Structure

The exam can be taken at both Higher Level and Ordinary Level

  • One Paper – 2.5 hours duration 
  • Section A – 9 Q’s - Students do 6 (100 marks each)
  • Section B – 8 Q’s - Students do 4 (75 marks each and 300 in total). There is a large element of choice here.

Career Possibilities

The Leaving Cert economics programme can be an advantage for students considering third level courses with an economics element to course content. It is also useful for careers in Banking, Insurance, Finance, Marketing, Politics, Journalism, current affairs and all aspects of business.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Business

These subjects teach the skills and knowledge needed to understand how business works.

Required for 3rd Level?

This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.

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