• Class Number 2724
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Mark Fabian
    • Mark Fabian
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

Economic way of thinking examines how people make choices under conditions of scarcity and systems of production, consumption, and distribution. It also examines the effects of government policy and actions on market outcomes. The economic way of thinking provides a decision-making framework for individuals, firms and policy-makers. This course aims to provide students with a solid understanding of basic (micro)economic principles and the ability to apply those tools and ideas. Topics include comparative advantage, consumer and firm decision-making, supply and demand, market structure, international trade, and market failure.



Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a solid understanding of "the economic way of thinking".
  • Demonstrate a solid understanding of the principles of supply and demand, including consumer and firm behaviour.
  • Demonstrate a solid understanding of market structure, performance and failure.
  • Be able to explain the effects of different government interventions in markets.
  • Present in written form arguments using both economic reasoning and actual evidence.

Required Resources

There is no compulsory text for this course, but a textbook is recommended (see options below).

In the course summary I have listed the topics covered each week. Look for the topics in the index of the textbook you are using and then read the relevant pages.

Wattle also contains links each week to internet resources that you might find helpful. The internet is full of videos and other explanations of all the content in this course and the lecture notes are comprehensive. As such, you can safely avoid purchasing a textbook.

Any microeconomics textbook is suitable for this course. Don't feel that you really need one of these. Furthermore, any edition (year) of any microeconomics textbook is fine. There are many economics textbooks available in the ANU library and electronic copies of older textbooks can be found for free online.

Gans, J.; King, S.; Stonecash, R.; Libich, J.; Byford, M. and Mankiw, G. Principles of Economics. Sydney, AU: Cengage

Pros Cons: This is a very common microeconomics textbook that is also used in POGO8081. This is the Australian edition and includes many Australian examples. The main advantages of this textbook are that it is thorough, expresses itself in words rather than numbers for the most part, and includes a lot of real-world examples. Some people might find this textbook long-winded.

Frank, R.; Bernanke, B.; Antonovics, K. and Heffetz, O. (2016). Principles of Microeconomics. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell

Pros/Cons: This is much more concise than Gans et al. It concentrates on the graphs and mathematics rather than case studies.

Acemoglu, D.; Laibson, D. and List, J. (2015). Microeconomics. London, UK: Pearson. 

Pros/Cons: This is one of the most recent economics textbooks and includes new material that is currently in vogue. However, as we are doing an introductory course, we won't be covering most of this material.


Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction Course outline What is economics? Why you should be excited to learn economics Rationality Weak critiques of economics Strong critiques of economics How to study for this course
2 Demand The utility function Preferences Opportunity cost The budget constraint The consumer's problem The individual's demand curve Market demand Consumer surplus
3 Supply Profit The production function Labour, capital and total factor productivity Cost curves The producer's problem The supply of a single firm Market supply Producer surplus
4 Market Equilibrium Market clearing conditions Demand and supply shocks Elasticity Online Quiz #1
5 Efficiency and Equity in Economics Pareto optimality Hicks-Kaldor improvements Relative equity Proportional equity Equality of opportunity Edgeworth's Box Okun's Leaky Bucket Mirrlees' Model
6 Market Distortions Price floors Price Ceilings Subsidies Online Quiz #2 (before teaching break)
7 Taxation Reasons for taxation Taxation and incentives Efficient taxation Types of taxes Taxation in developing countries Mid-Semester exam (after the teaching break)
8 Market Failure 1 Public Goods Club Goods Common Pool Resources Externalities Coasian Bargaining
9 Market Failure 2 Assymetric Information Adverse Selection Moral Hazard Public insurance systems Government as risk manager Online Quiz #3
10 Competition Firms under competitive pressure Creative destruction The political economy of competition Monopoly Monopsony Competition policy
11 Trade Comparative advantage Production possibilities frontier Consumption possibilities frontier Trade and development Industrial policy Tariffs Import Quotas
12 Game Theory Prisoner's dilemmas Chicken The Public Goods Game Dictator Game Ultimatum Game Game theory in public policy Assignment Due Final exam

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
20% - Online quizzes 20 % 04/03/2019 15/04/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
0% or 20% - Mid Term Exam 20 % 23/04/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,4,5
35% or 55% - Final Exam 35 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3,4,5
25% - Short Paper 25 % 31/05/2019 03/06/2019 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 04/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

20% - Online quizzes

There will be eleven (weekly) quizzes during the semester delivered online through Wattle. They will be accessible following the relevant lecture and available until the minute before the next lecture. These quizzes are open-book, meaning that you are allowed to have your textbook, the lecture notes or any other resources you might need on-hand during the quiz. They are also untimed. These quizzes are purposefully low stakes and designed to encourage you to keep up with the course. Your best 8/11 quizzes will contribute 2.5% each to your final mark for the course, for a total of 20%. You are welcome to skip quizzes if you think that is wise or necessary—the 3 quiz leeway is precisely to give people some discretion to prioritise other assessments, illness or emergencies when necessary without affecting their grades. However, I would suggest doing every quiz as a straightforward homework exercise if possible. Each quiz should take around 1–3 hours to complete. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 23/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

0% or 20% - Mid Term Exam

The mid-term exam will (likely) be held in Week 7 after the teaching break at a time arranged by the examination office. It will not be conducted in class. The exam will be 2 hours long plus reading time and cover the material from weeks 1–6 of the course. It will comprise questions similar to those discussed in tutorials. Previous mid-term exam questions and answers will be available on Wattle from day 1 of the course. Students should prioritise practicing these and the tutorial questions in preparation.

The mid-semester exam is redeemable: if your grade on the final exam is higher than for the mid-semester then the weight of the final exam will be 55% and the weight of the mid-term will be 0%. Don’t freak out if you do badly mid-semester exam. It is a learning opportunity. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

35% or 55% - Final Exam

The final exam will cover the second half of the course, specifically lectures 7–12, but these cannot be understood without competence in lectures 1–6. The exam will be held during the university examination period after teaching finishes. The weighting of the mid-term and final exams will be automatically calculated to give you the highest possible grade. The exam will be 3 hours long plus reading time. The date, time, and location of the exam will be set by the University and announced when the information is available.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 03/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5

25% - Short Paper

To give students an opportunity to go a little bit deeper on the concepts and apply their skills in real life, and to give students who do not excel in exam conditions an opportunity to stand out, students will be tasked with identifying and analysing a real-world economic policy using the concepts and tools they learn through the course. Papers should be 1000 words in length (+/- 10%). Going over or under the word limit will be penalised (severely) according to the university’s guidelines on this. The papers will be marked according to the following criteria:

  • Application of concepts from the course
  • Quality of analysis
  • Structure and style
  • Appropriate and accurate use of references and sources 

The assignment is DUE Friday 31 May at 11:55pm

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Mark Fabian
6125 6409

Research Interests

Mark Fabian

Monday 11:00 12:00
Mark Fabian
6125 9286

Research Interests

Mark Fabian

Monday 11:00 12:00

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