University of Melbourne
Department of Economics
ECON10003 Introductory Macroeconomics
Semester 2, 2015
Assignment 1
In this assignment, you will be asked to consider two questions. The assignment is worth 10% of your overall mark for this subject.
These questions are designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of both national accounts and the economic indicators which professional economists working for banks, stockbroking firms, the public service and the media refer to and use on a daily basis.  It is a research assignment with a very practical relevance.
The assignment is due by 4pm, Wednesday August 19.
Using the Assignment Tool
You MUST submit your assignment in electronic format to the FBE Student Centre via the Assignment Submission Tool. You can access the Assignment Submission Tool by clicking on Assignment Tool in the navigation menu from the LMS page for this subject.
Please note that you will be required to submit these in electronic form via the assignment submission system by 4pm on the due date. The following details are very important:
•    It is important that you keep a copy of your assignment
•    Plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will result in discipline proceedings being brought against you.
•    Do not email your assignment to your tutor.
Plagiarism and Collusion
Presenting material from other sources without full acknowledgement (referred to as plagiarism) is heavily penalised. Penalties for plagiarism can include a mark of zero for the piece of assessment or a fail grade for the subject.
Plagiarism is the presentation by a student of an assignment identified as his or her own work even though it has been copied in whole or in part from another student’s work, or from any other source (eg. published books, web-based materials or periodicals), without due acknowledgement in the text.
Collusion is the presentation by a student of an assignment as his or her own work when it is, in fact, the result (in whole or in part) of unauthorised collaboration with another person or persons. Both the student presenting the assignment and the student(s) willingly supplying unauthorised material are considered participants in the act of academic misconduct.
The CELT has developed a web-based ‘Academic Honesty Module’ that allows you to learn more about and test your knowledge of plagiarism and collusion. You are strongly encouraged to complete this module, which can be accessed at:
http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/celt/tools/faculty_guidelines/plagiarism_and_academic_honesty
Late Submission
Late submissions must be requested from the FBE Student Centre, NOT the lecturer or tutor. Late assignments, where approval for late submission has not been given, will be penalised at the rate of 10% of the total mark per day, for up to 5 days, at which time a mark of zero will be given. For details see:
http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/csc/assistance/assignment_extension
Referencing
All sources used for a written piece of assessment must be referenced. This is to acknowledge that your material is not based entirely on your own ideas, but is based, in part, on the ideas, information, and evidence of others. This is desirable as you are attending University in order to learn from others.
You will be required to use the APA system or Harvard System of referencing.
Assistance in using these (and other) styles of referencing can be found using the link:
http://library.unimelb.edu.au/cite
It is important that all material you present for assessment is referenced correctly.  Failure to reference or to reference properly will result in a significant penalty in terms of the mark awarded to your assignment.
We will also look for evidence that material included in the bibliography has been used in the assignment. Including references that have not been used may also result in your assignment being penalised.
The Assignment
USE NO MORE THAN 1000 WORDS (EXCLUDING FOOTNOTES, TABLES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY).
ANSWER BOTH QUESTIONS.
Question 1 (1 + 1 + 1 = 3 marks)
a. (1 mark) Using the published national accounts for Australia and the United States for the period March quarter 2015, compare and contrast the behaviour of economic growth in these two countries. You should consider the year to the March quarter 2015 (that is, March quarter 2014 to March quarter 2015), and the three month period to the March quarter 2015 (that is, December quarter 2014 to March quarter 2015).
So, comparing these two economies, what was the rate of growth of real GDP in each of these two periods? Use seasonally adjusted data.
b. (1 mark) Which components of expenditure grew at the highest and lowest rates and which contributed the most and the least to GDP growth in each of the two economies for the period December quarter 2014 to the March quarter 2015. Provide the values in tabular form.
In answering part (b) you should look at the following expenditure categories for Australia: Final consumption expenditure, distinguishing Household from General Government, Total Gross Fixed Capital Formation, distinguishing Total Private Gross Fixed Capital Formation from Total Public Gross Fixed Capital Formation, Exports and Imports (or Net Exports). (Gross Fixed Capital Formation means Investment expenditure.
For the United States the closest equivalent expenditure categories that you should consider are designated as: Personal Consumption Expenditures, Gross Private Domestic Investment, Net Exports of Goods and Services (separated as Exports and as Imports), Government Consumption Expenditures and Gross Investment, and Change in Private Inventories.
There is no need to disaggregate within any of these categories and consider the smaller, narrower categories of expenditure which are given in the tables.
c. (1 mark) Using Tables 16 and 17 of the Australian National Accounts, determine which are the largest and second largest industry sectors in the Australian economy in the March quarter 2015.
Which industry sector experienced the highest rate of growth in the twelve months March quarter 2014 – March quarter 2015?
(In answering this question you need only consider the aggregate industry sectors marked A, B, C. Etc. Do not disaggregate within each of these sectors.)
Links:
United States:
To obtain the revised data for the March (first) quarter for the United States, use the first (advance) release for the June (second) quarter 2015.
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2015/pdf/gdp2q15_adv.pdf
Australia:
http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/meisubs.nsf/0/F03A46CF7EE15E38CA257E5800149ABF/$File/52060_mar%202015.pdf
AND
Question 2 (7 marks)
Now read the slides titled Economic Indicators. First, you should understand the nature and use of economic indicators.
Then, choose three different leading indicators for the Australian economy and use them to determine what they suggest about the performance of the Australian economy for the next twelve months.
Now locate the same indicators (or very similar indicators), for the United States.
(All relevant indicators are available from the internet).
Compare and contrast the behaviour of the indicators for the United States with those for the Australian economy.
In particular do they suggest that the two economies are likely to experience a similar or a different economic performance for the next twelve months in terms of the growth of real GDP?
This is a research assignment and marks will be awarded for:
(1)    The sources of data that you find and the proper citation and use of these sources.
(2)    The presentation of the correct data from these sources.
(3)    The quality of the analysis you provide using these data.
(4)    The overall standard of presentation of the assignment.
You should give attention to the following issues:
•    Have I reported all relevant data in a series of clear and easily interpreted tables that I have constructed myself? I should not have just “copied and pasted” large slabs of data from the sources used.
•    Would it be helpful to the reader to provide some of the data as charts?
•    Have I located and referred to the most recent release of the leading indicators?
•    Have I explained why each indicator I have selected is likely to be a leading indicator?  Have I discovered and referred to any authority for my choice of these indicators?
•    Have I demonstrated an understanding of the need to evaluate these most recent observations in the light of their recent past behaviour, such as twelve months ago or earlier this year?
•    Does my evaluation of the leading indicators for each country provide for a clear conclusion about the two economies over the next twelve months? If not, why not?

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