Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 200-level units in Economics

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Economists are called upon to forecast and interpret changing economic markets, policies and outcomes in contemporary society. This capstone unit therefore focuses on the application of economic theory to a broad range of real-world economic policies such as the Australian national competition policy, renewable energy targets and environmental policies, and labour market policies. In addition, the unit provides students with practical cost benefit analysis skills which are required in the industry and government. Being a capstone unit, it will draw upon on the knowledge and advanced skills that students have acquired in microeconomics, macroeconomics and other strands of the economics major. Students will develop an individual research project on genuine economic policies and problems. The aim of the unit is to enhance students' skills in research, analysis and critical thinking in the area of economic policymaking.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically analyse the key factors influencing economic policies (GA2, GA9);

LO2 - Analyse the limitations, unintended consequences, short run and long run impacts that economic policies have on various economies, including Australia (GA4, GA6);

L03 - Independently formulate and undertake a specific research task according to the methodological and ethical conventions of the economics discipline. (GA3, GA6, GA9);

LO4 - Critically evaluate the costs and benefits of economic policy decisions in complex situations (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics may include: 

  • Economic challenges and choices; 
  • The impact of global policies on Australia;  
  • The impact of interest rate policy in Australia;  
  • Fiscal Policy implications;  
  • Tax reform in Australia;  
  • The economics of education policies;  
  • Income and wealth distribution;  
  • Environmental policies;  
  • Policies for growth;  
  • Labour market reform;  
  • Financial deregulation;  
  • Privatisation and corporatization; 
  • Economic reasons for Aboriginal poverty in Australia and policies to tackle this issue; 
  • Cost benefit analysis. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Attendance, Multimode or Online 

This capstone unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. The unit is of practical nature where students in either face-to-activities face, multimode or online will undertake practical learning and assessments that focus on the weekly analysis of the actual government policies in Australia and overseas, real-world problems and challenges that arise from the implementation of these policies with the goal of advancing their research and investigative skills, critical thinking and problem solving.  

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Mode: Attendance or Multimode 

These assessments encourage students to undertake practice-based learning to develop and advance further the skills required by professionals working in the area of economic policy.  

Assessments in this unit include: 

1. A proposal or case study which helps students to master such essential skills as analysis of economic policies and data, interpreting and forecasting potential impacts of various government policies, drawing recommendations of these policies and studying the basics of cost benefit analysis. 

The research assignment provides students with the opportunity to undertake research into the scholarship on a recent specific Australian or international public policy issue of student’s choosing and to develop further communication, and writing skills based on comprehensive analysis of this issue. An integral part of this assignment is an oral presentation using various media where students are mastering their presentation and public speaking skills.   

2. Take-home exam. The final exam will require students to analyse case studies based on the actual public policy issue in Australia and overseas. For this analysis, students will need to apply their theoretical knowledge gained in the course to the complex real-world situation, be able to draw economic implications of the public policy issue, comment on the unintended consequences of public policy and potentially suggest policy recommendations. The task may include multiple case studies and be delivered as central examination, school-based examination, or take-home examination. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Proposal or Case Study 

This task develops students’ ability to analyse economic policies and data, interpret and forecast potential impacts of various government policies, and draw recommendations of these policies applying the basics of cost benefit analysis.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9

Research assignment  

This assignment tests students’ capacity to independently develop and research a policy in Australia or overseas.


LO2, LO3

GA3, GA6, GA9

Take-Home Examination  

The final examination will allow students to apply the skills and knowledge acquired during the unit to a particular case of economic development, analyse real world economic issues, and evaluate economic policies which might foster or delay development. Students will be expected to draw on materials and readings studied over the semester to provide evidence for answers.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9

Representative texts and references

Congdon, W. J., Kling, J.K., and Mullainathan, S. (2011), Policy and Choice: Public Finance through the Lens of Behavioral Economics, Brookings Institution Press.Available online: ndchoice_book.pdf . 

Baumol, W. and Blinder, A. (2019), Economics - Principles and Policy. 13th Edition, Cengage Learning, Melbourne.  

Birkland, T. A. (2019). An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making, 5th Edition, Routledge. 

Davis, G., Althaus, C., and Bridgman, P. (2017). The Australian Policy Handbook: A practical guide to the policy making process, 6th edition, Allen & Unwin, Sydney. 

Gans, J. King, S. Byford, M. and Mankiw, N. (2018), Principles of Microeconomics. 7th Edition. Cengage Learning, Melbourne.  

Hubbard, G., Garnett, A.M., Lewis, P., and O’Brien, P (2018), Essentials of Economics, 7th Edition, Pearson Education, Sydney.  

Leigh, A. (2013), Battlers and Billionaires. The story of inequality in Australia. Redback, Collingwood.  

Libich, J. (2016), Real-World Economic Policy. Cengage Learning, Melbourne. 

Stokes, A. and Wright, S. (2016), Contemporary Economic Policies and Issues in Australia. 2nd Edition. Greenacre Educational Publications, Sydney. 

Stokes, A. and Wright, S. (2011), Higher Education Policy in Australia since WWII. Greenacre Educational Publications, Sydney. 

Further references 

Australian Bureau of Statistics,

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