Economy, Society, and Public Policy


Economy, Society, and Public Policy







18 Sep 2019




$83.95 AUD

$97.99 NZD

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Economy, Society, and Public Policy is a new way to learn economics. It is designed specifically for students studying social sciences, public policy, business studies, engineering and other disciplines who want to understand how the economy works and how it can be made to work better. Topical policy problems are used to motivate learning of key concepts and methods of economics.

It engages, challenges and empowers students, and will provide them with the tools to articulate reasoned views on pressing policy problems. This project is the result of a worldwide collaboration between researchers, educators, and students who are committed to bringing the socially relevant insights of economics to a broader audience.


  • ESPP does not teach microeconomics as a body of knowledge separate from macroeconomics
  • Students begin their study of economics by understanding that the economy is situated within society and the biosphere
  • Students study problems of identifying causation, not just correlation, through the use of natural experiments, lab experiments, and other quantitative methods
  • Social interactions, modelled using simple game theory, and incomplete information, modelled using a series of principal-agent problems, are introduced from the beginning. As a result, phenomena studied by the other social sciences such as social norms and the exercise of power play a role
  • The insights of diverse schools of thought, from Marx and the classical economists to Hayek and Schumpeter, play an integral part in the book
  • The way economists think about public policy is central to ESPP. This is introduced in Units 2 and 3, rather than later in the course.


1. Capitalism: affluence, inequality, and the environment
2. Social interactions and economic outcomes
3. Public policy for fairness and efficiency
4. Work, wellbeing, and scarcity
5. Institutions, power, and inequality
6. The firm: Employees, managers, and owners
7. Firms and markets for goods and services
8. The labour market: wages, profits, and unemployment
9. The credit market: borrowers, lenders, and the rate of interest
10. Banks, money, housing, and financial assets
11. Market failures and government policy
12. Governments and markets in a democratic society