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Unit of study_

ECON6101: Special Topics in Economics 1

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Study of a special topic in postgraduate Economics. Topics will vary from semester to semester according to staff availability and the presence of visitors. If taught in both semesters, the topic in Semester 2 will be different to that in Semester 1.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ECON6101
Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
ECON5001 and ECON5002
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Hugh Harley,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Two-hour open book, comprising 3 essay questions
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam In-class exam (type C)
A 50 minute exam comprising a single essay question.
25% Week 08
Due date: 19 Oct 2020 at 18:00
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Assignment
25% Week 11
Due date: 02 Nov 2020 at 18:00

Closing date: 02 Nov 2020
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and themes 1. Course objectives; 2. The global economy in 1000AD; 3. Key millennium themes and markers Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO6
Week 02 Population, family and disease 1. Overview 1000 years of global population trends 2. Examine the Malthusian thesis and its impacts 3. Kinship as an economic force 4. Projections to 2100 Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Technology, energy, and growth 1. A primer on growth theory 2. Technology milestones over 1500 years 3. Energy vs innovation as drivers of growth Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 04 The corporation and consumer over 1000 years 1. Historical origins of the corporation 2. The role of the corporation in transitioning to global capitalism and explaining divergence 3. The long-run interplay between corporation and consumer Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Capitalism and competition - the long view 1. What do we mean by capitalism and competition? 2. The emergence of capitalism and links to the industrial revolution 3. Modern, global capitalism in the 21st century Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Money, finance and risk 1. Eastern and Western paths to banking 2. Crises, risk, and finance since the early modern era 3. Developments and outlook since WWII Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 China, Japan and SE Asia 1. China - Song Dynasty to mid-C19 2. China - C19 to today 3. Brief observations on Japan and SE Asia Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Week 09 India, Africa, and the Middle East 1. India up to until 1765 2. India: 1765 to present 3. Brief observations on Africa and Middle East Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 10 Europe - east and west since 1815 1. Pax Britannia and European development, 1815 to 1914 2. An overview of Russia economic history since 1861 3. The EU after 1945 and the impact of Brexit Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 11 The Americas since 1492 1. The Americas: 1492 to 1865 2. The Modern US Economy 3. Technology, media and the future Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 12 Australian economic history 1. Indigenous Australian economies pre- and post-1788 2. Key drivers of Australian economic growth in global context 3. Impact of recent developments on the future Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Reflections on the future 1. Summarise key themes and their link to the future 2. The future of economies - opportunities and threats 3. Implcations for the tools of economic analysis Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library Reserve, available on Canvas.  The lecturer can provide further assistance if required.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Have a broad understanding of the long sweep of global economic history
  • LO2. Set current global economic issues in historical context and be able to discuss potential future developments in that context
  • LO3. Have an understanding of core economic theory principles
  • LO4. Consider both western and non-western perspectives on development
  • LO5. Understand Australian economic history in a global context
  • LO6. Manage, analyse, evaluate and use research materials efficiently and effectively.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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