Arnold Kling  


Demonology in America: Reflect... He's Not an Economist...

Commenters on a previous post asked for my test of economics. I will have to work on putting one together that maps to the national curriculum. Meanwhile, here are three old self-assessment quizzes from a few years ago:


Social Security

Health Policy

Here are some old quizzes from my high school course. Unlike the others, these are not multiple choice. Don't ask me for a grade on these!

Comments and Sharing

CATEGORIES: Economic Education

COMMENTS (8 to date)
Joshua Holmes writes:

Just as a technical note, you probably want to use radio buttons in your quizzes, so that takers can't accidently choose two answers.

Nat Almirall writes:

So Arnold, how difficult is it to get a work visa in Drunkmenistan?

Don Lloyd writes:


3. Half of the Social Security tax is paid by workers (employees), and half is paid by their companies (employers). The economic impact of the portion paid by employers is:
A) It reduces the wages that they pay workers.
B) It reduces corporate profits.
C) It raises prices.
D) All of the above.

Given that your answer is A), it is likely that you intended to ask what the economic impact was of having the company pay 50% as opposed to having the employee pay 100%. This is not, IMO, the question that you in fact did ask.

Regards, Don

Michael F. Cannon writes:

per pauly and herring, i think your answer to #4 on the health policy quiz is wrong. :)


My results were:

Trade: 6/8
Social security: 6/8
Health care: 7/8

The ones I got wrong were:


2. How to reduce Saudi oil revenue? Answer was increasing US oil tax by $1. I thought that tax in the US is not a tax on the world so demand may be rising elsewhere and even if the US was the world, demand may be rising anyhow and revenue will still increase, albeit at a lesser rate. I was probably just trying to preempt a trick question because you didn't say "all things being equal" which all of my questions here in the UK do...

5. How does offshore outsourcing affect American workers? Answer was it means they must adapt. I thought that outsourcing may be for jobs that have never been given to American workers e.g. new company sets up, needs a call center, outsources to India, American workers are unaffected by this.

Social security:

2. What is the key factor in the viability of social security benefits? Answer was the ratio of workers to retirees. I thought: what if you have 100 retirees expecting $200 a week, and ten worker s who are so productive that they together pay the equivilant of $202,000 a week in social security payments every week? The ratio is 'bad' but productivity is so good it doesn't matter.

5. What would be the effect of partial privatization? Answer was the government would have to borrow money. I didn't really understand what was meant by 'if social security was partially privatized'. I assumed that government pay-outs would fall in proportion with the loss in social security tax revenue i.e. responsibility for current government benefits due would go to the private firm or cease.

Health care:

3. Which accounts for most US health care spending? I guessed administrative overheads but I had absolutely no idea.

How'd I do?

How did I do?

Unit writes:

My results were:

Trade: 6/8
Social security: 5/8
Health care: 7/8

I guess I'll have to study next time....

Richard writes:

Don is right about Social Security question #3. As written, the answer is D -- all of the above. The economic impact of any tax on labor -- including a portion "paid" by the employer -- is to drive down wages and profits and drive up prices. Don, it was very clever of you to look at the answer that Arnold wanted -- A -- and to work backward to figure out what Arnold was trying to ask.

Steve Miller writes:

I agree with the other commenters about SS question #3. Supply-and-Demand analysis tells us the incidence will be shared, which means D is the right answer.

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