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Teach Politics and the Economy
with Democracy 3

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Politics and the Economy

Which economic mechanics are illustrated in-game?
How do politics affect the economy?
Which parts of the economy are politically directed?

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: This lesson considers the complex relationship between politics and the economy.
  • Play: The students play the game and try to use funds responsively to stimulate the economy.
  • Share & Discuss: These tasks focus on the playing experience and the implications of the economy.

McKinley's Campaign Poster

William McKinley.

Teacher Resources

Discuss: “What symbols of the economy can you see in William McKinley’s campaign poster?”

Picture: Campaign poster showing William McKinley holding the US flag and standing on a gold coin. He is held up by group of men, in front of ships saying "commerce" and factories saying "civilization". Source: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division (Public Domain)

Note: One of the most, if not in some ways the most important, element of any given society is its economy. Politics and the economy are closely linked, both possessing a dramatic effect on one another. Similarly, both are significantly influenced by international events, regularly so potently that massive changes take place both in politics and the economy (as in the case of the Great Depression).

This lesson will make it easier for students to understand the complex and important causal relationships between politics and the economy, both local and global.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression.

Image Source: The Great Depression, Wikimedia Commons.

Teacher Resources

Discuss: You should ask what students know about the Great Depression and the reasons for it.

Below is a list of sources on the Great Depression (TGD), exploring its effects on politics and society. It is a good idea to supplement these sources with your own.



Playing Together

  • Pick out a pair to play the game with.
  • In pairs, talk through your policy choices. What would be best for the economy?
  • Make notes about the effects of your choices and your country’s budget on its economy.

Teacher Resources

Have students pick out pairs. Students should talk amongst themselves about GDP and the ways it is connected to the economy at large, and formulate strategies for stabilising their country’s economy.

Pairs should be instructed to make notes on how their choices affected the economy.


Lesson Goal

Pick a country with incurred debt - either the US or the UK.

While playing, consider the following:

  • What kinds of choices affect the economy in the game?
  • Which factors lead to GDP growth?
  • Which areas of the economy can you, as the player, directly influence?

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Why is it difficult to influence the economy directly? What kind of policies lead to a growing GDP?

  • How about a diminishing one?

  • Why is debt a bad thing? What kind of consequences did it have in the game?

Teacher Resources

Potential topics for discussion:

  • Why is influencing the economy directly difficult? (The economy is affected by many factors that cannot be directly controlled.)
  • What kind of policies lead to a growing GDP? (For ex. workplace healthcare, morale, education, small business grants, education programs and pro-employer labour laws.)
  • How about a diminishing one? (For ex. unemployment and a lack of investment.)
  • Why is debt a bad thing? What kind of consequences did it have in the game? (It may impact the value of currency, which in turn has negative consequences for the economy.)

It should be noted that Democracy 3 does not accurately model how all policies are made - the president or prime minister alone would not be able to set the budget or draft the national curriculum on their own!