Communications & Media

School students put everyday economics to the test

Year 11 and 12 economic students from across the state recently discovered first-hand how economics plays a part in everyday lives.

The University’s Tasmanian School of Business and Economics (TSBE) recently hosted a day long Economics Challenge, providing pre-tertiary students the chance to apply practical solutions to a number of real-world challenges.

As part of the day’s event, guest speaker Dr Alexandra Heath (Head of Economic Analysis at the Reserve Bank of Australia), spoke about the current economic conditions in Australia and the outlook for monetary policy.

“Economics is a decision-making framework, and it permeates all aspects of life,” TSBE Economics and Finance Professor Mardi Dungey said.

“Our aim was to give students a taste of this with the activities.

“The Economics Challenge is designed to support the curriculum for economics students studying pre-tertiary economics and to stimulate their knowledge and enjoyment of the subject.

“Most students have no exposure to economics prior to either taking it at Year 12 or at University, so we wanted to give them a better idea of what our discipline is about.”

Some of the day’s challenges included:

  • Market-based activities – Students played the role of buyers and sellers in markets where they receive information. Students considered scenarios including how does the information affect the price we pay for something? If you learn bad news about a product would you pay more for it or less? If you learn something good about the future of a product how does that affect the price you pay for it?
  • Fisheries activity – how do we try to solve tricky problems where there are environmental impacts as well as economic? How many fish is it sensible to catch without destroying the fish stock or the environment? The students made decisions about how many fish to catch and observed the outcomes.
  • Poverty and Prosperity – what goes into measuring human well-being or happiness – health care, longevity, income? How do you weigh all the various factors that contribute to happiness? The students made their own weightings and compared them with those calculated by international experts.

The Economics Challenge was supported by the TSBE and the Federal Group.

Image caption: Reserve Bank of Australia Head of Economic Analysis Dr Alexandra Heath (left) with TSBE Economics and Finance Professor Mardi Dungey.

Published on: 19 Sep 2017 12:14pm