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10 cp from 200-level units in Economics

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, economic reasons for Aboriginal poverty in Australia and policies to tackle this issue, renewable energy targets and environmental policies, and labour market policies. In addition, the students will apply their acquired skills and knowledge of economics policies by conducting cost-benefit analysis exercises which are required in the industry and government. Being a capstone unit, it will draw upon on the knowledge and necessary 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 - Identify and critically analyse the key factors influencing economic policies, limitations, unintended consequences, short-run and long-run impacts on various economies, including Australia (GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9)

LO2 - Critically evaluate and explain the costs and benefits of economic policy decisions in complex situations (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO3 - Independently formulate a research task according to the methodological and ethical conventions of the economics discipline with the application of economics theories and data (GA3, GA6, 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 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

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

This unit is designed to be offered fully online and will include synchronous delivery of unit content, collaborative online learning activities and other technology-enabled learning synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities to foster interaction between students.

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 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 learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, videos etc.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

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. 

2. 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 the student’s choosing and to develop further communication, and writing skills based on a 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. 

3. Final exam. The final exam tests LO4 and 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 a a central examination, school-based examination, or take-home examination.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: 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, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Research Assignment  

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


LO2, LO3

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Final Exam 

The final exam will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the different topics covered in the unit in weeks 1-12, and the application of their analysis and economic evaluation skills through the analysis of the actual public policy issue. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, 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 ed.). Cengage Learning, Melbourne.

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

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

Greene, J. E. (2018). Macroeconomic analysis and policy: a systematic approach. World Scientific, Hackensack, New Jersey.

Hubbard, G., Garnett, A.M., Lewis, P., and O'Brien, A. (2018). Essentials of Economics (4th ed.). 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.

Muller, S. (2008). Indigenous Payment for Environmental Service (PES) Opportunities in the Northern Territory: negotiating with customs, Australian Geographer, 39:2, 149-170, DOI: 10.1080/00049180802056831

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

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