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Unit of study_

ECOS3023: Personnel Economics

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Personnel economics deals with the analysis of human resource issues within organisations. Throughout the unit of study, students will be introduced to economic concepts and analytical tools that provide a rigorous framework with which to analyse these relationships. Topics covered include recruitment and hiring decisions; turnover of staff; remuneration and motivation schemes designed to enhance productivity; and, the analysis of team production within the modern business organisation. Empirical studies that test theoretical predictions will also be considered throughout the unit.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ECOS3023
Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
ECOS2001 or ECOS2901
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Marian Vidal-Fernandez,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Tutorial quiz Online quizzes
Online quizzes
15% Multiple weeks 30-45 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Online task Class participation
Written or oral participation
5% Ongoing In-class participation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Peer review of presentations
5 peer reviews
10% Week 13 20 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation Group presentation
Present a paper.
20% Week 13
Due date: 08 Nov 2021 at 14:00
15 minutes presentation plus 10 discuss
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Online quizzes: There are three online quizzes set over the course of the semester. Each online quiz will be conducted via the LMS Canvas site. You will have two attempts per quiz. Only the scores for your two best online quizzes will count towards the final grade. Thus, each of your two best quizzes counts for 5% of the total grade.
  • Group presentation & individual reflection: Students will form (or be allocated) to groups of 4 (min 3, max 5) and will work towards and make a presentation. Topic and assigned week will be randomly allocated to each group.
  • Midsemester exam: A one hour exam during class time, covering material covered in the previous weeks, inclusive of the required readings. The exam will consist of True/False, Multiple Choice, short answer explanation questions and mathematical problem questions similar to those discussed in class. Results and feedback will be provided, and you will have the opportunity to see your exam paper.
  • Final exam: This will be a 2 hour exam during the formal exam period, covering all topics covered in the unit. The exam will consist of True/False,Multiple Choice, short answer questions, mathematical problem questions and one longer answer question. Knowledge of the key findings and results of journal articles discussed in class will be assumed.

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: management practices and productivity Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 Optimal financial incentives I Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 Optimal financial incentives II Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Risk aversion and selection Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Multitasking and perverse incentives Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 Working in teams; social preferences Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 08 Intrinsic motivation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 Performance measurement and appraisals Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 Tournaments - relative performance and promotions Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 11 Incentivising across the hierarchy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 Training Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 TBC: Benefits and review Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: students 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 which 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

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library, available on Canvas.

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. understand the challenges faced by managers within organisations in regards to personnel issues and to develop the skills required to analyse human resource practices using rigorous economic models
  • LO2. apply economic concepts to examine real world problems from the perspective of a manager within an organisation
  • LO3. develop problem solving skills that can be applied to personnel issues within an organisation
  • LO4. critically evaluate the assumptions and limitations of the theories and arguments presented in class
  • LO5. develop written and oral communication skills
  • LO6. apply technologies effectively in gathering information from written, oral, and electronic sources
  • LO7. manage, analyse, evaluate and use information efficiently and effectively
  • LO8. develop a coherent argument and justify the conclusions reached by reference to research

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.


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