Understanding the Australian economy: An introduction to macroeconomic and financial policies

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Overview

This four-week, four-module course explores selective aspects of the Australian economy, with emphasis on macroeconomic and financial policies. The course introduces participants to several key attributes of the Australian economy and discusses how they are influenced by both domestic and international forces. We will examine some of the key issues and dilemmas facing the Australian economy and how policymakers can deal with them using monetary and fiscal policies. There will also be a discussion on the still-fresh 2007-2010s global financial crisis, the lessons learned, and how policymakers deal with the aftermath. Discussions will be centered around sound economic theories and reasoning, and utilize actual data whenever applicable. Applications of the economic reasoning and theories to current, real-world issues pertaining to the Australian economy will also be provided. In addition to conventional lectures, the course also contains several interviews with relevant experts and practitioners. No prior knowledge or training in economics is required.

Syllabus

The Australian economy in a nutshell
-Welcome to the MOOC! This week we will take a whirlwind tour of the Australian economy. More specifically, we will examine Australia's economy according to four key macroeconomic variables: gross domestic product, unemployment rate, inflation rate and exchange rate. Also, this week we will step back in time for a short history of the exchange rate regimes in Australia. Through this journey, we will explore why our nation is currently in the era of floating exchange rates.

Monetary policy and the RBA
-This week, we will drill down deeper into the heart of the Australian economy to explore monetary policy and the role of the central bank (the Reserve Bank of Australia, RBA) in stabilising and influencing the economy. First, we'll look at the transmission channels of monetary policy to see how the RBA can influence inflation and the level of activity in the economy. Next, we'll examine a simple but powerful framework to explain the RBA's stabilisation policies.

Fiscal policy in Australia
-This week we will have a brief overview of fiscal policy in Australia. Fiscal policy is an important topic and is widely used by policymakers to influence economic fluctuations, both in the short and medium run. In this module we will discuss the primary objectives and functions of fiscal policy in our nation. We will then apply a (familiar) economic framework in order to analyse fiscal policy and its impact on the economy. Using this framework, we’ll analyse several actual past, past policy episodes in the Australian economy.

The 2007 - 2010s Global Financial Crisis
-This week, we will investigate a momentous economic event: the 2007 Global Financial Crisis, or GFC.
Here we’ll have a crash course on the crisis – its main causes and consequences, the subsequent policy responses by policymakers and regulators, as well as its particular impact on the Australian economy.

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