Beginner's guide to economics for the public sector series

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


Course participants will develop an understanding of the key insights from economics and how they can be applied in policy and government settings.

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

This course will run as an online and distance program in 2023. It is scheduled to run for four and a half weeks 10 May - 13 June 2023 with a course orientation / meet and greet on 10 May. Specific dates and times to note in you diary are as follows:

  • 3-4pm Wednesday 10 May 2023 – meet and greet session
  • 3-4pm Wednesday 17 May 2023
  • 3-4pm Friday 19 May 2023
  • 3-4pm Wednesday 24 May 2023
  • 3-4pm Friday 26 May 2023
  • 2-3:30pm Thursday 1 June 2023
  • 2-3:30pm Thursday 8 June 2023
  • 2-3pm Tuesday 13 June 2023

Note: Dates and times are in Canberra time (AEST). 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: 
10 May – 13 June 2023
Online and distance

Before/by 10 April 2023: $2,195

After 10 April 2023: $2,495

OR $1,195 per day: Beginner’s guide to microeconomics for the public sector and Beginner’s guide to macroeconomics for the public sector.

Group discounts available.

Course overview

Beginner’s guide to microeconomics for the public sector (Weeks 1-2)

Microeconomics analyses the behaviour of individual consumers, households and firms. It provides a framework for understanding decision-making by all of these agents in the economy. It examines motivations, incentives and decision-making processes. While its direct relevance to businesses is well understood, the insights and solutions that can be gained from microeconomics are equally important for the public sector. Successful policy design and implementation is greatly facilitated by a solid understanding of the responses and reactions of those influenced by policy.

This course takes you through basic concepts of microeconomics, including trade-offs, opportunity cost, supply and demand, taxes and subsidies, public goods, externalities and market failure. Competition, monopolies and regulation will also be examined. The course uses case studies, and competing viewpoints will be explored.

If you have ever wondered what economists really mean when they talk about key microeconomic concepts, this course is for you.

Beginner’s guide to macroeconomics for the public sector (Weeks 3-5)

Participants will develop an understanding of the relationship between government, the macro-economy and well-being. Participants will understand the basic concepts of macroeconomics including: economic output, productivity, growth, inflation, foreign investment, international trade and exchange rates. Participants will gain an understanding of a wide-range of aggregate economic statistics used by government and media.

Participants will learn about the role of key institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Australia in managing the national economy. Participants will learn about the role of the government in the macro-economy and develop an understanding of how to think about key policy issues such as: Should Australia be worried about deficit and debt? Can the government create more innovation and productivity? Can the government prevent economic crises?

Participants will learn about key concepts and statistics relating to the global economy including net foreign investment, the current account balance and exchange rate theory and purchasing power parity.

Students will learn:

  • Key insights from microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Supply and demand
  • The role of markets and the importance of prices
  • Market failure and policy responses
  • The application of key insights to government and policy-making

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 from 2nd October 2022 to 1st April 2023 are scheduled in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) otherwise known as GMT+11. From 2nd April 2023 scheduled times are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) or GMT+10. 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

Dr Adam Triggs is the senior manager in the Canberra office of the economics consulting firm, Alphabeta, and is a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. He holds bachelors degrees in law and economics, a masters degree in international economics and a PhD in economics from the Australian National University.​

Prof Paul Burke

Paul Burke is a Professor and Head of the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. His research is in energy and environmental economics, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.

Paul has published in journals including the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Economic Inquiry, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Energy, and Global Environmental Change. His ongoing research topics include electric vehicle adoption, residential electrification, small hydropower in Indonesia, and tax reform in Australia.

Updated:  22 March 2023/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team