Submit Event

ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Beginner’s guide to microeconomics for the public sector

One-day short course


20th May 2015


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy


Robert Breunig



This course at The Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, is designed to give economic beginners an introduction to key microeconomic principles, theories and terminology including trade-offs; marginal analysis; incentives; cost-benefit analysis; market efficiency, inefficiency and failure; consumer choice; game theory and the role of assumptions in economic models.

Course overview


Microeconomics analyses the behaviour of individual consumers, households and firms. It provides a framework for understanding decision-making by all of these agents in the economy. It examines motivations, incentives and decision-making processes. While its direct relevance to businesses is well understood, the information that can be gained from microeconomics is equally important for the public sector to grasp and understand. Successful policy design and implementation can only be done with a solid understanding of the responses and reactions of those influenced by the policy.

This one-day course takes you through all the basic concepts of microeconomics including: trade-offs; marginal analysis; incentives; cost-benefit analysis; market efficiency, inefficiency and failure; consumer choice; game theory and the role of assumptions in economic models. Competing schools of thought will be discussed.

The role of government, competition, monopolies and regulation, and state versus market decisions will also be explored in the course.

If you have ever wondered about what economists really mean when they talk about opportunity costs, externalities, comparative advantage and public goods, this course is for you.

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

Course convenor


Professor Robert Breunig

Robert Breunig conducts research in three main areas: economics of the household; empirical industrial organisation; and statistical and econometric theory. In recent work, he has studied the inter-generational transmission of dependence on government assistance; he has examined the relationship between women’s labour supply and child care policy and studied optimal child care subsidy policies; he has examined the complex relationship between outsourcing and innovation; and he has evaluated new econometric techniques for analysing panel data models of binary outcomes.

He publishes regularly in respected, international journals. His research is motivated by important social policy issues and debates. His work is characterised by careful empirical study and appropriate use of statistical technique.

Robert Breunig’s research agenda has led to many partnerships with government organisations in Australia and overseas. He works regularly with the Australian Treasury, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Innovation as well as many other agencies. He has been a consultant to private sector on marketing, mergers, bank competition and customer loyalty programs.

Robert 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. He has received grant support from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Australian Research Council.


Course date: 9.30am–4.30pm 20 May 2015
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: A$1,100 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

Press Ctrl+C to copy