An introduction to Indonesia’s economy and policy environment

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Executive program
Policy Essentials


Being posted to Indonesia? Thinking about exporting to or investing in Indonesia, or simply interested in the world’s 10th largest economy and 4th largest population? This is your chance to learn from world experts on the Indonesian economy in a two-day equivalent course.

Founded in 1965 and now the world’s largest research centre on the Indonesian economy outside Indonesia, the Australian National University’s Indonesia Project has trained generations of renowned researchers and policy makers working both within and outside Indonesia. During this short course our experts will help you achieve an in-depth, up-to-date but at the same time big-picture understanding of the Indonesian economy and policy environment.

Course overview

The course will be conducted online to facilitate distance learning and to fit the busy schedule of executives around the world. Our experts are highly experienced at delivering online learning, and the course will be highly interactive. A package of course materials will be provided to you and will be an ongoing source of useful material as you step forward in your work in and interactions with Indonesia.

Course outline

Module 1: Introduction to the Indonesian economy

This module will provide a general and accessible introduction to the Indonesian economy. It will examine and explain the country’s socio-economic performance, the drivers of economic development, structural change, international orientation, and living standards. Episodes in economic development, comparative dimensions, historical context, and key contemporary challenges will also be emphasised.

Learning outcomes:

Gain a broad understanding of the Indonesian economy and its development dynamics.

Module 2: Introduction to the political, historical, and cultural context of Indonesia

This module offers an accessible overview of Indonesia’s history, it’s politics and contemporary culture. It will examine the main political phases since WWII and then explain the features of Indonesia’s current democratic system and the character of the Joko Widodo administration. In addition, it will look at the rapid change within Indonesian society and culture and how these impact on economic behaviour and policy making.

Learning outcomes:

Gain a broad understanding of the political, historical and cultural context within which to think about economic issues in Indonesia.

Module 3: The public sector and economic policy making

This module provides an overview of the public sector in Indonesia, focusing on how policies are designed and implemented at central and local levels. The module pays particular attention to central-local relations and political economy dimensions of decision making.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the structure of public sector in Indonesia
  • Understand policymaking at central and local levels
  • Understand the political economy dimensions of policymaking

Module 4: Trade and investment

This module provides an overview of trade and investment in Indonesia. It consists of three main parts, namely 1) review of relevant theories of trade and investment, 2) review of trade and investment policies from New Order period to Jokowi administration, and 3) analysis and discussion of the emerging and future challenges to trade and investment in Indonesia (with an emphasis on global supply chain and domestic political economy of trade).

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand why open trade and investment policy is important.
  • Understand the dynamics of Indonesia’s trade and investment policies in historical context.
  • Understand the pros and cons of open policies, e.g. the tension between joining the global value chain and protecting domestic industries.

Module 5: Resources and environment

This module provides an overview on the political economy underlying the development of policies for accelerated resource extractions during the New Order period and environmental issues in Indonesia. The module then discusses the impact of environmental activism, decentralisation and democratisation on environmental policy changes. Finally the module describes the state of resource and environmental issues in the country and outlines near future challenges the country face in the areas of resources and environment.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the key issues in resource and environmental management in Indonesia.
  • Understand the political economy underlying policies in the areas of resources and environment.
  • Be able to critically analyse the main resource and environmental issues during the New Order.
  • Be able to communicate some reforms needed in the areas of resources and environment in Indonesia.

Module 6: Labour market

This module discusses important features of the Indonesian labour market, the policy framework government uses to regulate and stimulate the labour market, and the challenges the labour market faces in the current environment.

Learning outcomes:

  • General understanding about what’s unique about Indonesia’s labour force and labour market
  • General understanding about the labour regulations in Indonesia
  • General understanding about the challenges faced by the Indonesian labour force and labour market and possible contributions foreign aid and foreign businesses can make

Module 7: Health system challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic

This module discusses the issues and policy aspects of the health systems in Indonesia with a focus on COVID-19 pandemic responses. The first part of the module discusses the health, nutrition, and epidemiological transitions experienced by Indonesia in recent decades. The second part discusses and assess the building blocks of the Indonesian health system: governance, financing, physical and health workforce and how health services are provided. The third part discusses the country’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcomes of these responses.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the health, nutrition, and epidemiological transitions experienced by Indonesia in recent decades
  • Understand the health system challenges in Indonesia
  • Understand Indonesia’s COVID-19 responses and outcomes

Module 8: Gender issues

This module discusses the legislative and policy frameworks that shape gender relations and the position of women in Indonesia, and the implications for women’s social, political, and economic status and contribution. The first part of the discussions will map the position of women in Indonesia over time, and recent policy developments and debates. The second part of the module explores the implications of those developments and debates, focusing in particular on women’s political representation and women’s economic empowerment. Finally, there will be brief discussion of the gendered impacts of COVID-19.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the key policies and laws relating to gender and women’s status.
  • Understand the challenges in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • Understand the opportunities for achieving greater gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • Knowledge of the gendered impacts of COVID-19.

Course presenter(s)

Hal Hill

Hal Hill is the H.W. Arndt Professor Emeritus of the Southeast Asian Economies. He is the author/editor of 20 books and about 170 journal articles and book chapters on the Southeast Asian economies. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and in 2020 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Greg Fealy

Greg Fealy is a scholar of Indonesian politics and history. He has written extensively on the politics and culture of major Islamic parties and organisations such as Nahdlatul Ulama, PKS and Hizbut Tahrir, as well as jihadist groups. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for services to tertiary education and Australia-Indonesia relations.

Blane Lewis

Blane Lewis is a Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy, the Head of ANU Indonesia Project, and the Lead Editor of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies. His research focuses on issues related to intergovernmental fiscal relations, local public finance, and local political economy in Indonesia. He also worked many years as a policy adviser in Indonesia.

Arianto Patunru

Arianto Patunru joined the ANU Indonesia Project in 2012. He was previously the Head of the Institute for Economic and Social Research in Jakarta while teaching economics at the Department of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia. His main research areas are trade, industry and globalisation.

Budy Resosudarmo

Budy Resosudarmo is Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy who specialises in environment and resource economics. His research focuses on interlinks between natural shocks and environmental condition and local economies, household incomes, human development and the environment, and investigating the political economy of environmental policies and resource utilisation.

Sarah Xue Dong

Sarah Dong joined the ANU Indonesia Project in 2014 and is a Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy. She specialises in labour economics and policy impact evaluation. Her current research projects focus on tax policy, economics of the informal sector, women’s labor market choices and women’s intra-household bargaining power.

Firman Witoelar Kartaadipoetra

Firman Witoelar Kartaadipoetra joined the ANU Indonesia Project in 2018. Previously he was the research director of SurveyMeter, a research organisation based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. His research looks at a broad range of development issues, including health, aging, education, gender, and poverty. He also specialises in survey design and impact evaluation.

Sharon Bessell

Sharon Bessell is a Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, and the Director of the Children’s Policy Centre, and of the Poverty and Inequality Research Centre. In 2019 she was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence.

Sharon’s research interests revolve around issues of social justice and human rights, focusing on two broad areas.

Updated:  29 May 2023/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team