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Is public spending a drain on the economy or the mark of a civilised society?

Is public spending a drain on the economy or the mark of a civilised society? Copyrighted image Copyright: Artwork: Catherine Pain Copyright: The Open University
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 18 Dec 2015
Read this article outlining arguements in debate held under the auspices of the Social Sciences Student Connections, Big Conversation. 

When is the best time to buy plane tickets?

When is the best time to buy plane tickets? Copyright free image Copyright free: Arivaran
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 14 Dec 2015
Myths and systems claiming to help you get the best possible deal on airline tickets abound. But what's the truth? How should you time your...

The 2015 Autumn Statement: First responses

The 2015 Autumn Statement: First responses Creative commons image Altogetherfool under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 25 Nov 2015
Experts give a first reaction to George Osborne's 2015 Spending Review and the Autumn Statement.

Will more money for the NHS deliver for midwife services?

Will more money for the NHS deliver for midwife services? Creative commons image Jim Linwood under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 25 Nov 2015
In pre-announcements before the Autumn Statement, new money for the NHS was being promised. But will it help solve the crisis in midwifery services...

Why has the welfare cap become so complex?

Why has the welfare cap become so complex? Creative commons image CAFOD under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 25 Nov 2015
George Osborne's changes to his welfare cap in the July 2015 budget have made a simple measure almost too complex, say Christine Whitehead and Emma...

What is the 2015 Autumn Statement all about?

What is the 2015 Autumn Statement all about? Creative commons image Mrgarethm under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 24 Nov 2015
The OU's Alan Shipman offers a guide to the things to watch for when George Osborne presents his autumn statement this Wednesday.

Power to the People

Power to the People Copyrighted image Copyright: Kelly Machin/ Blast Films
Updated 04 Nov 2015
This three-part OU/BBC series looks at SSE, one of the Big Six energy companies, and how they are battling to keep electricity flowing to our homes...

Why is there a tax on tampons - and why is it so hard to make sanitary protection tax free?

Why is there a tax on tampons - and why is it so hard to make sanitary protection tax free? Creative commons image Dave Morice under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 02 Nov 2015
A decision taken back in the 1970s means 21st Century women are being taxed for their gender. But, says Michael J Randall, fixing things isn't that...

Greece: Where now, again? Thomas Piketty responds to Sunday's election result

Greece: Where now, again? Thomas Piketty responds to Sunday's election result Creative commons image Universitat Pompeu Fabra under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 22 Sep 2015
On Sunday [20-09-15], voters in Greece gave Alexis Tsipras and Syriza a new mandate in Greece. The economist Thomas Piketty answers questions on...

The five billion dollar franchise: How much will Disney make from Star Wars merchandise

The five billion dollar franchise: How much will Disney make from Star Wars merchandise Copyright free image Copyright free: Bucz
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 21 Sep 2015
The launch of the toys from the forthcoming Star Wars film was an event in its own right. How much money are Disney going to make from all this...

Have we got Wonga wrong? A defence of payday loans

Have we got Wonga wrong? A defence of payday loans Creative commons image The Network for Police Monitoring under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Updated 03 Sep 2015
The case against payday lenders has been made solidly over the last few years, and some have tried to clean up their businesses. Christopher Mallon...

Fair shares? Why sharing needs a democratic revolution

Fair shares? Why sharing needs a democratic revolution Creative commons image David Hawgood under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 02 Sep 2015
The sharing economy is in danger of becoming dominated by Silicon Valley. That needs to change, says Chris Martin.

Question Time for Yanis Varoufakis

Question Time for Yanis Varoufakis Creative commons image Jörg Rüger under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Duration 10 mins Updated 28 Aug 2015
Nine leading academics were given the chance to put their questions to the man who - for six months - was Greece's finance minister. Here's what...

Small Data: Summer petrol prices

Small Data: Summer petrol prices Creative commons image Albert Bridge under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license
Updated 27 Aug 2015
It's August - and many families will be heading off soon on summer holidays. But how has the cost of petrol changed over the last ten years?

Do tax breaks work well for promoting creative industries?

Do tax breaks work well for promoting creative industries? Creative commons image Vancouver Film School under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 21 Aug 2015
Today, the EU has announced approval for an extension of tax breaks for the British film industry. But is this form of indirect subsidy the best...

Should the NHS try a Dutch model for social care?

Should the NHS try a Dutch model for social care? Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University / Karen Parker
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 17 Aug 2015
By adopting the approach used in the Netherlands, the NHS could cut costs but maintain quality, suggests Dr Elizabeth Cotton.

The booming baby business: Commercial surrogacy in India and beyond

The booming baby business: Commercial surrogacy in India and beyond Copyright free image Copyright free: via Wikimedia
Duration 15 mins Updated 30 Jul 2015
It's still stigmatised, but it's a commercial relationship growing in popularity - and not just in India. Thinking Allowed explores the business of...

Jeremy Corbyn: Not a totally fantastic economist

Jeremy Corbyn: Not a totally fantastic economist Creative commons image See Li under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 24 Jul 2015
Jeremy Corbyn is fighting for the Labour leadership with an economic programme tempered by realism, says Alan Shipman

Can charities scale up to provide health and social services?

Can charities scale up to provide health and social services? Creative commons image NHS Confederation under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 17 Jul 2015
If charities are to deliver more health and social services they’ll need to become better organisations, says Dr Elizabeth Cotton

Does an invisible hand guide the economy?

Featuring: VideoVideo
Does an invisible hand guide the economy? Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 16 Jul 2015
This short animation, narrated by Aidan Turner, looks at the metaphor of the 'invisible hand' engineers the economy. 

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Economics explains discrimination in the labour market

Free CourseFree Course
Economics explains discrimination in the labour market Copyrighted image Copyright: Used with permission
Advanced level Duration 8 hours Updated 07 Sep 2015
Discrimination in the labour market exists in many forms: the 'glass ceiling', ageism, racism, and so on. This free course, Economics explains...

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Change your life with a qualification

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Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences

CourseCourse
Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University/Karen Parker
Duration 1200 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Are you interested in what shapes the lives we lead and the decisions we make? Have you wondered why people continue to smoke when they know the...

Foundation Degree in Financial Services

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Foundation Degree in Financial Services Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Duration 2400 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
With global financial markets and personal finances making the headlines daily, there’s never been a more exciting time to study finance and...

Certificate of Higher Education Open

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Certificate of Higher Education Open Copyrighted image Copyright: Irochka | Dreamstime.com
Duration 1200 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
If you’re keen to try university study and want to keep your options open, this certificate course is ideal. It’s part of our unique Open...

Diploma of Higher Education in Financial Services

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Diploma of Higher Education in Financial Services Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University / Karen Parker
Duration 2400 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
With global financial markets and personal finances making the headlines daily, there’s never been a more exciting time to study finance and...

BA/BSc Open degree

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BA/BSc Open degree Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Duration 3600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Over 40 per cent of OU students who graduate do so with an Open degree. It’s a statistic we’re proud of – the BA/BSc Open is one of the most...

Diploma of Higher Education Open

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Diploma of Higher Education Open Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University / Karen Parker
Duration 2400 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Studying at university level is not just about gaining a degree. We also offer a range of other qualifications, including Certificates and Diplomas...

BSc (Honours) Economics and Mathematical Sciences

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BSc (Honours) Economics and Mathematical Sciences Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Duration 3600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Graduates who understand the commercial and economic environment and who are also highly numerate are in short supply. If you enjoy solving...

Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Social Sciences

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Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Social Sciences Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Duration 2400 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Does material consumption make us happier? Is parenting a social as well as an individual activity? What impact is the financial crisis having on...

BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

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BA (Honours) Politics, Philosophy and Economics Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Duration 3600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
Where do social order (and disorder) come from? How can we make ourselves richer, and does society always gain? What does justice mean, how do we...

BA (Honours) Business Studies

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BA (Honours) Business Studies Copyrighted image Copyright: iStock
Duration 3600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
How do businesses develop strategies, handle risk and take decisions? What’s involved in essential business functions such as marketing, accounting...

BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences

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BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University / Karen Parker
Duration 3600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016
What causes riots? Is commercialisation eroding childhood? Does poverty lead to crime? Social science explores such questions and helps inform...

The uses of social science

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The uses of social science Copyrighted image Copyright: iStock
Intermediate level Duration 600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
What can social science tell us about the social world? How can it help us solve the troubles and dilemmas of private and public life?

Doing economics: people, markets and policy

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Doing economics: people, markets and policy Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Advanced level Duration 600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
Examine the various economic theories that explain people’s behaviour in households, businesses and governments and make critical judgements of...

Running the economy

CourseCourse
Running the economy Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University/Karen Parker
Intermediate level Duration 600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
Learn how to think like an economist and understand the problems of running the national and global economy after the outbreak of a major economic...

Personal investment in an uncertain world

CourseCourse
Personal investment in an uncertain world Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University / Karen Parker
Intermediate level Duration 300 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
Explores some of the concepts that underpin investment planning and examines how investment planning decisions are affected by economic uncertainty.

You and your money: personal finance in context

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You and your money: personal finance in context Copyrighted image Copyright: The Open University/Karen Parker
Introductory level Duration 300 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
This practical course builds your financial knowledge and skills, improves your understanding of personal finance and develops your awareness of...

Introduction to financial services

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Introduction to financial services Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Introductory level Duration 100 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 25 Apr 2016
Explore the historical development of financial services in the UK and examine how the sector is currently structured and regulated.

International relations: continuity and change in global politics

CourseCourse
International relations: continuity and change in global politics Copyrighted image Copyright: Dreamstime
Advanced level Duration 600 hours Updated 12 Feb 2016 Register by 08 Sep 2016
Studying this module will help you to understand the key areas of change and the major problems in international relations today.