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Economics for Business

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Length: Approximately 2000 words

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Assignment 2 consists of two problem questions (worth 15 marks each) based on text material. Text material which may be relevant to the questions may be drawn from any of text chapters 1-10.
Answer the following:
Question 1 (15 marks)
In any market structure, an appropriate once-off expenditure on product differentiation will guarantee the firm’s ability to maximise economic profit into the future. Discuss.

Question 2 (15 marks)
Economics has difficulty in explaining why wage rates for individuals vary across occupations and industries and within occupations and industries. Discuss.


The questions address the following learning outcomes:

  • be able to apply demand and supply analysis to make a range of market related decisions
  • be able to explain and defend why it is important to understand the structure of the market in which a firm operates
  • be able to critically examine and demonstrate why it might be necessary for government to intervene in the production of goods and services and in the distribution of income

Marking criteria

Learning objective: Academic writing and applying economic principles and theories to labour market issues.

High Distinction(85%+) Highly developed skills in expression and presentation of ideas. Fluent writing style. No major grammatical and spelling errors. All references, including recent literature, cited and used accurately.
Distinction (75%-84%) Well-developed skills in expression and presentation of ideas. Fluent writing style. No spelling errors, minor grammatical errors. Relevant references cited and used accurately.
Credit (65%-74%) A satisfactory standard of expression. Relatively clear and concise in expression of ideas. Few spelling and/or grammar errors. Majority of references are presented and used accurately.
Pass (50%-64%) Some inconsistency in sentence structure. Clarity of expression could be enhanced by some revision. Several spelling errors and/or poor grammar. Very limited references cited and used.
Fail (Less than 50%) Poor communication of ideas due to careless writing and lack of proof-reading. Too many spelling and/or grammar errors. References not included or inappropriately applied

Learning objective: Research, content & knowledge of topic by analysing conditions in the Australian labour market.

High Distinction(85%+) Skilful use of data, theoretical knowledge and ongoing debate on the issue, and they are well integrated Contains insights and awareness of deeper and more subtle aspects of the relevant theory. There is clear evidence of researched/read more widely beyond the core materials
Distinction (75%-84%) Skilful use of data, theory and recent debate, but they are not well integrated. Presents issues in the broader context and demonstrates breadth and depth of understanding of most aspects of the essay topic. There is evidence of having read beyond the core materials.
Credit (65%-74%) Demonstrates knowledge of principles and concepts. Demonstrates good understanding of the relevant theory presented in the texts and readings.
Pass (50%-64%) Contains limited use of theoretical knowledge. Fails to demonstrate awareness of market trends. While some literature is presented they purely descriptive and they are not well integrated.
Fail (Less than 50%) Fails to demonstrate knowledge of key principles and concepts. There is very little evidence of having read material presented in core texts and readings. Contains only a few ideas and they are presented uncritically in a purely descriptive manner.

Learning objective: Quality of arguments & analytical skills in evaluating labour market policies, and use of evidence.

High Distinction (85%) Provides well-argued articulated statements with supporting evidence. Evidence of originality and independent thought. Has highly developed analytical skills and consistently demonstrates high levels of critical analysis. Demonstrates ability to reflect on conclusions and their policy implications.
Distinction (75%-84%) Provides well-argued and articulated statements, but the use of supporting evidence is not very recent. Evidence of independent thought. Has good analytical skills and is capable of good levels of critical analysis. Able to justify conclusions. Able to synthesise and draw conclusions from multiple perspectives.
Credit (65%-74%) Well-reasoned arguments based on broad evidence from theory and practice. Demonstrates some evidence of critical analysis and evaluation. Able to apply fundamental concepts and to draw and justify conclusions.
Pass (50%-64%) Arguments based on limited evidence. Demonstrates some evidence of analytical and evaluative skills but development of arguments is limited. Able to apply fundamental concepts and to draw and justify conclusions.
Fail (Less than 50%) Little demonstrated evidence of ability to construct clear and coherent arguments. Little (or no) evidence of analytical and evaluative skills. Fails to draw on fundamental concepts and to justify conclusions.


Answers should be typed and diagrams must be clear and neat and preferably drawn electronically. Hand-drawn diagrams are acceptable. The answer to the question should be divided into three parts:
Part 1: Introduction
The introduction sets up your response by succinctly stating your understanding of the issues, what think is the best way to analyse the situation – including choice of theory and sources of evidence, what type of findings you expect and what potential applications you expect there to be.
Part 2: Analysis
The analysis will represent the bulk of your work. Here you will provide your answer in detail by drawing upon the literature, the theory and the evidence to come up with an answer to the question posed. You may find that you want to break this section up into a number of sub-parts – one for a detailed discussion of the issues including your non-technical response, one for a detailed analysis of the tools of analysis you will use (theory), one for your extensive consideration of the evidence, one where you draw together your information and findings along with their implications.

Part 3: Conclusion
In the conclusion you briefly and succinctly review what you have done in answer to the question and indicate what further issues there might be to be considered.

Prescribed text(s)

Hubbard, G., Garnett, A., Lewis, P. and O’Brien, T. (2015) Essentials of Economics, Pearson Australia: Frenchs Forest.
MyEconLab (to accompany above).

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