Seen us around, read a couple of our articles but don’t know exactly who we are or what we do?

As the premier economics student society in Australia, we strive to be the point of difference in your University experience through uniting theory and reality. We publish student-written articles on this very website everyday, hold events throughout the year connecting students to industry professionals in the private and public sectors, and above all we aim to connect like-minded students together to ignite a passionate economics community that is more informed, engaged and aware of the breadth of opportunities and unique multidisciplinary relevance of economics.

For Monash students, find us at marquee D14 on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 FEB, 11-3pm.

Welcome to Monash, economics and ESSA

Professor Russell Smyth, Head of Department, Department of Economics, Monash University

Professor Russell Smyth, Head of Department, Department of Economics, Monash University

I welcome you to Monash University.  This is an exciting time in your lives and I wish you all the best for your studies and for your future careers.

The Economic Students Society of Australia (ESSA) is a great initiative bringing together economics students at Melbourne and Monash Universities. Over the years there have been a number of student clubs, but none of which give a real voice to economics students. ESSA fills this void in promoting the interests of economics students and providing a forum for economics students to come together.

The Department of Economics at Monash University is one of the strongest research departments in economics in the country. In the most recent national research assessment exercise (Excellence in Research Australia, 2012), Monash was one of only a few universities nationwide to receive the maximum score of ‘five’, defined as ‘research well above world average’ for economics. We have particular strengths in behavioral/experimental economics, development economics and macroeconomics. We bring this research expertise to the classroom in the units which we offer in the Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics at Clayton campus and the Bachelor of Business at the Berwick, Caulfield and Peninsula campuses.

The Department of Economics and ESSA have a particularly strong relationship at Monash University. The Department provides financial sponsorship to ESSA and fully supports the activities of ESSA. The Department sees ESSA not only as a vehicle to promote economics at Monash and bring students and faculty closer together, but an avenue to promote economics as a discipline among those of you who will become the next generation of professional economists.

Membership of ESSA brings with it many benefits:

  • The chance to participate in high quality events and networking sessions with like-minded students as well as academic and industry economists.
  • Developing a better understanding of economics through the opportunity to debate and discuss what is being learned in the classroom and current economics events.
  • Participating in an online publication with access to what’s trending among economic students.

I encourage you to join ESSA and to participate in the full range of extra-curricular activities that are on offer.  Above all, enjoy your time at Monash University!


Subjects we get excited about

Now is the time to choose your subjects… and then chop and change them before census date! Below are reviews of subjects our Committee members found particularly exciting. Second and third year subjects are included as well to give you a clear picture of where your economic studies can take you.

  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Sports Economics
  • Introductory Econometrics
  • Environmental Economics
  • Poverty, Prosperity and Sustainability in a Globalised World
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Labour Economics
  • Monetary Economics

ECC1100: Principles of Macroeconomics

More often than not, when you ask someone which area of economics they enjoy the most, the answer will be “macro”. This unit is a fantastic introduction into everything macro, covering a range of topics, from fiscal and monetary policy, to the macroeconomic implications of international trade.

The most enjoyable topic is no doubt the detailed analysis of the Global Finance Crisis: ever wondered who’s to blame? What “NINJA loan” means? Students will be able to understand and appreciate the reasons for the onset of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and the subsequent impacts on the US and Australian economies.

An understanding of macroeconomic principles is essential for all students, and this unit effectively delivers engaging content in an easy-to-understand manner.

ECC1000: Principles of Microeconomics

For many students, this subject will be the first time you will come across the basic economic tools and concepts. The fundamental principles learnt in this unit will form the building blocks for all second and third year economics units, so you best pay attention!

Microeconomics is the study of individual markets, and in this unit you will be introduced not only to the basics of supply, demand and equilibrium, but the effects of certain government interventions in individual markets, like price ceilings, tariffs and quotas. In first semester, ECC1000 will be taught by Professor Stephen King, who not only used to be the Dean of BusEco at Monash, but is a former ACCC Commissioner, so these lectures are sure to be worth getting out of bed for!

This unit will give you a neat introduction into the economics way of thinking, and will most likely give you an idea whether or not economics is for you, so make sure you give it all you’ve got.

ECC2450: Sports Economics

Sports Economics is a great subject if you love sport and want some context to your studies. It is a great way to see the application of economics in an industry that you love.

The semester covers issues such as how leagues try to maintain competitive balance through drafts and salary caps, how incomes are made and revenues split, whether players are worth their price tags, whether clubs aim to profit or win maximize and how sporting events impact on local economies (amongst many others!).

One of the great aspects of the subject is that the only in-semester assignment is a group project for which you get to choose your own topic. It can be on any sport/league/team/player that you like, and you investigate some sort of economic issue, generally, that relates back to the concepts covered during semester. It gives you a large scope so you can cover any sporting topic that you and your group are passionate about.

We’d definitely recommend the subject if you love sports and want to add a bit of interest to all the theory you can find yourself studying.

ETC2410: Introductory Econometrics

If you want to convince anyone to invest in a business idea or a policy, the first thing you will hear is ‘show me the data!’ Introductory econometrics gives students the statistical tools they need to conduct empirical analysis of relationships between economic variables (ie draw conclusions about how things are causally related).

We live in a world awash with data. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stats available on demand (just download the app!) like never before. There are databases for everything from medical records to sports club memberships ready for interrogation.

Want to prove that high levels of junk food consumption are linked to heart disease? You need econometrics. Want to show that a particular group is systematically discriminated against in the work place (or that taller people are more likely to become CEO)? You need econometrics. Want to show that a particular policy is making a difference to GHG emissions reduction? You need econometrics.

In order to enrol this subject you must first complete ETC1000: Business and economic statistics in first year.

ECC2360: Environmental Economics

This unit applies microeconomic theory from ECC1000 to the relationship between the environment and the economy. ECC2360 considers the limitations (imperfect) markets face tackling environmental problems and the ways government intervention can be used to minimise market failure.

For example governments can tax pollution (e.g. the Gillard Government’s Carbon Price). In doing this, the unit analyses the effects of property rights, behaviour of politicians and citizens, the free riding problem, and most importantly, uncertainty in the market, on society’s ability to eliminate externalities. This unit also explores the importance of having a framework to identify environmental problems and how behaviour of market participants can change when they realise they must incur a cost to reduce an environmental problem.

A strong focus of this unit is on the usefulness of cost-benefit analysis to price unpriced environmental goods (e.g. common pool resources such as the air we breathe) to determine the most appropriate, and least costly, way to solve an environmental problem.

ECC2800: Poverty, Prosperity and Sustainability in a Globalised World

Known as PPS for short, this subject brings together the very real issue of differences in wealth across the world, and the economic models which have been designed to explain this phenomenon.

The weekly readings chart the progression of economic thinking about growth and its implications.  Students will become familiar with seminal thinkers in this area from Thomas Malthus through to Robert Solow.

The subject cover topics such as the nature of economic growth, encouraging economic growth, the impact of health and foreign aid on economic growth and finally the impact of economic growth on the environment.

The readings (which are highly recommended!) explain difficult concepts with clarity, while Simon Angus brings lectures to life and compulsory online discussions allow you to learn from your peers. A challenging and satisfying unit.

ECC2010 Intermediate Macroeconomics

Intermediate macroeconomics builds upon the concepts you’ll become familiar with in ECC1100 Principles of macroeconomics, helping you improve your understanding and appreciation of economies as a whole.

This unit covers a wide range of interrelated topics, from monetary policy and central banks to the deep connections between the goods and financial markets to inflation and unemployment.

A unit largely consisting of ‘big’ concepts and their application, ECC2010 will require you to have a solid grasp of these ideas, rather than a mere memorisation of them, and a confident ability to describe how these models can explain very different outcomes from very different situations.

ECC2010 is filled with interesting and invaluable content that is key to a greater understanding of macroeconomics and what makes it such an intriguing and dynamic field.

ECC2000: Intermediate Microeconomics

You definitely want to be paying attention in this class, because if not, you will actually have no idea what is going on in even the most basic of economic discussions. The course builds on the concept of individual markets introduced in ECC1000. The building blocks of this unit are the production function, the utility function, budget constraints, profit maximisation and forms of competition.

The course uses a scientific approach to economics. However, while your vision will probably be blurred with lines of equations, to do well you will need to be able to link them to the economic theory. Simple maths becomes surprisingly powerful in the context of the theories.

Doing well in this unit will give you a strong grounding for success in other microeconomics-based units such as ECC3830 (Industrial Organisation) and ECC3710 (Labour Economics).

ECC3710: Labour Economics

Interested in knowing how minimum wages are set? Or an individual’s choice between work and leisure? Labour economics answers such questions by exploring the contrasting theoretical models of the labour market, building on the foundations set in intermediate economics units such as ECC2000. This unit emphasises the neo-classical model, wage efficiency model and provides students with an important link to contemporary issues such as labour market flexibility, discrimination and unemployment.

A concerted effort to understand lecture and tutorial content will give students a wider appreciation of how workers’ labour supply behaviour, decision to invest in human capital and how compensation can affect productivity in the labour market.

ECC3660: Monetary Economics

In a post-GFC world, you would be hard pressed to find a subject more relevant to today’s society than monetary economics.

This unit will teach you about how asset bubbles and mismanaged risk caused the global financial crisis, using the basic economic tools of supply and demand that you learnt in first year. You will learn about the workings of the reserve bank, and a brief history of monetary policy in Australia. But that’s not all! This unit will also teach you about why countries trade, and why people consumption smooth (ie – why you spend your first pay check before you’ve even earned it!). For budding young economists, this unit is a must.

For more information regarding exact content, timetabling and assessments, head to the Monash Handbook


ESSA’s tips for First Years — avoid learning the hard way

One of the benefits of being on a sprawling campus with idle time on your hands is the chance to explore the university and find out what’s good and bad for yourself. For some this is a thrilling experience. For others this amounts to bumbling around, wasting time and having to learn some things the hard way. In this section we answer the tough questions so that you don’t have to bother to learn firsthand!

  • I’m eating and drinking on a budget, where do I go?
  • How do I navigate the coffee maze?
  • How do I get powerful software, cheaply?
  • Where do I go, when I need to go (aka toilets)?
  • Where do I go to complete homework on campus?
  • Where can I find a computer lab where nobody will annoy me?
  • Are there any climatic conditions I need to be aware of before I choose my clothes?

I’m eating and drinking on a budget, where do I go?

Sir John’s Bar offers good quality food at a decent price. The chicken parma comes highly recommended as does the fusion cuisine – ‘wedge-achos’. Merging wedges and nachos into a single dish is pure culinary genius. Just eat them before they get too soggy!

The $1 pot Thursday afternoons is a particularly appealing prospect for those who have managed to get a four-day timetable. Not to mention you get a discount on everything if you are an MSA member.

How do I navigate the coffee maze?

With the multitude of vendors selling coffee on campus your morning latte can be very hit and miss.

Unfortunately you get what you pay for when it comes to coffee and the cheaper vendors tend to be significantly lower quality.

For good take away service Artichoke and Whitebait (situated in the campus centre) and Taste Baquette (Ground floor of Menzies Building) make high quality coffee.

If you’re planning on sitting down with your friends for some intimate conversation Cinque Lire located in building 75 on your campus map is ESSA’s recommendation.

It is a decent walk for a Commerce student whose classes are mainly in Menzies and Rotunda but definitely worth the effort which filters out a lot of the crowds you see in the Campus Centre.

Oh and great coffee!

How do I get powerful software, cheaply?

Monash University spends millions of dollars each year on purchasing and supporting software, from site licences and service agreements to equipping the service desk to help us out. This is something most students aren’t aware of but eSolutions (Monash’s IT Services area) has a number of agreements with popular software companies which can be a benefit to us. The Software Catalogue ( http://intranet.monash.edu.au/esolutions/software/catalogue/index.html ) contains a list of only some of the most commonly used software for which Monash has an agreement with and outlines which of those are available to Staff, Monash Devices and Undergrads.

The Catalogue is a table with a series of ticks and crosses indicating which products are available to certain types of users. Click on the ‘ticks’ in the ‘Students at Home’ column to get instructions on how to download it. Similarly if you are on a Monash Computer (e.g. in Library or Menzies) the links in the ‘Monash Devices’ column give instructions on how to install the software on the device you are using.

Where do I go to complete homework on campus?

Not all libraries are created equal. Each has its own definable character and, when you want to do actual work, some libraries are more likely to induce aggression towards fellow students than others.

The Law Library is a good place for getting on top of readings and studying for assessments. This library is notable for having plenty of space with nice leather couches and for generally being a good place to be able to knuckle down and do some real work.

The Hargrave-Andrew is a good place to go for loud chats or if you are not planning on doing any serious study. This library also comes highly recommended if you need to find your friends who study engineering – they always seem to be there!

Fan of computer games? Hargrave-Andrew is your place!” – Anonymous

Where can I find a computer lab where nobody will annoy me?

If you are doing work primarily on your computer and don’t want to be bothered with people moving around in a library space, the computer labs are located on level 1, East wing of the Menzies building, are brilliant.

When they are not being used for classes the labs are as deserted as an overpriced mango stall in a market with perfect competition and many mango purveyors.  Class times are posted on the door of each lab so you can avoid the awkwardness of walking in on a class.

Where do I go, when I need to go?

One of the first things you should do as a first year is familiarise yourself with the toilets around campus.

A clean toilet is one of the most sought after landmarks on campus and making a poor  choice in the heat of the moment can ruin a student’s day.

The Monash Uni Toilet Experience has been known to vary wildly from remarkably pleasant to exceptionally atrocious.

Recommend: Cinque Lire toilets

Avoid: Menzies Building basement toilets

For a truly philosophical Monash Uni Toilet Experience, try the toilets opposite The Den cafe. Graffiti-ed on the walls are a few profound phrases that may bring on a revelational occurrence as one answers the call of nature.

Are there any climatic conditions I need to be aware of before I choose my clothes?

One of the most notable features of Monash University Clayton Campus is the Robert Menzies Building. This is where ESSA have our office and we would never ever disparage this building. We heart this building.

However it is important, when dressing for the day, to bear in mind that there is a near constant category 4 hurricane declaration above this building, leading many a first time venturer to the campus to exclaim: ‘@$#% this place is windy!’

The following precautionary measures are advised:

  • Never wear a short flowy dress. Ever.  No matter how nice it looks. Believe me, you won’t look nice when you are desperately trying to stop it from blowing up and exposing your undies and you dash across Menzies lawn in the violent winds. On hot days ladies, I suggest you opt for the short shorts option instead, and leave the dresses for the weekend.
  • Don’t put more than 5 minutes effort into styling your hair before uni, your hard work is sure to be ruined when you cross the Menzies lawns, or the space between the Menzies and the Matheson library.
  • If you plan on wearing sticky lipgloss, tie your hair back, otherwise there will be more smeared across your luscious locks than on your lips by the end of the day!