Exploring China’s economic slowdown with Infographics

Statistics and infographics help bring some of the more complex concepts to life in Economics. For a long time tools such as GapMinder have helped students explore development and inequalities between countries.

A new great tool developed by the Guardian website, (How China’s economic slowdown could weigh on the rest of the world) looks at the impact of China’s falling  appetite for imports on the rest of the world. I really enjoyed introducing this to my Grade 11 students in their second week of the course. We have just looked at the basic Circular Flow Model and it was a nice connection to help explain the impact of imports and exports on the flow of income and levels of economic growth. The following 60 sec infographic video from Sky News gives students the essential background.

My students enjoyed playing with the graphic (and eventually the sliders once they figured this out), but I think a few probing questions helped them to think more deeply. If you have other ideas add them in the comments below. Will plan to use this again when we look at globalization and international trade later in Grade 12.

Probing Questions

  1. What does the y axis mean? (% of imports from GDP)
  2. If China’s demand for imports fell by 10% which countries would have the suffer the greatest impact?
  3. If demand fell by 20% does the same pattern still exist?
  4. Why are do some countries decline more than others? (hint: they need to scroll down to see the export breakdown for different countries. NZ and Australia for instance seem to suffer the greatest fall in GDP… and it seems they export a narrow range of products (minerals, dairy products)
  5. If you are an potential exporter to China… what goods should you focus on? (hint: find countries with lowest slowdown and then exports lists – link to comparative advantage and Marshall Lerner condition if feeling brave)
  6. If you were an investor at the moment, in which country would you invest your money (link to exchange rates and stock markets)
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