ECONOMIC ISSUE

BSB113 Economics Semester 2 2015 Assessment 2: Research essay Submission date Thursday 24 September 12 noon THROUGH SafeAssign VIA THE BSB113 BLACKBOARD WEBSITE SEE BB ASSESSMENT 2 FOLDER FOR DETAIL Please note that you are only required to submit an e-copy of your work through SafeAssign via the BSB113 Blackboard website. This document contains important information about your assessment. You will need to read it carefully to understand what is required. In addition to reading this document you are strongly advised to read the “Frequently asked Questions about Assessment 2” document (refer to the Assessment 2 folder on Blackboard). 2 Table of Contents Background…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3 Research task……………………………………………………………………………………………………….5 Instructions for research essay ………………………………………………………………………………..7 Your audience’s background knowledge in economics …………………………………………….7 Informed critical content ………………………………………………………………………………………7 Maximum word length …………………………………………………………………………………………7 Presentation and submission………………………………………………………………………………..7 Researching for your research essay …………………………………………………………………….8 Reading hints and tips …………………………………………………………………………………………9 Helpful advice on writing your research essay…………………………………………………………9 Further support for Assessment 2 ……………………………………………………………………….10 Criterion Reference Assessment for Assessment Item 2: research essay …………………11 3 Background You are on work experience at GlaxoSmithKline who manufacture (among other things) the Priorix vaccine which immunises against measles, mumps and rubella. Over a morning tea break a discussion begins about immunisation policy in Australia. The discussion focuses around recent proposed changes to government policy to increase immunisation rates in Australia. In most developed countries children are routinely immunised against major diseases. The medical benefits of immunisation are well documented. Firstly, it makes the vaccinated individual either immune or resistant to a disease. Secondly, it reduces potential contagion by non-immunised individuals (Vaccination rates: herd at risk, 2012). The later benefit is referred to as community or herd immunity. Herd immunity requires that a critical proportion if the community is immunised. Immunisation is not compulsory in Australia and overall childhood vaccination rates are high. However, under current legislation, child care benefit, child care rebate and family tax benefit end of year supplement are conditional on meeting the immunisation requirement for children of all ages1 . However, parents can object to vaccination and still receive these benefits. Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the percentage of children not immunised from 0.94% in 2005 to 1.77% in 2014, as a result of parents lodging a conscientious objections to childhood vaccination. Recently, the government announced that from 2016 (subject to the passage of legislation) families who object to vaccination will no longer be exempt from the immunisation requirement (Department of Social Services, 2015). Tony Abbot referred to this as the “no jab, no pay policy” (McNair, 2015). This policy was underpinned by recommendations in the McClure Review (Department of Social Services, 2015, Aug 13) and Productivity Commission report on child care and early learning (Productivity Commission, 2015). The policy also seeks to address increasing health care professionals and community concerns at a number of measles outbreaks in major cities (including Brisbane) (Withey, 2015), which have been attributed to, in some cases, parents opting not to vaccinate their children (Butt, 2015). There was some disquiet amongst your colleagues as to the proposed policy and they felt that this policy was an example of using “economics” to justify parents not being allowed to have freedom of decision making over their children’s health, through use of a financial penalty. Some felt it was simply a way for the government to save money. To be diplomatic, you say that economics is to blame to a point. Given that not all the benefits of immunisation are fully realised by the individual being immunised, economic theory can be used to demonstrate that effective community immunisation coverage is dependent upon government policy. (You remember that your lecturer in BSB113 had used a partial equilibrium framework to demonstrate how a positive externality in consumption led to an inefficient equilibrium. The lecturer demonstrated how government policy could be used to move the market back to a socially efficient level of consumption). Confident of your understanding of the economics, you say that government subsidies can be very effective at changing behaviour. However, you also remember that there are alternative ways to shift the demand curve back to the socially efficient level and ease the growing tension in the room by saying that there could be more alternative polices that are as effective in increasing immunisation rates, that do not deny families their Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Family Tax Benefit. References Butt, C. (2015, July 14). Unvaccinated travellers and children drive measles cases to record high in 2014. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/unvaccinated-travellers-andchildren-drive-measles-cases-to-record-high-in-2014-20150612-ghmyws.html Department of Health (2015, 26 May). ACIR – National Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data. Retrieved from http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/acir-consobject-hist.htm Department of Social Services. (2015). A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes – Interim Report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform to the Minister for Social Services. Retrieved from 1 Except children under 12 months for FTB Part A. 4 https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/02_2015/dss001_14_exec_summary_access_2_fina l_0.pdf Department of Social Services (2015, 13 August). Families and children. Retrieved from https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/strengtheningimmunisation-for-young-children/immunisation-requirements-for-government-payments McNair, B. (2015, April 15). Immunisation, the media and the amplification of irrational anxiety. The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/immunisation-the-media-and-the-amplificationof-irrational-anxiety-40054 Productivity Commission (2015) Childcare and Early Childhood Learning. Retrieved from http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/childcare/report Vaccination rates: herd at risk. (2012, May 5). The Economist. Retrieved from www.economist.com/node/21554252 Withey, A. ( 2015, 20th August). Five measles cases confirmed at University of Queensland at St Lucia on Brisbane’s west side. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/five-measlescases-confirmed-at-uq-st-lucia/6714114 5 Research task Your musings were overheard by the CEO. The CEO was impressed by your insights and has asked that you write a critical overview of the changes to the government’s immunisation incentive scheme in Australia from an economics perspective. You email your unit coordinator for Economics desperate for some help. Louisa suggests breaking your report down as follows: 1. A brief overview of immunisation rates in Australia AND the current and proposed changes to policy that links Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Family Tax Benefit to immunisation in Australia. Hint: As an economist, we generally start by framing the problem. We also refer to this as setting the context. In this part of your essay, you need to clearly articulate what the issue is from a societal perspective. This is not simply a case of stating “I think it is a problem because …”. You need to present and interpret data on immunisation rates and note key policies that have attempted to increase immunisation rates. 2. A description of the relevant economic theory to show how the policy that increases immunisation rates could result in a socially efficient level of immunisation rates. Hint: So what is the economic theory that underpins your economic analysis? We have been pretty focused on developing one key theory so far this semester. Remember that “X” marks the spot! In this case it is under consumption of a good that is potentially leading to a socially inefficient outcome. To correct for that, you can use an economic theory to demonstrate how increasing immunisation rates will move the market to a socially efficient level of consumption. And yes — you will be expected to include a relevant graph of the economic theory! 3. A critical analysis, informed by research, as to whether the proposed government intervention will be effective in correcting the market failure and result in an efficient level of immunisation in the community. Hint: You are working with a word limit so you will need to be selective and concise with your arguments. Again, your analysis needs to be objective, we expect you to draw on appropriate academic literature and/or present empirical evidence to support your arguments about either the limitation of the proposed policy and suggest alternative policies that may be more effective or appropriate. To keep it manageable, Louisa has suggested your critical analysis should include: • a brief discussion on the potential limitations of the policy in addressing issues that affect immunisation rates — e.g. asymmetric information, equality of access, etc. • ONE policy alternative that research shows can increase immunisation rates In your essay keep it simple — give an overview of how the policy will work and a summary of the potential strengths and weaknesses of that policy. Note, you are not required to say that the alternative policy is better than what has been proposed by the government — simply that it addresses the problem in a different way. Louisa also recommends that: • you write an unbiased informed critical economic essay and not a political document • your essay is academically rigorous with references to relevant data and academic literature • you do not get drawn into reporting emotive arguments (interesting as they are). In a panic you contacted your BSB113 unit coordinator (again!) and asked her if she could indicate some relevant reading in the area. Note that there is a list of references provided in the “background” section to 6 this document. In addition, Louisa provides you with a few more below. This is not an exhaustive list of references. You are also expected to research the literature yourself (refer to the Criterion Reference Assessment (CRA)) table at the end of this document) Hemenway, D. (1994). Economics of childhood immunization. Economic Inquiry, 32(3), 519-519. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200910313?accountid=13380 Hull, B. P., Deeks, S. L. McIntyre, P. B. (2009). The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. A model for universal immunisation registers? Vaccine, 27(37): 5054-5060. Leask, J. (2011, May 25). Target the fence-sitters. Nature. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/473443a McCartney, K. (2015, Feb. 27). Forget ‘no jab, no pay’ schemes; there are better ways to boost vaccination. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/forget-no-jab-no-pay-schemes-there-arebetter-ways-to-boost-vaccination-37921 7 Instructions for research essay Your audience’s background knowledge in economics Whilst the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline does not have any formal economics training, he has picked up an understanding of economic theory and terminology. He is regularly exposed to documents drafted by economists and follows contemporary economic analysis in the media. For example, he is a regular reader of publications such as The Economist and takes a keen interest in economic articles published by economists for a wider audience in The Conversation (online) and Australian Policy Online. Informed critical content You are required to include a range of relevant scholarly sources that supports the flow and critical content of the discussion. All sources cited must be referenced using APA style. For further information refer to Cite|Write http://www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/ If in doubt about how to cite and reference a source please seek help from the subject librarian. Maximum word length Your research essay has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1250 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive of in-text citations). A suggested word count breakdown (to get you started) is presented below for the breakdown of the research essay task: 1. introduction …. 100 words 2. setting the context … 200 words. 3. a description of the relevant economic model… 425 words 4. a critical analysis of the key arguments … 425 words 5. conclusion …100 words Note that your report should also include both an introduction and conclusion and should be in proportion to the length of the narrative being written (in other words don’t overdo it in the intro or conclusion as that means less words for the important bits). The above word count is a starting point. Your actual word count for each section will be specific to your individual essay (informed by the weighting in the criteria reference assessment table at the end of this document). Presentation and submission It is expected that you will present your document in the form of a short essay. No appendices are allowed. If appendices are submitted they will be disregarded by the marker. You are advised of the following stylistic requirements: • use font type Arial, font size 10 (minimum) • line spacing should be single or no greater than1.25 • margins should be set at 2.3cm • all diagrams should be reproduced either by hand or imbedded in your document using a draw tool. For example, Paint or the draw tool in Word,2 or Excel. If you draw the diagrams by hand you will need to scan them so they can be incorporated in your SafeAssign submission. Cutting and pasting of diagrams from other documents is not acceptable and will be marked as copying (refer to CRA). 2 See http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/word-help/draw-a-curve-or-circle-shape-HA010208316.aspx?CTT=3#BM14. There are also a lot of good instructions on the internet (including Youtube) on how to construct diagrams using the Draw tool in Word. 8 • all pages should be numbered (bottom footer right hand side) and include your student number (top header, right hand side) • include a title page. This should include your name, student number and tutor’s name. Final submission of your work is through SafeAssign via the BSB113 Blackboard website. You should also keep a copy of your work for your own records. Assessment submitted after the due date without an approved extension will not be marked and will receive a grade of 1 or 0%. If special circumstances prevent you from meeting the assessment due date, you can apply for an extension. If you don’t have an approved extension you should submit the work you have completed by the due date and it will be marked against the assessment criteria. Researching for your research essay Your work should be informed and supported by appropriate literature. Your research (or reading) of this literature informs your analysis, arguments, critique, conclusions etc. Therefore, the quality of your research will directly influence the quality of your work. In academia “appropriate literature” means that you should be principally researching scholarly sources. Examples of scholarly sources include: • Academic journals • University working papers/publications • Government and related departments/organisations reports (e.g. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)) • International economic organisations articles and reports (e.g. OECD, United Nations and World Bank) • Central Bank articles and reports (e.g. Reserve Bank of Australia) Examples of high quality sources of relevant data would include ABS, OECD, World Bank, Government reports etc. A common theme of all of the above published literature is that it is peer reviewed. Peer review is a process that is used to ensure that published work represents the best scholarship currently available (and is also technically correct, not misleading etc.). In contrast, non-peer reviewed literature represents the opinion of the authors with only their guarantee that it is the best work possible. Reliance on non-scholarly sources as part of your research is to be avoided. Examples of non-scholarly sources include: • newspaper reports • magazines articles • non-peer reviewed articles and reports (be careful of private consultation reports, political papers etc.) • subject-based dictionaries and/or glossaries (including Wikipedia) • personal blogs/websites Non-scholarly sources do have a role. As a matter of course you should be informing yourself about contemporary issues by reading a range of non-scholarly sources (e.g. by reading the newspaper). Within non-scholarly sources there is a hierarchy of more acceptable publications that you should engage with. These include good quality newspapers (e.g. The Australian and The Financial Review) and specialist magazines (e.g. The Economist, The Conversation (online)). Similarly, Wikipedia is a great starting point for looking up definitions or getting an overview of a subject. However, using Wikipedia as a key source in your work simply demonstrates that you have failed to engage in the challenging, but rewarding, academic exercise of researching high-quality scholarly resources. 9 Reading hints and tips Is there a “trick” for working your way through the reading list. Fortunately there is. • scanning the documents and locating specific words or phrases that are of interest. Focus on headings and subheadings, the contents page itself and the index for specific words (Top tip: it is easy to search PDF documents for keywords). • when reading, be strategic. Some papers may be useful to support your arguments, other may not. • get some help on how to read research papers. Studywell (http://www.studywell.library.qut.edu.au/) has some excellent advice on how to read (fast) and digest research papers. Helpful advice on writing your research essay Your writing style needs to be clear and efficient (after all you only have 1250 words). Some key advice would be: • remember structure in writing – introduce, discuss and conclude. • use short sentences – long sentences lose the reader. • one argument/idea per paragraph. This assessment is a formal academic piece of writing. The words and language style you use will convey this. Language used should be appropriate. Things to avoid include informal language, shorthand or colloquialisms. A short check list of advice would include: • use “do not” instead “don’t” • use “cannot” instead of “can’t” • write in the third person – avoid using personal pronouns. For example: “Research shows that ….” rather than “I think that …”. Descriptions should be quantified and/or relative to a comparable benchmark. For example: • instead of saying “there was a massive increase in China’s economic growth” you would phrase it as “China’s economic growth, as measured by GDP, increased by X% over the period (include citation of where your evidence came from)”. • instead of saying “GDP in China was better than everyone else’s” you would phrase it “GDP in China increased by X%. In comparison it fell by X% in USA and X% in the UK (include citation of where your evidence came from).” Tables and figures in themselves do nothing to enhance an argument unless they are clear AND explained AND interpreted by you for the reader. When inserting a table or figure into your work it is good practice to give each a number (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1) and title it (the title should describe what the table or figure is presenting) and refer to the table or figure number explicitly in the text. Place the table or figure as near to the paragraph that you are going to discuss it in (either directly above or below). An example is given below in Figure 1. If you have hand drawn your tables and figures attach them to the end of your document. 10 Figure 1. How to present diagrams and tables In your reading, you will come across tables and figures that may be useful in explaining or supporting a point that you want to make in your own work. Try to avoid cutting and pasting from articles and the text book. Relevant tables and figures should be adapted to support your work and referenced. Figures (especially those relating to theory) can be redrawn in Paint or Word (using the draw tool). Similarly, tables of data can be created in Excel and imported into Word (or created in Word using the table tool). Further support for Assessment 2 Support for this assessment item includes: • Lecture 2/ tutorial 2 • Lecture 4/ tutorial 4 • Lecture 7/ tutorial 7 • Consultations with tutors • Supporting documentation (including this document) Please note tutors will be prepared to discuss your approach but will not read drafts. In addition to the above, generic skills support and help can be sought from a range of sources: • 4S workshops o See Blackboard and https://www.library.qut.edu.au/events/ • Student Learning Advisors o http://www.student.qut.edu.au/about/faculties-institutes-anddivisions/faculties/business/study-support/student-learning-advisers • Study smart o http://studysmart.library.qut.edu.au/