ECON 7220 - Challenges Facing Economic Policy Makers

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

The course deals with controversial aspects of economic policy faced by governments, focusing on real-world applications of economic insights. Policy challenges addressed in the course will range across different areas of policy. Issues of relevance to both domestic and international policy will be explored as will topics of particular importance in developing countries.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 7220
    Course Challenges Facing Economic Policy Makers
    Coordinating Unit School of Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Incompatible ECON 7141
    Assumed Knowledge ECON 7011 & ECON 7071
    Restrictions Available to MAppEc, MAppEc(Int), MAppEc(PubPolicy) & MHlthEco&Pol students only
    Course Description The course deals with controversial aspects of economic policy faced by governments, focusing on real-world applications of economic insights. Policy challenges addressed in the course will range across different areas of policy. Issues of relevance to both domestic and international policy will be explored as will topics of particular importance in developing countries.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Eran Binenbaum

    Office hours: By appointment only, phone 83133048
    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.33
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1 Understand economic insights relevant to policy issues
    2 Apply economic analysis to local, state, national and international policy issues
    3 Prepare material on and present economic insights with policy relevance
    4 Provide and respond to constructive criticism of economic policy analysis
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,3,4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2,3,4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 3,4
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 3,4
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1,2,3,4
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1,2,3,4
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,2,3,4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Not applicable
    Recommended Resources
    Access to textbooks from Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics may be helpful: The content of these two courses is the assumed knowledge of this course.

    An additional useful resource is: Jean Hindriks & Gareth D. Myles, Intermediate Public Economics, 2nd edition, MIT Press, 2013. The book contains excellent background discussions (although all necessary materials will be provided by the lecturer).
    Online Learning
    The course makes extensive use of MyUni to post notes, assignments, and student project papers, and for communication with the students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The contact time in this course is made up of one three-hour lecture per week. Given the small size and higher level of the class the "lecture" time will also have significant student input, including discussion of assignments and presentations of projects.
    Workload

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

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This translates to 12 hours per week for a 3-unit semester course.
    For this course, the 12 hours per week will comprise one 3-hour lecture session per week, and 9 hours of individual study time.

    The "lecture" time will include significant student input. There will be discussions involving the whole class. Later in the class, much of the lecture time will be devoted to student presentations.

    The "individual study" time will be used for homework assignments and student projects. Preparation for projects - papers and presentations - will take most of students' time during the course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Early in the course, the lecturer will introduce key themes such as incentive problems, market failure, government failure, and potential remedies for these failures. The lecturer will also provide examples of economic analysis yielding policy recommendations. Take-home assignments will direct students to analyse a set of policy issues. As the course progresses, student input into the course will increase, through student projects and class participation.

    Policy challenges addressed in the course will range widely across different areas of policy. The lecturer will introduce policy issues such as welfare policy, feeding the world, the tragedy of the commons (e.g. global warming, or over-fishing) and the role of government in promoting innovation, etc.

    The course's agenda of policy issues will be influenced by the news and by student interests. Through this flexibility we aim to maximise the course's core objective of real-world relevance. From the beginning of the course, students are encouraged to think about their projects. After the mid-semester break, the course will focus on student projects.

    Student presentations will be scheduled as the course progresses. Every student will be a presenter and a discussant. Every presenter will be matched with a discussant. The last two to four sessions are available for student presentations.

    Project papers are finalised after being presented and discussed. Their final versions are submitted during the examinations period.

    There are no exams in this course. Instead of a final exam, the course has a deadline for the final version of your project paper.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    This course is ideally suited for a small-group discovery experience, for the following reasons:
    1. The homework assignments and student projects will be closely related to both the lecturer's research interests and the students' interests
    2. It is a small class: its average size the past years has been 16 students, and there never have been more than 24 students
    3. Students are actively participating in classroom discussions.
  • 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
    Assignments            32%

    Research Project      58%

    Class Participation    10%
    Assessment Detail
    Assignments: The four assignments challenge you to gain an understanding of a range of real-world issues by:
    * tracking down and discussing relevant economic literature
    * applying "technical" (mathematical/numerical/graphical) tools
    * contributing your own insights.

    Research project (written and oral presentation)
    focusing on a key policy issue. Your aim should be to become a "house expert" on that particular issue.
    Your project comprises:
    * one report (up to 25 pages) analysing your chosen policy issue
    * an associated presentation (20 to 45 minutes).

    The presentaiton is a tool for improving your report. The first version of the report is due one week before you present it. The final version of the report is due during the examinations period. It is the course's counterpart to a final exam.

    Class Participation: This consists of a review of another student's project, and contribution to classroom discussion. It is important to give useful feedback on other students' projects. The peer review consists of verbal comments after the author's presentation, plus a peer review document containing comments on the report. All students - not only the reviewer - are expected to prepare for the presentation sessions by reading all the papers that are presented, and to be active participants in the discussions providing feedback to the presenters.
    Submission
    There are 4 assignments. These are due before class commences on Fridays 8, 15, and 29 August, and 5 September.

    Late submissions will be subject to a 20% penalty per business day late. Lateness due to medical or compassionate reasons, supported by appropriate documents, will not be subject to penalty.

    Dates for presentations will be coordinated in class. The first version of your paper is expected to be ready in time one week before your presentation. This will give your fellow students - especially your discussant - time to read it before your presentation.

    The peer review document is due on 7 November - to be submitted to the author and to the lecturer.

    The final version of your report is due on Friday 21 November.

    All assessment will be returned within two weeks.
    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.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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