Between the Civil War and World War II, railroads were one of the nation's most important businesses and an integral part of people’s lives. In this lesson, students assume the role of detectives investigating why the rail companies experienced a crisis in the 1960s and what helped the freight transport portion of the business return to profitability later in the same century. Students analyze a set of clues that help them explore the impact of government policies and changes in consumer demand on rail service. They discover that government policies (e.g., regulations, subsidies, and taxes) can have both positive and negative consequences in the marketplace. An interactive activity helps students understand that rail service competes in two different markets—passenger service and hauling freight. Students also learn that railroads and government policies have had to adjust as the transportation industry changed in the second half of the twentieth century.
Businesses use advertising to tell consumers about the goods and services they are selling. Businesses hope that their advertisements will convince people to buy their products. In this lesson, students examine the ground rules for advertisements of goods and services, why we need rules, who sets them, and who enforces them. They research cases in which, deceptive advertising has been charged and analyze whether the negative incentives for this illegal practice are sufficient to deter future violations.
Even the savviest consumer has a problem with a good or service on occasion. It is a consumer’s right to complain when there is a genuine problem. In some situations, it is also a consumer’s responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists. In this series of three lessons, students learn how to effectively seek redress for a consumer problem. In the first lesson, they are given tips for seeking redress from a seller of a good or service via personal visits, telephone calls and letters. They write a letter in an effort to resolve a consumer problem they or someone they know has experienced. Lessons 2 and 3 focus on what to do when a consumer is unable to get a problem resolved with a seller. A variety of options are presented in both the public and private arena. Students must select sources of outside help that would be appropriate in hypothetical situations they are given.
The following lessons come from the Council for Economic Education's library of publications. Clicking the publication title or image will take you to the Council for Economic Education Store for more detailed information.
This publication contains 20 lessons designed to provide an economic insight into topics typically covered in may civics and government classes.
12 out of 21 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.
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6 out of 10 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.