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BSB113 Economics Semester 2 2020
Assessment 2: Research essay
Submission date
Tuesday 22nd September
Research essay requirements
• This assessment has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive of in-text citations).
• The essay is to be submitted through SafeAssign via the BSB113 blackboard website (see BB assessment 2 folder for detail). You are advised to keep a copy of your work for your own records.
• The assessment should be submitted as a WORD document or PDF. Please note that other file formats may not be able to be opened and will be assumed to be a non-submission.
• It is your responsibility to check that the document has uploaded to SafeAssign and that it is the correct document. If you need help on how to check contact IT support (do not contact your tutor or UC).
• Work that has been submitted for assessment in BSB113 in previous semesters cannot be resubmitted for assessment. If identified, re-submitted work from previous semesters will be treated as plagiarism.
• QUT exercises zero tolerance on late submissions without an approved extension.
• If special circumstances prevent you from meeting the assessment due date, you can apply for an extension. If you do not have an approved extension prior to the submission date, you should submit the work you have completed by the due date and it will be marked against the assessment criteria.
• You will NOT be able to view your plagiarism report. Refer to the FAQs in the supporting assessment document (BB assessment 2 folder) as to why.
• We strongly recommend that prior to submission you ensure that you have read ALL the related assessment documents.
• Your essay will be marked against the published CRA for this assessment (provided at the end of the Assessment Documentation).
• You are strongly recommended to keep a portfolio of your reading, notes made and all essay drafts. This will help you establish the originality of your work, should you need to.
Scope of research essay
Contact tracing apps were presented to the public as an important tool in fighting the spread of COVID19 (University of Oxford, 2020). In Australia, the COVIDSafe app (Department of Health, 2020) was launched by the Australian Federal Government and Chief Medical Officer (Prime Minister of Australia, 2020). The public were encouraged to download and use the app. However, the target of 40% download target was not achieved (Meixner, 2020).
A search of the media and academic literature presents many theories/hypothesises as to why this is the case. These range from a lack of understanding of the data that was being collected, how collected data was to be stored, data protection issues, concerns about privacy breaches, along with more day to day pragmatic issues including concerns that the app would drain phone batteries quickly and to up-take (or not) reflecting political allegiances. For example, see Lee et al. (2020) and Thomas et al. (2020).
In the absence of a vaccine, given the economic impact of border controls and lock downs, the current Chief Health Minister for Queensland is interested in understanding if the COVIDSafe app (or equivalent) could be successfully resurrected as part of a range of tools for managing [controlling/mitigating/supressing] community transmission.
From an economics perspective it is no surprise that the app failed to achieve its targets. The purpose of this research essay is to explore the economics behind the uptake of the COVIDSafe app and potential policy solutions (Hawkins and Freyens (2020), Holden (2020) and Volk, (2020)).
The current Chief Health Minister for Queensland has asked you to summarise the economics perceptive in an essay format which includes the following:
1. An overview of the rationale behind the COVIDSafe app and data on its uptake. (International comparisons are encouraged).
2. Presentation of (inclusive of a supporting explanation) an economic model that identifies the optimal uptake of the COVIDSafe app and the actual (suboptimal) uptake of the COVIDSafe app.
3. Investigation of the following TWO economic policies and a critical analysis of how they could potentially increase up take of the relaunch of COVIDSafe app (or equivalent):
a. Monetary incentive
b. Behavioural economics approach (non-monetary incentive)
You are required to support your economic analysis with appropriate data and economic models (partial equilibrium analysis) which you use to examine how the policy achieves the desired outcome. A brief summary of the potential economic effects (costs and benefits) of each of the above policies is required. However, it is appreciated that a full analysis of effects of these policy solutions is beyond the scope of this work.
Recommended reading
The readings presented below are not an exhaustive list of references. You are encouraged to also search for appropriate sources to support your critical analysis (refer to the CRA).
Department of Health (2020, Aug 16). COVIDSafe app. Retrieved
Hawkins, J. and Freyens, B. (2020, April 30). Contact tracing apps: a behavioural economist’s guide to improving uptake. Retrieved from
Holden, R. (2020, April 24). Vital Signs: Modelling tells us the coronavirus app will need a big take-up, economics tells us how to get it.
Lee, J. Sneddon, J. and Gerrans, P. (2020, May 27) COVID-19: COVIDSafe downloads may be more about understanding people than about the design of processes. Retrieved
Meixner, S. (2020, June 2). How many people have downloaded the COVIDSafe app and how central has it been to Australias coronavirus response? ABC News. Retrieved from
Prime Minister of Australia (2020, April 26). COVIDSafe: New app to slow the spread of coronavirus. Retrieved
Thomas, R., Michaleff, Z., Greenwood, H., Abukmail, E., & Glasziou, P. (2020). More than privacy: Australians concerns and misconceptions about the COVIDSafe App. medRxiv, 2020.2006.2009.20126110.
Volk, S. (2020, April 23). Coronavirus contact-tracing apps: most of us won’t cooperate unless everyone does.
University of Oxford (2020, April 16th). Digital contact tracing can slow or even stop coronavirus transmission and ease us out of lockdown. Retrieved

General guidance notes
You are required to present your response to the current Chief Health Minister for Queensland in an essay format.
It is recommended that you approach the problem as follows:
The context (Task 1 relates to CRA 1)
In economics we generally start by framing the problem. We also refer to this as setting the context. In this part of your essay (Task 1), you need to articulate what the issue is. This is not simply a case of stating “I think it is a problem because …”. You need to present an informed context which is supported by peer reviewed published research (not the Courier Mail). In setting the context, you should also include details of the social costs associated with the problem (in dollar values). Data should be from reputable sources. The case that you make in this section provides the basis for economic policy solutions you will present in part 3.
Economic theory (Task 2 relates to CRA 2)
You will need to present the correct theoretical economic model and explain it using appropriate economic terminology (Task 2). It is no secret that this is about the theory of externalities. You will need to present a robust diagrammatic exposition of the correct economic theory of externalities, identifying the theoretical market and efficient equilibrium and deadweight loss aligned to the problem you have identified in part 1.
The critical analysis (Task 3 relates to CRA 3)
In Task 3, potential policy solutions are critically analysed from an economic perspective. Your analysis should be framed with reference to the economic theory presented in Task 2. You have been presented with two policy options and need to examine both of these. The objective of the policy is to improve the outcome. The trick, for you and what you are being assessed on is how. You need to work out how each policy you are considering shifts from the current equilibrium to a new equilibrium (in normal - speak improves up take of the app).
The key to this part of the essay is to keep it simple. Give an overview of each policy, detail how it will work to address the issue under consideration (yes this does mean potentially more diagrams) and give a brief summary of the potential strengths and limitations of that policy approach based on what you find from the research literature. In a policy context, the benefits should be greater than the costs (note this refers to economic cost not financial costs). Note, you are not required to say that one policy is better than another.
A key feature of economic analysis is that it is objective. Whilst this work has been commissioned by a particular stakeholder, it should be an unbiased and informed critical economic analysis and not a political document. No particular policy solution should be given a greater or lesser weight because you think this may have more sway with the audience you are writing for.
In summary:
• clearly frame the “problem” by setting the context
• use an appropriate economic theory to show how economists view this problem
• write an unbiased and informed critical economic analysis and not a political document. Do not get drawn into reporting emotive arguments (interesting as they are).
• be academically rigorous, ensuring that your analysis is underpinned by references to peer reviewed academic literature
Your audience’s background knowledge in economics
Assume that your audience has an understanding of economic theory and terminology, up to the level of BSB113. Assume that they are regularly exposed to documents drafted by economists and follow contemporary economic analysis in the media. For example, they read The Economist, and take a keen interest in economic articles published by economists for a wider audience in The Conversation (online) and Australian Policy Online.
Researching for your research essay (relates to CRA 4)
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. To begin your research, start with the recommended reading provided in this document. 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).
All sources cited in your essay must be referenced using APA style. For further information refer to Cite|Write
If in doubt about how to cite and reference a source, please seek help from the subject librarian.
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 organisation’s 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 nonscholarly 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)).
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.
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 ( has some excellent advice on how to read (fast) and digest research papers.
Maximum word length
Your research essay has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive of in-text citations).
Your 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). Note that your essay should include both an introduction and conclusion (but do not overdo the introduction or conclusion as that means fewer words for the important bits).
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, 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).
• 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.
Late submission
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 do not 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.
Helpful advice on writing your research essay (relates to CRA 5)
Your writing style needs to be clear and efficient (after all you only have 1400 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.
Vessel ownership was also a significant factor affecting efficiency. In general, vessels belonging to larger companies were more efficient than those belonging to smaller companies, which in turn were more efficient than owner-operators. This may reflect the greater level of information sharing that can occur within a larger company fleet, but may also reflect fleet management skills, with the larger companies having better fleet managers. Alternatively, the larger companies may be able to attract and keep the better skippers and crew.
35% 1995-2000
0.6 0.60-0.65 0.65-0.70 0.70-0.75 0.75-0.80 0.80-0.85 0.85-0.90
Technical efficiency
Figure 1. Among-vessel distribution of technical efficiency scores
Although the decline in boat numbers between 1995 and 2007 may have had a negative impact on technical efficiency, the removal of older vessels through buyback and consolidation, and replacement of some older vessels by newer vessels resulted in a net increase in average technical efficiency in the fishery. The mean technical efficiency in 2007 was 0.793, compared to a mean technical efficiency score of 0.736 over the period 1995-2000. Although the mean efficiency scores appear to differ only marginally, the distribution of scores shifted to the right (Figure 1), with a higher proportion of vessels having high technical efficiency scores (i.e. = 0.8).
Pascoe, S., Punt, A., Coglan, L. and Dichmont, C. (forthcoming 2012). Impacts of vessel capacity
reduction programs on efficiency in fisheries: The case of Australia’s multispecies northern prawn fishery. Journal of Agriculture Economics. 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) to reflect the information that is relevant to your analysis.
Further support for Assessment 2
Support for this assessment item includes:
• 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:
• Student support 4S link in BB
• Information of other generic skills workshops can be found at
• Student Learning Advisors o
• Study smart o
Criterion Reference Assessment for Assessment Item 2: research essay
7 6 5 4 4
ht 100% ?? 85% 84% ?? 75% 74% ?? 65% 65% ?? 50% 49% ?? 0%
Set the context with reference to appropriate data sources and policy. Data has been appropriately presented and explained.
(KS 1.2) 15% A clear and complete account is given which is well-informed by supporting data and policy. Data are appropriately presented (e.g. in tables or graphs) and their relevance and meaning have been clearly and concisely explained. A complete outline is given which is informed by supporting data and policy. Data are appropriately presented (e.g. in tables or graphs) and their relevance and meaning have been explained. An outline is given which is informed by supporting data and policy. Data are presented appropriately (e.g. in tables, graphs etc.) but their relevance and meaning are not always clear and/or they are causally referred to. The outline is given. The policy context is incomplete. The relevant supporting data are incomplete. Data that are presented are relevant but presentation could be improved. Data are only occasionally referred to. Either there is NO outline AND/OR the policy and relevant supporting data are incorrect or omitted. Data are poorly presented. Data are not referred to.
Presented and described the appropriate economic theory, model and/or framework. (KS 1.1) 25% There is a clear, concise and accurate description of the relevant economic theories and/or models. There is a description of the relevant economic theories and/or models. The relevant economic theories and/or models are identified. There may be some minor errors. The relevant economic theories and/or models are incomplete There are a few errors. The relevant economic theories and/or models are incorrect or omitted. There is a large number of errors/inconsistencies.
Presented an analysis of the potential economic issues. (HO 2.1)
40% An excellent critical analysis of a range of economic issues which is underpinned by economic theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence An analysis of a range of economic issues under pinned by economic theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence An analysis of some of the economic issues with evidence of some reference to theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence. An overview of a limited set of potential economic issues Limited reference to theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence. There is a very limited OR no identification of any potential economic issues AND/OR there is very limited or no reference to theory AND/OR relevant supporting evidence
Used a range of relevant scholarly sources to support content and arguments. (PC 3.1) 10% Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support content and arguments AND a selection of additional relevant scholarly sources that substantially supports the critical content of the discussion. Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support arguments and discussion AND a limited range of relevant scholarly sources that supports the critical content of the discussion. Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support arguments and discussion. There are no additional references OR additional references are from non-scholarly sources. Limited evidence of incorporating recommended readings to support arguments and discussion. There are no additional references OR additional references are from nonscholarly sources. Very limited evidence of having read the recommended readings AND/OR any additional references use are irrelevant AND/ OR from non-scholarly sources.
Presented an appropriately written academic document which consistently adhered to APA style conventions for references.
(PC 3.1) 10% An excellent standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear, concise and objective. The structure of the essay is logical. All sources are consistently and accurately reference
(both in-text citation and in the reference list) A good standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear, concise and objective. The structure of the essay is logical. There is a high level of accuracy in referencing (both intext citations and reference list) for all sources used. A competent standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear but sometimes lacks objectivity. The structure mostly follows a logical sequence. There are a few minor inaccuracies in the referencing of sources (both intext citations and reference list). The standard of academic writing could be improved. The writing style is reasonably clear but lacks objectivity. The structure could be improved. There are a number of inaccuracies in the referencing of sources (both in-text citations and reference list) The standard of academic writing is poor. The writing style is unclear and confusing. The structure presented is not logical. There may be evidence of plagiarism OR lack of acknowledgement of sources AND/OR
referencing is largely inaccurate AND/OR inconsistent.
Your notes on assessment 2

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