Economics is the study of how resources are allocated to meet the needs and wants of society. It attempts to explain how and why individuals behave the way they do and the consequences of their decision making. Studying Economics as a social science enables students to gain valuable insight into the economic problems that they may face on an individual basis and collectively as a society to meet the needs and wants of citizens, and may therefore assist them in making more informed and responsible decisions.
Unit 1: Semester 1
The behaviour of consumers and businesses
This unit introduces students to some fundamental economic concepts. They examine basic economic models where consumers and businesses engage in mutually beneficial transactions and investigate the motivations and consequences of both consumer and business behaviour. They examine how individuals might respond to incentives and how technology may have altered the way businesses and consumers interact. Students are encouraged to investigate contemporary examples and case studies to enhance their understanding of the introductory economic concepts.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe the basic economic problem, discuss the role of consumers and businesses in the economy and analyse the factors that influence decision making. As well as explain the role of relative prices and other non-price factors in the allocation of resources in a market-based economy.
1. Coursework (50%)
2. Examination (50%)
Unit 2: Semester 2
Contemporary economics Issues
This unit focuses on the nature of key economic trade-offs; situations where the achievement of one goal may come at the expense of another. There may be a trade-off between the goal of economic growth and the goal of environmental sustainability. Students consider the effect of economic growth on future generations and begin to appreciate some of the current environmental challenges that have been created from past and current economic decisions.
On completion of this unit, the student should be able to to explain the factors and policies that may influence equity in the distribution of income and efficiency of resource allocation, and analyse the potential trade-off.
1. Coursework (50%)
2. Examination (50%)
Unit 3: Semester 1
Australia’s economic prosperity
In this unit students consider develop an understanding of the macroeconomy. They investigate the factors that influence the level of aggregate demand and aggregate supply in the economy and use models and theories to explain how changes in these variables might influence the achievement of the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals and affect living standards. Students would be able to analyse key contemporary factors that may have influenced the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals over the past two years and discuss how achievement
of these goals may affect living standards. Finally, student should be able to explain the factors that may influence Australia’s international transactions and evaluate how international transactions and trade liberalisation may influence the current account balance, the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals and living standards in Australia.
Unit 4: Semester 2
Managing the economy
Initially students focus on the role of aggregate demand policies in stabilising the business cycle to achieve the government’s domestic macroeconomic goals. Students examine the role of the Reserve Bank of Australia with a focus on its responsibility to alter the cost and availability of credit in the economy. Students consider each of the transmission mechanisms through which changes to interest rates can affect the level of aggregate demand in the economy and how these changes might affect the achievement of the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals. Students examine and analyse the effects of the last two government budgets, and how particular initiatives have helped to stabilise the level of aggregate demand and influenced the achievement of domestic macroeconomic goals.
Students then consider how the government utilises aggregate supply policies to manage the Australian economy. If the productive capacity of the economy is expanding, growth in aggregate demand can be met and economic growth can be maintained both now and into the future. Students investigate the role of both market-based and interventionist approaches to managing the supply side of the economy. They evaluate these policy responses in terms of their effect on incentives and consider how they increase competition and efficiency in the economy.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss the nature and operation of aggregate demand policies and analyse how the policies may influence the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals and living standards. Student should be able to discuss the nature and operation of aggregate supply policies and analyse how the policies may influence the Australian Government’s domestic macroeconomic goals and living standards.
1. Coursework – Unit 3 (25%)
2. Coursework – Unit 4 (25%)
3. Examination (50%)