Beginner's guide to microeconomics for the public sector

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course


This course is designed to give economic beginners an introduction to key microeconomic principles. Microeconomics focuses on the decision-making of consumers, households and firms. Basic economic models of decision-making behaviour are introduced. The key insights that flow from these models are explored and developed. The role of markets and prices and the limitations of markets are explored. The role of government and the interaction between government and markets are key themes. The usefulness of economic models for successful policy design and implementation is highlighted throughout the course.

Course date: 
9.30am–4.30pm 25 July 2018
#132, Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU

$1,350 GST incl; Group discounts applicable.

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We’ll contact you to confirm your enrolment. Invoices are raised post-course to cater for any changes or cancellations prior to the course date. If you would like an invoice prior to the course, please let us know when you send through the registration form to

For further enquiries, please email us or call 02 6125 2154.

Important information about your enrolment

All full day subscription courses are $1,350 (GST incl) unless otherwise specified. Maximum class size is 22 participants. Full day courses run from 9.30am - 4.30pm.

Group discounts are available for bulk registrations of 3 or more participants. To receive the group discount, registrations must include full details of all participants attending.

Cancellations or changes to course registrations should be provided in writing to at the earliest opportunity. Substitutions of registrants or shifting to other courses is permissible but subject to approval and may incur a cost.

Please view our Cancellation Policy for further information.

Course overview

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 one-day course takes you through all the basic concepts of microeconomics including: trade-offs; marginal analysis; incentives; cost-benefit analysis; opportunity cost; market efficiency, inefficiency and failure; firm behaviour. The course uses role plays and case studies. Competing viewpoints will be presented.

The role of government, competition, monopolies and regulation, and state versus market decisions will also be explored in the course.

If you have ever wondered about what economists really mean when they talk about opportunity costs, externalities, comparative advantage and public goods, this course is for you.

This course is paired with a beginner’s course in macroeconomics. Because they are inter-related, it is recommended you attend both courses.

Course convenor

Professor Robert Breunig

Robert Breunig is Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. Professor Breunig is a highly respected academic with a strong research record and over 50 published journal articles. He has received funding from many grant programs including the Australian Research Council and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Professor Breunig’s recent research has examined the role of childcare subsidies in helping improve women’s work opportunities; an examination of the effect of immigration to Australia on the wages and working conditions of Australian citizens; an examination of spillovers in firm-level research and development expenditure and their role in innovation; and a study of the relative influences of inequality and severe poverty on economic growth around the world over the last 50 years.

Professor Breunig’s research agenda has led to many partnerships with government organisations in Australia and overseas. He is currently working with several agencies including the Department of Employment, the Australian Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office and the Productivity Commission.
Professor Breunig particularly enjoys interaction outside of typical academic circles and takes pleasure in helping those who don’t usually use economics or statistical analysis to better understand and make use of these tools in their work. He has an extensive track record of helping the public service to build research capacity which he views as a particularly important activity.

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team