The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



20 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course provides both theoretical and applied perspectives on economic theory and concepts. These perspectives include the historical development of economic thought, and contemporary debates on theory and practice in specialist areas of the discipline. As well as providing substantial insights into the foundations and evolution of economics, the course fosters skills in critical thinking, synthesis and articulation of ideas and arguments, and the effectiveness of applying economic theory in specific contexts.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Critically analyse a selection of seminal articles from the economics discipline

2. Apply key methodological concepts in economics to empirical data

3. Use advanced communication skills to disseminate their findings in a professionally acceptable manner


The content in this course will explore practical, theoretical and methodological issues in Economics, but the content of the coursework topics may vary from year to year depending on the number of students, and their specific interests. In particular topics will include material on the foundations of the economics discipline, key methodological concepts in economics, the practical application of key concepts to empirical data, and ethical aspects of policy.

Students will be consulted about the topics they have chosen to research. Theoretical material of relevance will be chosen for subsequent investigation. A variety of theoretical perspectives will be introduced in an environment that encourages debate across this range of perspectives with potential domains of technique that could include:

  1. Demand Theory - Optimisation under constraints, deriving demand functions, welfare economics
  2. Production Theory - Duality theory, cost and production functions, derived factor demand, revenue and profit functions (derivation and attributes), economies of scale and scope, dynamic Arthurian economies of scale, technological change, network effects, concentration
  3. Analytical approaches to the measurement and control of market and government failure
  4. Notions of effective demand and the labour market: cyclical, structural and frictional unemployment, and the underutilization of labour and resources
  5. Monetarist, New Keynesian, New Classical, and Post Keynesian perspectives on Macroeconomics and its theoretical and practical foundations
  6. Different Theories of Growth and Accumulation
  7. Governance, Hierarchy, and Markets: The Property-Rights School, Transaction Cost Theory, Chandlerian approaches, Schumpeterian and Evolutionary Economics – Motivation, approaches to modelling, and respective applications
  8. Input-Output Models, Single-Sector Solow-Swan and Ramsey-Keynes models, then Multisectoral approaches modelling (Neoclassical and Keynesian Growth Theory, New Growth Theory, Leontieff, Sraffa, and von Neumann Systems and associated debates in Capital Theory)
  9. The Digital Economy: features and implications; dynamic competence theory, resource-based value theory, block-chain technologies, the internet-of-things, machine-learning and Big Data, national, regional, and technological innovation systems, business ecosystems, inter-firm relations, cooperative and collaborative platforms
  10. A Critical Perspective on decision-making under uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk (cumulative prospect theory, robust control, fuzzy measure theory, other models), theories of crisis, issues in regulation and prudential control

Assumed knowledge

An undergraduate degree with at least a GPA of 5.0 with a major in Economics or equivalent.

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentation to discipline members

Report: Written Report

Essay: Essay

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The contact hours will be determined by student enrolment numbers and may be by individual supervision for 1 Hour(s) per Week for Full Term or a similar arrangement agreed by the Honours student and the course coordinator.