Submit Event

ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Beginner’s guide to macroeconomics for the public sector

One-day short course


5th May 2017


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy



This course is designed to give economic beginners an introduction to key macroeconomic principles. Macroeconomics focuses on economy-wide phenomena such as inflation, unemployment, financial crises, international trade and economic growth. Participants will gain an understanding of key macroeconomic concepts such as gross domestic product (GDP), the consumer price index (CPI) and the current account balance. The relationship between economics and well-being is a theme that runs throughout the course. The role of government and the interaction between government and the macro-economy will be explored. A variety of models and perspectives will be presented.

Course overview

Macroeconomics analyses overall outcomes in the economy such as productivity, growth, well-being, inflation and economic crises. The course begins with a thorough examination of the idea of well-being: how should we measure it?; how should government objectives be targeted towards well-being and what type of well-being?; what does the macro-economy have to do with well being?

From there we undertake an extensive examination of key macro-economic statistics including gross domestic product and inflation. We discuss the role of key institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Australia in managing the national economy. We discuss the relationship between economic growth and productivity. We examine whether economic growth and environmental sustainability are contradictory objectives.

We discuss the role of the government in the macro-economy. Should Australia be worried about deficit and debt? Can the government create more innovation and productivity? Can the government prevent economic crises?

We discuss the role of Australia in the global economy. We present the basic theory of trade and comparative advantage. Participants will learn about key concepts and statistics relating to the global economy including net foreign investment, the current account balance and exchange rate theory and purchasing power parity.

This one-day course takes you through many of the basic concepts of macroeconomics including: economic output, productivity, growth, inflation, government budgets, foreign investment, trade, exchange rates. It also exposes participants to a wide-range of aggregate economic statistics that are frequently used in government and discussed in the media.

This course is paired with a beginner’s course in microeconomics. Because they are inter-related, it is recommended you attend both courses.

Course convenor

Professor Robert Breunig

Robert Breunig is Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. Professor Breunig is a highly respected academic with a strong research record and over 50 published journal articles. He has received funding from many grant programs including the Australian Research Council and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Professor Breunig’s recent research has examined the role of childcare subsidies in helping improve women’s work opportunities; an examination of the effect of immigration to Australia on the wages and working conditions of Australian citizens; an examination of spillovers in firm-level research and development expenditure and their role in innovation; and a study of the relative influences of inequality and severe poverty on economic growth around the world over the last 50 years.

Professor Breunig’s research agenda has led to many partnerships with government organisations in Australia and overseas. He is currently working with several agencies including the Department of Employment, the Australian Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office and the Productivity Commission.
Professor Breunig particularly enjoys interaction outside of typical academic circles and takes pleasure in helping those who don’t usually use economics or statistical analysis to better understand and make use of these tools in their work. He has an extensive track record of helping the public service to build research capacity which he views as a particularly important activity.

Course date: 
9.30am–4.30pm 5 May 2017
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: A$1,350 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

Press Ctrl+C to copy