Information on Mid-Semester Exam # 2 (Structured Essay) for ECON1002

Information on Mid-Semester Exam # 2 (Structured Essay) for ECON1002

 Semester 1, 2021


The essay aims to help you develop your research, analytical, and writing skills. These skills are the most important graduate attributes sought by leading employers.  You will need to become adept at finding relevant resources and then organising your thoughts and presenting them in a coherent and convincing way.  Since this is an economics essay, you should apply economic concepts/theories/models/diagrams to the topic and write in a succinct and legible manner.


Date, Time and Structure (Please read this very carefully)


  • You will write an essay, open book on Wednesday May 12 at 6pm.
  • You will be given 120 minutes starting from 6:00pm.
    • 90 minutes to write the essay: in word, double spaced and 12 point font o There is a word limit of maximum 1000 words
    • On one or two pages draw all your graphs, label all your graphs. No explanation on this page. Take a photo of this and insert it into the word processing document
    • 30 minutes to insert graphs into document, convert into a pdf, and upload the essay (one pdf document) via Turnitin.
    • Note that 90 minutes to write and 30 minutes to upload is the recommended time. The exam will close at 8pm sharp. No tests will be accepted via emails and you will have to apply for special consideration if you could not upload and/ encountered technical difficulty.


  • You are encouraged to use relevant theories, diagrams, equations and other aids from lectures to help you clarify your arguments.


Your essay should consist of at least an introduction, main arguments, and a conclusion.  Some apps that you can use to scan the graphs (Links to an external site.)

lens/9wzdncrfj3t8?activetab=pivot:overviewtab (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)





While the specific essay question will only be made available to you at the start of the exam it will be based on the following broad topic:

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted policymakers to enact many fiscal stimulus programs. In the U.S, the Biden administration wants to spend $1.9 trillion to combat the coronavirus and its economic effects. The plan faces criticism on the grounds that spending so much could revive inflation. “This would not be overheating; it would be starting a fire,” Olivier

Blanchard, formerly the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. Lawrence

Summers, a senior figure in each of the previous two Democratic administrations, warned in The Washington Post (February 2021) of “inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.”

What were main causes of the COVID-19 recession in Australia and the U.S? Why is fiscal spending by the Biden administration targeted to combat a pandemic-induced recession expected to lead to inflation? In answering this, clearly understand and explain the transmission mechanism. Would the fiscal spending (via the stimulus programs such as JobKeeper) in Australia also lead to higher inflation? What will be the short-run and long-run impact of the fiscal stimulus program in the U.S. and in Australia?

Basic References for Preparation

  • The textbook and other relevant course readings.
  • Treasury and RBA Discussion Papers, Speeches, Outlook etc.
  • Federal Reserve review articles.
  • The Economist, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, Financial Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, New York Times etc.



Marking Criteria:

  • Was your argument logically developed, thorough, and coherent?
  • Is your argument well-grounded in economic theories/models?
  • Have you addressed the question being asked? That is, have you answered it in a direct, succinct way without including unnecessary or irrelevant information?
  • Is your writing legible, readable and persuasive?
  • Has your essay made use, where relevant, of the tools an economist uses to make an argument clearly (e.g. diagrams, equations, references, statistical and other evidence to support statements and conclusions)?
  • Does your essay demonstrate significant research undertaken?

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can you please check my research before the exam to make sure I am on the right track? No. You are free to discuss your research with your classmates prior to the exam. However, the lecturers or the tutors CANNOT read your draft research material and give feedback. This is because this is an essay written under exam conditions, not a take-home essay
  2. Do I need to provide proper referencing? Since this is an essay written under exam conditions, we do not expect detailed referencing. Some referencing is also useful to demonstrate the research you have done. So if you quote or paraphrase someone please provide a brief reference in the text, e.g. “(name, year)” or (“source, year)”.
  3. Do I have to reference graphs that I studied in class? No. The graphs that you add are hand-drawn graphs related to models discussed in the course and for them no referencing is required.
  4. Can I just answer the essay question in the exam based on what I prepared? No. The specific essay question will only be made available to you at the start of the exam and it will based on the topic given in the document. So please don’t just answer questions related to the broad topic, but make sure that during the exam that you answer the specific questions being asked to score well in the test. You are expected to write the exam using your own words and properly quote and attribute anything from another source.