Economic Policy

About the major

The Economic Policy major focuses on developing the theoretical economic and statistical skills to be able to effectively understand economic policy. This will provide a framework for systematic analysis of policy, an understanding of the rationales for government activity in the economy, and a method for comparing the effectiveness of proposed policies using economic tools of analysis. A focus of the major will include an assessment of the limitation of various economic policies, including their distributional consequences. An emphasis will also be placed on the effective communication of policy analysis.

Requirements for completion

A major in Economic Policy requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 6 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 1000-level selective units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(v) 24 credit points of 3000-level selective units including one Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in in Economic Policy requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 6 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 1000-level selective units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units

First year

Students commence with ECON1040, which provides an overview of the key economic theory tools they will need to use throughout their major. Two key concepts will be emphasized: the inherent tradeoffs involved in any economic decision (or policy); and, second, the notions of efficiency and market failure. These concepts will be critical in framing the analysis of economic policy throughout the major.

Students will also have the opportunity to see an overview of key topics and policy debates via one of the 1000-level selectives. This will provide some perspective to the theoretical training in ECON1040, as well as strengthening their critical thinking, communication and economic analysis skills.

Second Year

Students will develop their analytical economic skills by taking either ECOS2001 Intermediate Microeconomics / ECOS2901 Intermediate Micreoeconomics Honours or ECOS2002 Intermediate Macroeconomics / ECOS2902 Intermediate Macroeconomics Honours. This allows students to specialise in either microeconomic or macroeconomic policy.

Understanding economic data and interpreting presented statistical results are critically important to proper policy evaluation. In ECOS2020 Economic Data Analysis students will learn some basic statistical tools and will learn how to interpret economic data. The emphasis in this unit will be on communicating economic statistics effectively, and on understanding the limitations and pitfalls inherent in economic data (such as unemployment figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Third Year

In their third year, students take units that examine various economic policy issues. The electives taken will depend on the second year unit completed; that is, they can focus on microeconomic or macroeconomic policy issues. The culminating unit for the major is the combined interdisciplinary project. This unit will require students to demonstrate that they can choose the appropriate model to critically analyse and to provide advice. Students will also need to be able to demonstrate they understand the limitations of the models used.

Contact/further information

School of Economics:
sydney.edu.au/arts/economics
Room 370, Merewether H04
Email:

Example pathways

Economic Policy major pathway

Year and Semester

Units of Study

1st Year

S1

ECON1040
Principles of Economics

 

S2

ECON1XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

 

2nd Year

S1

ECOS2020
Economic Data Analysis

 

S2

ECOS2XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

 

3rd Year

S1

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

S2

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit (combined interdisciplinary project unit)

Economic Policy minor pathway

Year and Semester

Units of Study

1st Year

S1

ECON1040
Principles of Economics

S2

ECON1XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

2nd Year

S1

ECOS2020
Economic Data Analysis

S2

ECOS2XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

3rd Year

S1

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit

S2

ECOS3XXX
Economic Policy major selective unit


Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a thorough and confident understanding of the key principles and theories of economics, including comparative advantage, opportunity cost, efficiency and market failure.
  2. Analyse and interpret economic events using a range of economic models, such as cycles in economic activity (booms and recessions), patterns of trade, changes in the structure of the Australian economy, and labour-market outcomes.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the rationales for government activity in the economy.
  4. Clearly communicate the results and implications of informed and sophisticated economic analysis.
  5. Work both independently and collaboratively to construct and defend a valid economic argument.
  6. Apply the principles of economics in a wide range of context and settings.