AGRIBUS 7054 - Global Food & Agricultural Policy Analysis

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

Policies affecting agricultural and food businesses are examined using an economic framework and an international perspective. Students develop a solid understanding of the agricultural and food policy environment, the policy formulation process, and the role, rationale and economic consequences of government intervention in food and agricultural markets. They will develop the skills and working knowledge necessary to critically assess current and potential changes to domestic and global agricultural and food policy, trade policy, environmental and natural resource policy, and market regulations. Basic economic theoretical concepts and analytical tools are used to deal with the policy issues being discussed. For example, students will gain experience conducting cost benefit analyses using various policy instruments and programs. Each topic is motivated by a current or emerging issue facing the food and agricultural sectors of the economy.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AGRIBUS 7054
    Course Global Food & Agricultural Policy Analysis
    Coordinating Unit Centre for Global Food and Resources
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Course Description Policies affecting agricultural and food businesses are examined using an economic framework and an international perspective. Students develop a solid understanding of the agricultural and food policy environment, the policy formulation process, and the role, rationale and economic consequences of government intervention in food and agricultural markets. They will develop the skills and working knowledge necessary to critically assess current and potential changes to domestic and global agricultural and food policy, trade policy, environmental and natural resource policy, and market regulations. Basic economic theoretical concepts and analytical tools are used to deal with the policy issues being discussed. For example, students will gain experience conducting cost benefit analyses using various policy instruments and programs. Each topic is motivated by a current or emerging issue facing the food and agricultural sectors of the economy.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alexandra Peralta

    Lecturer in Charge:  Dr. Alexandra Peralta, Lecturer            
    Email: alexandra.peralta@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: North TCE Campus Office:  5.20 Nexus 10 Tower
    Office Hours: By appointment

    Teaching assistant: Anna Finizio, PhD student and research assistant
    Email: anna.finizio@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: North TCE Campus Office:  5.11 Nexus 10 Tower
    Office Hours: By appointment
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course will demonstrate how economists tackle a range of policy-related issues that are relevant to food and agricultural businesses.  Economics is often divided into two streams: microeconomics and macroeconomics.  Microeconomics deals with how individuals and firms choose to allocate scarce resources, how markets work and how government intervention may affect market processes and firms in the market.  Macroeconomics deals with the “big” picture; for example, national output and employment.  We will deal with policy issues from both fields, but we will focus mostly on microeconomic issues. 

    When it comes to policy issues, there are often no “right” answers, but economic principles and concepts are useful for analysing and comparing the social impacts of different policy scenarios.  Basic theoretical tools are introduced as required to deal with the issues being discussed.  In the process students are exposed to a large number of economic concepts and analytical tools, and to the “language” of economists.  After learning the “basics”, these new skills are utilized to examine the potential economic impacts of different policy instruments that might be used to deal with current issues facing agricultural and food markets.  Upon completion of this course, students will be able to professionally communicate with economists in a variety of situations, for example when they are working with government officials, as consultants, or simply when they are attempting to assert their opinion in related forums. 

    The specific aims of this course are to:

    1. Demonstrate practical applications of policy analysis related to  agriculture and   food value chain issues;
    2. Discuss the economic and political feasibility of policy changes and instruments;
    3. Develop students’ ability to think critically about the need for policies and policy reforms;
    4. Enhance students’ conceptual and problem solving skills so they are able to analyse how public policies and firm decisions impact agribusinesses, markets and society;
    5. Increase students’ capacity to recognize and clarify policy-related problems and to anticipate opportunities available in the market;
    6. Enable students to effectively identify and evaluate agri-business management options when faced with different policy scenarios, and to provide an analysis of options to inform managers and other decision-makers.
    7. Improve students’ written and oral communication skills, enabling them to work effectively in an agribusiness environment;
    After completing this course you should have an understanding of the following:
    • Agricultural and food policy environment;
    • Policy formulation process;
    • Key concepts and issues: 1) Market failure: externalities, asymmetric information, public goods and common pool resources. 2) Policy instruments and its application. Advantages and disadvantages. 3) Environmental policy, management of natural resources, public goods and common pool resources. 4) Human health and nutrition policies and why do we care. 5) Local food issues and consumers behaviour.
    • Rationale of food and agricultural policies in developed and developing countries;
    • Concepts of social welfare, market failure, government failure, consumer and producer surplus, and deadweight loss;
    • Policy instruments and economic impacts of instruments;
    • How to estimate economic costs and benefits (welfare) of agricultural and food-related public policies;
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1-7
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1-7
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    2,6,7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1-7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1-7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2,6,7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Assigned readings and related materials, that will be posted on the course MyUni website, and lecture notes. Lecture notes are not substitute for the assigned readings, they constitute a guide for the lectures and are not comprehensive.

    We will use different textbooks available for check out at The University of Adelaide Library and for online reading via The University of Adelaide Library website http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/

    Lectures will be recorded but they are not substitute for class attendance. Rather, a source for reviewing course materials when need it.
    Recommended Resources
    Textbooks:

    Available for check out at the University of Adelaide library and for on-line reading at the University of Adelaide Library website http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library:

    Nestle, M. (2007). Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition (Revised and Expanded Edition edition). Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Norton, G. W., Alwang, J., & Masters, W. A. (2014). Economics of Agricultural Development: World Food Systems and Resource Use (3 edition). New York: Routledge.

    Pinstrup-Andersen, P., & II, D. D. W. (2011). Food Policy for Developing Countries: The Role of Government in Global, National, and Local Food Systems. Cornell University Press.

    Available for check out at the University of Adelaide Library http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library:

    Mankiw, N. (2004). Principles of Economics. Cengage Learning.

    Penson et al. (2014). Introduction to Agricultural Economics. Pearson/Prentice Hall.

    Ray, D. (1998). Development Economics. Princeton University Press.

    Available on-line to download at the University of Adelaide Library website http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library:

    Microeconomics - A Fresh Start. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.springer.com/economics/microeconomics/book/978-3-642-37433-3

    For the required and recommended readings for each lecture, please check the course reading list.

    Journal articles and peer reviewed journals.

    Some recommended peer review journals are Food Policy, World Development, Global Food Security, Agricultural Economics, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Some websites with working papers and policy briefs include http://repec.org/, http://ideas.repec.org/, http://econpapers.repec.org/, International Food Research Policy Institute IFPRI www.ifpri.org, World Bank www.worldbank.org  and https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/2160. Resources are not limited to these ones, newspaper articles and research centre working papers are additional excellent sources of information. I will provide other resources in MyUni and in the course reading list.
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post all class materials, articles, quizzes, and announcements.

    All communication for this course will take place via email and MyUni. You are expected to be checking your University of Adelaide email (@adelaide.edu.au) frequently to check for course updates.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The class will consist of structured lectures and in-class activities that will expose students to all of the basic economic concepts with examples and case studies of real situations in which the knowledge acquired can be applied. Class discussion and online discussion will be encouraged during and outside course contact hours. In some cases, class time will be allocated to solve and practice problems and exercises. Students are expected to come prepare to class, which means that they must read the required readings for each lecture before the lectures. This is essential for understanding the material, clarify questions, and participate in class activities. Since this course is thought in an intensive format, students are encouraged to start reading the class material ahead of time in the semester, before the course contact hours begin.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements. The course consists of 4 contact hours per day and 12 hours a week, 7 to 10 hours per week of independent or group study outside of the classroom. Since this course is thought as an intensive course, students are expected to start reading and preparing the material for contact hours before day 1, when contact hours begin.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Date

    Day

    Topics

    26 April Day 1 Introduction to the course. Current issues in food and agricultural policy. What is agricultural/food policy? Market failure. Rational for government intervention. The global food system.
    Class activity.

    27 April

    Day 2

    Review of the concept of elasticity. Agricultural and food policy instruments. Taxes and subsidies. Price controls. Consumption and demand policies.
    Class activity: class exercise on different policy instruments.

    2 May

    Day 3

    Domestic market policies. Marketing systems, food and agricultural markets. Food and agricultural production, supply policies. Green revolution.
    Class activity.

    3 May

    Day 4

    International trade policy instruments. Developed and developing countries price policies and its effects in the food system.
    Invited lecturer: TBA.
    Class activity.

    4 May

    Day 5

    Environmental policy instruments. Soil and water conservation (2015 the year of soils). Common pool resources.  
    Invited Lecturer: Dr. Adam Loch.
    Class activity.

    5 May

    Day 6

    Human health and nutrition policies. Examples of policies aim to improve nutrition (vitamin supplements, school programs). Nutrition facts vs. labelling.
    Class activity.
    Invited lecturer: Dr. Lenka Malek

    9 May

    Day 7

    Obesity and the double burden of under and over nutrition. Examples of issues and policies.  
    Invited lecturer: TBA.

    10 May

    Day 8

    Hunger and poverty alleviation policies. Food aid. Cash transfers. SNAP.
    Class activity.

    11 May

    Day 9

    Food safety. GMOs and biotechnology. Organic and local. Food labels.
    Invited lecturer: TBA.
    *** Subject to adjustments and updates.
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no specific requirements for this course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Collaborative/
    Individual
    Weighting Word Count/Time
    Due Date
    Learning Outcome
    Online blog post Collaborative 20 700-800 words 20 May 2016 1-7
    Policy brief Collaborative 30 4 pages 3 June 2016 1-7
    Final exam Individual 35 3 hours 15 June 2016 1-7
    Participation in class activities Collaborative and Indiviudal 10 36 hours 1-7
    Quizzes Individual 5 50 minutes Random during contact hours 1-7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Plagiarism:

    Plagiarism is an unacceptable behaviour. We take plagiarism issue seriously. Students are required to visit this website to understand their responsibility for academic honesty and to develop the knowledge and skills to avoid plagiarism.
    https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/plagiarism/

    To avoid plagiarism please also read:
    https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/learning_guides/learningGuide_avoidingPlagiarism.pdf

    (i) Policy brief

    Students will submit a collaborative policy brief for the first assessment. The lecturer will post the topic of the policy brief and guidelines on MyUni. Example policy briefs will be uploaded for students’ guidance. A template will be provided and you are expected to use it and strictly follow the provided instructions, otherwise penalties apply.

    The policy brief should contain a cover letter with the class title student(s) name(s), student(s) id, and date of submission. References should follow the American Psychological Association (APA) format and the list of references should be presented at the end of the policy brief. The four-page (04) limit, excluding cover letter and references, is strict. Each additional page will reduce your mark by 20%.  

    Policy brief should be double spaced, with 2.6 cm margins, font size 12, Times New Roman or Times, in A4 size paper.

    The second policy brief is a group assignment and you and your team members are expected to equally participate in elaborating the policy brief.

    Marking for this assignment will be explained in the policy brief guidelines to be uploaded in MyUni.

    (ii) Online blog posts.

    You must write a post related to a topic of interest in food and agricultural policy. This post should not exceed 800 words and not be less than 700 words. To write your blog post, you must use at least one reference from a peer review journal or working paper from an international organization, and at least one reference from the course materials. Other references should be used as need it. The main goal of the blog post is to show your ability to critically analyse a topic using the concepts learnt during the course. Within your team you are expected to be able to work together and write this post.  

    Guidelines and recommendations for the blog post will be provided in myUni. Marking for this assignment will be explained in the blog post guidelines to be uploaded in MyUni.

    (iii) Participation in class activities.

    Attendance to all lectures, guest lectures, and class activities is expected. Participation in class activities will be marked separately. Notes, class exercises, written questions and comments will be collected to mark your class participation. Guidelines and marking schemes will be provided depending on the activity. 
    Assessment Detail
    All examination will form part of the assessment and will consist but not be limited to quizzes, open book exams, exams, take home papers, practical exams, etc.  The topics to be assessed will include everything at the moment of the task unless discussed otherwise with
    the students. To pass this course you are require to pass the final exam, in other words, you need 50% of the total final exam worth.
    Submission
    (i) Policy brief:

    Must be submitted in:

    Softcopy through Turnitin on MyUni by 5:00 pm on Friday the 20th of May of 2016.

    Hardcopy in the assigned dropbox by 5 pm on Friday the 20th of May of 2016.

    The assignment will only be considered as submitted if you have both uploaded the softcopy on turnitin and dropped the hardcopy in the assigned dropbox by the deadline.

    (ii) Online blog post:

    Softcopy through Turnitin on MyUni by 5:00 pm on Friday the 3rd of June.

    Softcopy on MyUni by 5:00 pm on Friday the 3rd of June.

    The assignment will only be considered as submitted if you have both uploaded the softcopy on turnitin and on the assigned MyUni webpage for the blog.

    Penalties:

    Any assignment submitted after the deadline will be considered late. The penalty will be:

    1) 20% of each assignment’s mark for assignment submitted after 1 minute and 9 am of the next day the assignment is due.   
    2) 50% of each assignment’s mark for every working day starting after 9:00 am of the next day after the deadline.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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