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Modern economics is highly quantitative in nature. Students seeking to read for an Economics Degree at University need to be good mathematicians.
The winners of the competition will be invited for the day to Churchill College, will be guided around by the Fellows in Economics and by students, and be given a talk by the College Admissions Tutor.
The competition requires candidates to predict the daily spot nominal Euro-Sterling exchange rate to four decimal places, as of 1st June 2019 and to give a prose interpolation of no more than 400 words to justify this prediction. This involves both economic analysis and the interpretation of political decisions.
The exchange rate is determined by Exports and Imports: the Current Account, and by international Capital flows: the Capital Account.
The demand for imports is positively correlated with domestic income; as income rises (falls) so will the quantity of imports. The demand for exports is independent of domestic income, rather it is the level of income in the export markets which determines the magnitude of demand for exports.
Capital flows across national boundaries are determined principally by differential interest rates between nation states — money will flow from country to country in search of interest-earning assets which offer the highest rate of return: the highest interest rate — this is also known as ‘hot money’.
The Capital Account dominates; the quantity of transactions on Capital Account has grown very substantially since the end of the Second World War and these exceed those on the Current Account. Thus Capital movements have a more powerful effect on the exchange rate than do financial transactions on the Current Account.
The UK operates a flexible exchange rate system, the Central Bank does not use monetary policy to maintain a given exchange rate.
The political decisions of government, particularly fiscal policy and the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England have a causal effect upon the exchange rate.
The winners of the competition will be those who predict the exchange rate with the greatest accuracy and provide the most erudite exposition to justify their prediction. The spot rate you will need to predict is that given by the Bank of England website.
A maximum of three entries from each school will be accepted. All entries must be sent by a teacher at your school using the school email address. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to provide feedback. Please ask your teacher to submit your school’s entries to:
The deadline for you to submit is midnight GMT on 30 April 2019.
The winning candidate and two runners up will be invited to Churchill College for two days on 4 & 5 July 2019 where they will be met by the Director of Studies in Economics, Nigel Knight who will give an introductory talk and a taster Economics tutorial. They will be invited to meet and talk with students currently reading for the Economics Tripos at the College. Candidates will meet Professor Alexey Onatskiy who will also give them a taster Economics tutorial. They will be given a guided tour of the College by current Churchill College students and then be given a talk by Dr Jonathan Padley, Admissions Tutor at the College.
On the evening of the 4 July, there will be a dinner in College for prize winners: £150 to the winner and £75 for each runner up.
The following morning, winning candidates will be invited to attend the formal Open Day at the College. There will then be another teaching tutorial by the Director of Studies, followed in the afternoon by a tour of the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Economics.