The Urban Agenda model is based upon economic principles, the needs-demands-response model.  This program can be used by economic teachers in a variety of ways.  Cost-benefit concerns are central to affecting change in any governmental structure.  Using the Urban Agenda model can allow students to apply economic formulas and practices to the study of an issue of their choosing, making the desire to learn stronger and more immediate.

It is of little surprise that economics affect political issues.  Normal economics curriculum, while addressing benchmarks and standards, do little to enhance student interest in economics.  Having students use their issue as a foil against the backdrop of the skill set they have learned in the class –allows students to take amalgamate the concrete concerns with the often appear as abstract concepts that they have to learn for class purposes.  

Some examples of issues applied to the study of Economics:

1. For instance with the issue of homelessness: there are many economic factors that affect homelessness.  While this issue considered mainly a poor issue, there can also be conversations of supply and demand as it pertains to public programs for homelessness.  Supply and demand also plays a factor in affordable housing in communities experience heightened homelessness rates.  One can also look at the consolidation of wealth – monopolies, oligopolies, and the like – and the unionization of the working class as a factor affecting homelessness. Or address homelessness from its impact on markets including the tourism industry

2. In regards to diseases, economics plays a role in research and funding for research for cures.  The politics of vaccinations and cures are often an economic issue.  Beyond those examples, a student focusing on diseases in your economics classroom can look at the correlation between economic disparity and the lack of health care. Or something like the recent outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the impact on local economies, whether it is related to lost production related to workers health, tourism, or the increased cost of healthcare.

3. Gun control is an issue that is also affected by economics.  Beyond supply and demand discussions of the availability and desire for guns, one can also look at the economic power of the gun lobby.  The economic structure of the hunting industry in America is also an issue that students focusing on this issue can review.  Finally, the mass production as an issue affecting gun control is an economic factor with this issue. Notwithstanding, if the market was not viable for guns, the strength of the gun lobby might be reduced.

Or one might look at economic factors as they relate to gun violence. Trend data indicate that as economic downturns occur, that crime, including violent crime increase. Therefore, analyzing a student issue of say gun control from an economic perspective can be an effective tool for seeing economic trends and the impact on other issues important to society.


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