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.

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.

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