Beginner’s guide to macroeconomics for the public sector

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Economics, Data Analysis and Decision Making
Policy Essentials


This course takes you through the basic concepts of macroeconomics including: economic output, productivity, growth, inflation, foreign investment and trade. Participants will learn about aggregate economic statistics frequently used by government and media.

This course will discuss the role of Australia in the global economy and the role of trade in the global economy. Beginning with a thorough examination of the idea of well-being: How should we measure it? How should government objectives be targeted towards well-being? What does the macro-economy have to do with well-being? From there, an extensive examination of key macro-economic statistics including gross domestic product and inflation will be undertaken. The role of key institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Australia in managing the national economy will be discussed as well as the relationship between economic growth, environmental sustainability, productivity and innovation. What exactly is the role of government in each of these areas?

See related courses: Beginner’s guide to microeconomics for the public sector and Beginner’s guide to economics for the public sector.

This course will run as an online and distance program in 2021. It is scheduled to run for two and a bit weeks 15 March - 30 March 2021 with a course orientation / meet and greet on 1 March. Specific dates and times to note in you diary are as follows:

  • 10-11am Monday 1 March 2021 – meet and greet session
  • 2-3:30pm Thursday 18 March 2021
  • 2-3:30pm Thursday 25 March 2021
  • 2-3pm Tuesday 30 March 2021

Note: Dates and times are in Canberra time (AEDT). The calendar invite for each session should automatically adjust to your timezone when you add it to your calendar. You can check at a site like this to be sure.

Contact to find out more.

Course date: 
15–31 March 2021
Online and distance

Before/by 15 February 2021: $1,195

After 15 February 2021. $1,495


$2,195 for enrolment in the Series (saving $195 off the price of purchasing each day separately)

Group discounts available.

Course overview

The challenges facing economies have never been greater: stagnant living standards, weak wages growth, weak investment, weak inflation, rising inequality, rising debt and precarious employment. Then Covid-19 hit. This once-in-100-year pandemic is sending unemployment into the double-digits. Government debt has ballooned as living standards, wages and investment fall even further. Inequality has worsened, businesses have collapsed, household savings have been wiped out.

There has never been a more exciting and more important time to study macroeconomics. If the father of macroeconomics, John Maynard Keynes, was correct that economic extremes lead to political extremes, then economists have limited time within which they can solve these problems before things get worse. There is no shortage of policy prescriptions being recommended, but which are correct?

This course goes back to basics on macroeconomics and builds a framework for thinking about how the economy works, how the financial system works, how labour markets work and how product markets work. It explores the role of government in stabilising the economy and financial system and setting the conditions for long-run growth in living standards. There is no maths. There are no equations. The course is taught as a series of practical case studies, moving from one real world challenge to the next, building our understanding and framework for thinking about the economy as we go.

Whether you work in government, the private sector, not-for-profits or international organisations, a foundational understanding of macroeconomics in the current environment is vital. The course is taught entirely online to make it as accessible as possible, with the primary focus on making the course engaging and interactive. We hope you enjoy it.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for individuals at any level of their career who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of basic economics and its usefulness and application to policy issues. The course is designed for those with no economics background.

Online training: How it works

This is a real-time, date-specific course, in which you will join live classes, engage and connect with experts, other course participants and the Executive Education team. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-course live session. This is an opportunity for you to grab a cuppa and join our meet and greet before the course commences.
  • Practice + Study. Set aside up to 2 hours per day – this time commitment will vary depending on how deeply you choose to engage with the material. It is up to you.
  • Course pack. Each participant will receive a carefully curated workbook, which includes everything you need to guide you through the course.
  • Live sessions with presenter. This is a specified date and time for you to come together with the presenter and other participants to consolidate your learning.
  • Post-course. On completion of the course, you will receive your post-course resources for your reference and further learning.

Why choose online training?

  • No time off work – study and practice when you can.
  • Busy schedule? No problem, you can go at your own pace, join just the live classes, and do the course work whenever suits you best. We know that work and family obligations can be overwhelming. Mix and match the schedule to fit your life.
  • No travel. This is a course right at your fingertips. With no travel expenses, this is a very affordable option for high-level training with world-leading experts.
  • Live interaction with world-leading experts. You’ll have direct access to all the best resources and trainers.
  • Working remotely? With the online and distance format, we welcome participants from around the world to join us.


What if I can’t make a live session? No problem, we understand you are busy. Live sessions are recorded and transcribed for you to catch up in your own time.

What if I’m in a different time zone? All advertised course times are scheduled in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) otherwise known as GMT+11. Convert for your time zone here.

What if I am not tech savvy? As long as you have access to a phone or computer, you’ll have no problems. This is a low-tech course designed for everyone. If needed our team is here to help – contact us at

What if I have questions? We would love to hear from you. Contact our team at

Course presenter(s)

Dr Adam Triggs

Adam is an economist and the Director of Research at the Asian Bureau of Economic Research at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He is a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Global Economy and Development program.

Adam is widely published in leading economics journals and is a regular contributor to the Australian Financial Review, The Conversation, East Asia Forum, The Monthly, Huffington Post and other Australian and regional publications.

In previous roles, Adam was a resident fellow at Brookings and worked as an economic policy advisor to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer of Australia, the Hon. Andrew Leigh MP, and is a former advisor at Prime Minister and Cabinet on the global economy and the G20. He is a former consultant at the Cape York Institute and a former mergers and acquisitions analyst at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in law, a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in international economics and a PhD in macroeconomics.

Updated:  25 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team