ECON 11026 Assessment Item 3- Take Home Paper- Case Study
Due date: Friday of Week 12- Term
Weighting: 40 % weighting (5marks for in-text referencing &
reference list, presentation, clarity of explanation and
evidence of reading and research, original thinking
backed by research supporting your argument/stance)
Length: Approximately 2500 -3000 words
Case Study is based on topics covering week’s 9-11
This assessment item relates to course learning outcomes 6 to 7 as listed in the course profile.
Tasks to be undertaken:
Get a good understanding of macroeconomic objectives, unemployment, monetary policy, RBA, and
Read the case study on- Automation won’t destroy jobs, but it will change them. February 29, 2016
Make notes, which will help you to answer the questions by applying the theory to real life example of
economics at work. Read about the current situation on unemployment in Australia and link it with the
growth of GDP.
Apply the DADA (Definitions, Assumption, Diagram and Analysis) while answering the economic
questions. On campus students will be attempting some exercises in the workshop sessions. Off campus
students should attempt weekly activities from the textbook boxed case studies. These exercises will help
and guide you how to think like an economist. Look for theory and apply it to real life examples from “Case
Plagiarism is an issue. Make sure you include in-text references and provide a reference list.
The focus of your task for this assignment in the next four weeks is to elicit and apply economic concepts
and theory to the key macroeconomic objectives: Gross domestic product (GDP), economic growth,
inflation, balance of payments and unemployment in Australia in particular.
Conduct research (find related articles and search the ASB website) relevant to the issue of current situation
of unemployment in Australia, its relationship to GDP, role of fiscal & monetary policy in reducing
unemployment rate. You will need this additional information after conducting some research and finding
information, tables, graphs etc. to show the current level of unemployment, inflation, GDP, relationship
between GDP and unemployment, new jobs created to draw conclusions and justify your answers.
In preparing your assignment, you need to ensure that you refer to the “essay writing guide for students
studying economics” available on the course website in Moodle. It is important in economics that you
interpret the question clearly, use diagrams, tables from secondary sources in an essay and write like an
economist, applying it to real world economic examples.
NOTE: Students should answer the questions in an essay format. They have to do research and look at
articles related to problem of unemployment, teen unemployment and skill shortage. Draw graphs and
tables within. Students can explain and apply the theory to justify their answer. Refer to relevant chapters
from the set textbook or any other economics textbook. First have an introduction paragraph regarding the
case, answer 5 questions with 5 paragraphs and students are supposed to connect the paragraphs with tables
and graphs within and have a final concluding paragraph.
Good luck with the case study.
Automation won’t destroy jobs, but it will change them
February 29, 2016 12.56pm AEDT
Spreadsheets didn’t kill accountancy jobs, it just changed them.
Stefan Hajkowicz Senior Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight, Data61
The last few years have seen numerous studies pointing to a bleak future with technologyinduced unemployment on the rise. For example, a pivotal 2013 study by researchers at the
University of Oxford found that of 702 unique job types in the United States economy,
around 47% were at high risk of computerisation. This was backed up by similar findings in
Australia suggesting 44% of occupations – representing more than five million jobs – were at
risk over the coming 10 to 15 years. Is the situation really so dire? Are we heading towards
mass unemployment as computers and robots do all the work? The short answer is no. The
economy can be expected to create new jobs at a commensurate rate at which it extinguishes
existing jobs. There are reasons to believe that job creation will outpace job destruction.
However, the full answer is more nuanced. Australia’s current and future workforce is
certainly in for challenging times ahead. We are entering into an era of more rapid than usual
technology-fuelled disruption of labour markets. The exponential growth in device
connectivity, platform economies, e-commerce, social media use, computing power, data
volumes and overall internet penetration will change the nature of work. Some are suggesting
that platform economics and the new gig economy are set to challenge the
longstanding theory of the firm by Nobel Prize laureate Ronald Coase and fundamentally
restructure the way labour is organised.
Such sudden shocks have happened in the past. The industrial revolution of 1750-1850 saw
the invention and widespread adoption of the steam engine, spinning wheels, cement,
chemicals and many other technologies. These discoveries improved the productivity of
industry. This eventually led to higher wages, higher employment rates and improved living
standards, but it took half a century for this to happen. A study by Charles Feinstein,
economic historian at the University of Oxford, finds that average real weekly earnings for
workers in the United Kingdom increased at the rate of 0.4% per annum over 75 years (1782
It took time for the benefits of automation to flow to workers, hence the reaction of Luddites like these to modern factories.
Other quality-of-life indicators reveal similar patterns of sluggish growth. From 1800 to
1860, the life expectancy (at birth) for the population in provincial cities (over 100,000
inhabitants) in England and Wales remained roughly constant at 41 years and living standards
declined for many of the new urban industrial workforce. It wasn’t until after 1860 that life
expectancy began to rise, reaching 47 years by 1900, along with improvements in living
That’s quite a sobering thought. For the first half or two thirds of the 100-year industrial
revolution, the bulk of workers experienced little benefit and many saw their working
conditions deteriorate. The often-misunderstood Luddites – who smashed spinning looms –
may not have been angry at the mechanical spinning looms; they may have just been angry
and the looms happened to be nearby. But is the industrial revolution a good guide for
today’s information revolution? Are we in for a half-century of hardship? Perhaps the words
often attributed (mistakenly, it seems) to Mark Twain will help us: “History doesn’t repeat
itself, but it does rhyme.”
We’re likely to see similarities and parallels to what happened in the industrial revolution but
today’s world is a different place. We also know more about how to adapt. It’s becoming
increasingly clear the key to surviving digital technology disruption is finding ways to
combine your skills with the power of advanced robots and computers. This is what Andrew
McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson call learning to race with the machine not against the machine
in their book The Second Machine Age. Spreadsheets didn’t kill off accounting jobs. On the
contrary, smart accountants learned how to use spreadsheets to become more productive and
If we look at some recent trends in Australian employment, we see evidence of this
occurring. Consider two job types: field photographers and laboratory-based photography
printers. As shown below, the lab staff has dwindled in number to almost none. This trend is
almost perfectly mirrored by growth in the number of field photographers.
Jobs in photography have not suffered due to digital disruption. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 6291.0.55.003
There are similar patterns for transactional finance workers versus finance advisers, and
accountants versus data entry operators. Basically the routine, repetitive and rules-based tasks
are susceptible to automation while tasks involving creativity, complexity, judgement and
social interaction are beyond the scope of robots. So we’re not entering into an era of job
destruction but rather one of rapid transition. We need a more agile, flexible and nimble
workforce able to cross professional and industry boundaries quickly and smoothly.
Unfortunately, the people who lose jobs are often not the same as the people who get jobs.
And transitions take time. There are some serious social equity considerations in this story
and some big challenges about managing the distributional impacts. We very much want an
Australia where the benefits of digital transformation are experienced right across our diverse
geographies, skill sets and communities. The challenge for government, industry and society
is finding ways to make sure that happens.
Note: Students will have to do some research for this assignment –to be able to find some
secondary data, tables and graphs from ABS website related to GDP, unemployment,
inflation and number of jobs created.
Answer the following questions:
Introduction: Provide an introduction about the case.
Question 1: What are the key macroeconomic objectives? Are they related to each other?
If yes, explain the relationship.
Question 2: Define economic growth. What are the determinants of long-run economic
growth? Is long-run economic growth sustainable without technological progress?
Justify your answer.
Question 3: What is the relationship between GDP and unemployment? Critically analyse
the relationship for the past ten years. (GDP and unemployment data can be obtained from
the Australian Bureau of Statistics).
Question 4: List and explain the different types of unemployment? Which type of
unemployment will be most affected by technological revolution? Explain why?
Question 5: Do you agree with the statement of Stefan Hajkowicz ‘we are not entering into
an era of job destruction but rather a rapid transition’? Justify your answer with examples.
Conclusion: Provide an overarching conclusion to the case.
Reference list: Also provide in text references.
ECON11026 –Assignment-3 Marking Sheet
Marking Criteria Weight
Structure and organisation of
Clarity of expression 1
Evidence of wide reading and
research (in-text and end-text
Application of theory to
7 x 5 Q 1 Q 2 Q 3 Q 4 Q 5 Comments
Define key terms, explain key
issue and problem in the case
Identify and explain
Provide appropriately adapted
graphical illustration/s, tables
Provide critical analysis of the
question drawing theory from
relevant chapter topics
Provide conclusions of the
case, highlighting overarching
Final mark Assessment – 3
Markers Signature: Date:
i) By now you have enough practice by solving the weekly textbook boxed case studies.
ii) Use DADA acronym in structuring your answers to all questions in economics. (Definitions:
define the key terms ; Assumptions: list or make assumptions as required; Diagrams: draw
relevant graphs/tables and explain; and original Analysis: apply the theory to real life economic
examples and explain to justify your answer) Read the file on Moodle on how to answer
questions, write essays and analyse case studies in economics.
iii) Concepts and key terms must be defined accurately and completely.
iv) The assumptions upon which the analysis is based must be stated at the outset.
v) Diagrams must be drawn properly, correctly labelled and the relations they depict explained.
vi) Answers must be complete, addressing the specific tasks nominated in the questions.
vii) Analysis overall should be provided by relating economic theory to real-life economic
examples of ‘cash less economy’ in the case study.
viii) Sources must be acknowledged in-text and a list of references provided.
ix) Students should refer to textbooks for theory and other on-line resources, articles, news items
related to the case study.
x) Plagiarism is a real concern, therefore, please remember to reference in-text and also provide a
Reference list. Do not give your assignment even to your friend /copy form each other.
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