Assessment 2: Research essay

Submission date

Thursday 20th September 23:59hrs

Research essay requirements

 This assessment has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive

of in-text citations).

 The essay is to be submitted through SafeAssign via the BSB113 blackboard website (see BB

assessment 2 folder for detail). You are advised to keep a copy of your work for your own records.

 The assessment should be submitted as a WORD document or PDF. Please note that other file formats

may not be able to be opened and will be assumed to be a non-submission.

 It is your responsibility to check that the document has uploaded to SafeAssign and that it is the correct

document. If you need help on how to check contact IT support (do not contact your tutor or UC).

 Work that has been submitted for assessment in BSB113 in previous semesters cannot be resubmitted

for assessment. If identified, re-submitted work from previous semesters will be treated as plagiarism.

 QUT exercises zero tolerance on late submissions without an approved extension.

 If special circumstances prevent you from meeting the assessment due date, you can apply for an

extension. If you do not have an approved extension prior to the submission date, you should submit the

work you have completed by the due date and it will be marked against the assessment criteria.

 You will NOT be able to view your plagiarism report. Refer to the FAQs in the supporting assessment

document (BB assessment 2 folder) as to why.

 We strongly recommend that prior to submission you ensure that you have read ALL the related

assessment documents.

 Your essay will be marked against the published CRA for this assessment. (At the end of the Assessment



Scope of research essay


Brisbane City Council (BCC) is committed to reducing congestion across the city road network (Brisbane City

Council, 2018). This includes a $1.3m road improvement program on congestion-busting projects for 2016 to

2020. Initiatives range from road improvement projects to expanded bikeways and a Brisbane Metro Subway

System ((Brisbane City Council, 2018).

BCC has approached BSB113 Consulting1 requesting an economics analysis of the introduction of a

congestion price or tax in Brisbane. They have requested that the economic analysis is framed around the

following article:

Martin, L. A. and Thornton, S. (2016, 22 March).

road-use-charges-can-reduce-traffic-jams-86324. The Conversation. Retrieved from

The economic analysis should be presented in essay format and address the following tasks.

1. An overview of the economic and social issues associated with road congestion in Australia.

2. An analysis of the effect of road congestion on the economic efficient equilibrium of the market. This

analysis should be framed around a diagrammatic exposition of the economic theory of externalities, and

as a minimum, should clearly identify the theoretical market and efficient equilibrium and any deadweight


3. An analysis of policies to reduce congestion (shifting the industry from the current market equilibrium

towards an economic efficient equilibrium). This is to be limited to consideration of:

(i) A congestion charge/tax/price

(ii) Improving transport substitutes (e.g. public transport)

(iii) Building more roads

A brief summary of the potential economic effects (costs and benefits) of each of the above policies (i, ii

and iii) is required. However, BCC understands that a full analysis of the dynamic effects of these policy

solutions is beyond the scope of this work, as the focus is on using a partial equilibrium analysis.

1 BSB113 Consulting provides economic analysis to Australian Government and Industry. BSB113 Consulting, real

economics for real world problems.


Recommended reading

The readings presented below are not an exhaustive list of references. You are encouraged to also search for

appropriate sources to support your critical analysis (refer to the CRA).

Brisbane City Council (2018, 17 July). Reducing congestion. Retrieved from

Coglan, L. (Compiler). (2016). BSB113: Essentials of Economics (4th ed.). Australia: Pearson Australia,

Chapter 11.2

Cramton, P. Geddes, R.R., Ockenfel, A. (2018, 31 July). Set road charges in real time to ease traffic. Nature, 60, 23-25. Retrieved from

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. (2015, Nov.). Traffic and congestion cost trends for Australian capital cities. Retrieved from

Eliasson, J. (2012. Sept.)How to solve traffic jams [Video file]. Retrieved from

Manners, P. (n.d). Congestion pricing: why and how. Retrieved from


Martin, L. A. and Thornton, S. (2016, 22 March).

use-charges-can-reduce-traffic-jams-86324. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Paramita P, Zheng Z, Haque MM, Washington S, Hyland P (2018) User satisfaction with train fares: A

comparative analysis in five Australian cities. PLoS ONE 13(6): e0199449.

Productivity Commission (2017, 24 Oct.). Transport. Shifting the Dial:5 year productivity review, (Ch 4, Section 4.5). Retrieved from cities

2 This material will be covered in the week 7 lecture after the semester break.


General guidance notes

The context

In economics we generally start by framing the problem. We also refer to this as setting the context. In this

part of your essay (Task 1), you need to articulate what the issue is. This is not simply a case of stating “I think

it is a problem because …” You need to present an informed context which is supported by peer reviewed

published research (not the Courier Mail). In setting the context, you should also include details of the economic

and social costs associated with the problem. Data should be from reputable sources. The case that you make

in this section provides the basis for economic policy solutions you will present in part 3.

The Theory

The theory needs to relate to the economics issue(s) identified in task 1. You will need to present the correct

theoretical economic model and explain it using appropriate economic terminology (Task 2). It is no secret that

the theory relates to externalities. If you have strayed from the textbook and searched the internet for an

appropriate “model” you will have come across many variations of a theme with respect to how axes are

specified, curves are labelled etc. To ensure everyone’s sanity you are required to incorporate the basic Figure

below in your essay. Of course, your figure will be a detailed model that is correctly annotated and is supported

by a complete narrative of the economic theory that relates back to the Figure.

The critical analysis

In Task 3, potential policy solutions are critically analysed from an economic perspective. Your analysis should

be framed with reference to the economic theory presented in Task 2. That is, how does each policy shift the

market to the efficient equilibrium? The key to this part of the essay is to keep it simple. Give an overview of

each policy, detail how it will work to address the issue under consideration and give a brief summary of the

potential strengths and limitations of that policy approach based on what you find from the research literature.

In a policy context, the benefits should be greater than the costs (note this refers to economic cost not financial

costs). Note, you are not required to say that one policy is better than another.

A key feature of economic analysis is that it is objective. Whilst this work has been commissioned by a

particular stakeholder, it should be an unbiased and informed critical economic analysis and not a political

document. For example, a particular policy solution may shift the market towards an economic efficient

solution, but may not be great for the stakeholder (e.g. it may increase their costs and reduce their revenues

etc.). In contrast, a policy solution may potentially improve the position of the stakeholder, but at the expense

of economic efficiency. The latter should not be given a greater weight because of the audience.

In summary:

 clearly frame the “problem” by setting the context

 use an appropriate economic theory to show how economists view this problem

 write an unbiased and informed critical economic analysis and not a political document. Do not get drawn

into reporting emotive arguments (interesting as they are).


 be academically rigorous, ensuring that your analysis is underpinned by references to peer reviewed

academic literature

Your audience’s background knowledge in economics

Assume that your audience has an understanding of economic theory and terminology, up to the level of

BSB113. Assume that they are regularly exposed to documents drafted by economists and follow

contemporary economic analysis in the media. For example, they read The Economist, and take a keen

interest in economic articles published by economists for a wider audience in The Conversation (online) and

Australian Policy Online.

Researching for your research essay

Your research (or reading) of this literature informs your analysis, arguments, critique, conclusions etc.

Therefore, the quality of your research will directly influence the quality of your work. In academia “appropriate

literature” means that you should be principally researching scholarly sources. To begin your research start

with the recommended reading provided in this document. This is not an exhaustive list of references. You are

also expected to research the literature yourself (refer to the Criterion Reference Assessment (CRA) table at

the end of this document).

All sources cited in your essay must be referenced using APA style. For further information refer to Cite|Write

If in doubt about how to cite and reference a source please seek help from the subject librarian.

Examples of scholarly sources include:

 Academic journals

 University working papers/publications

 Government and related departments/organisations reports (e.g. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS))

 International economic organisation’s articles and reports (e.g. OECD, United Nations and World Bank)

 Central Bank articles and reports (e.g. Reserve Bank of Australia)

Examples of high quality sources of relevant data would include ABS, OECD, World Bank, Government reports


A common theme of all of the above published literature is that it is peer reviewed. Peer review is a process

that is used to ensure that published work represents the best scholarship currently available (and is also

technically correct, not misleading etc.). In contrast, non-peer reviewed literature represents the opinion of the

authors with only their guarantee that it is the best work possible.

Reliance on non-scholarly sources as part of your research is to be avoided. Examples of non-scholarly

sources include:

 newspaper reports

 magazines articles

 non-peer reviewed articles and reports (be careful of private consultation reports, political papers etc.)

 subject-based dictionaries and/or glossaries (including Wikipedia)

 personal blogs/websites

Non-scholarly sources do have a role. As a matter of course you should be informing yourself about

contemporary issues by reading a range of non-scholarly sources (e.g. by reading the newspaper). Within non-

scholarly sources there is a hierarchy of more acceptable publications that you should engage with. These

include good quality newspapers (e.g. The Australian and The Financial Review) and specialist magazines

(e.g. The Economist)).


Similarly, Wikipedia is a great starting point for looking up definitions or getting an overview of a subject.

However, using Wikipedia as a key source in your work simply demonstrates that you have failed to engage

in the challenging, but rewarding, academic exercise of researching high-quality scholarly resources.

Reading hints and tips

Is there a “trick” for working your way through the reading list. Fortunately, there is.

 scanning the documents and locating specific words or phrases that are of interest. Focus on headings

and subheadings, the contents page itself and the index for specific words (Top tip: it is easy to search

PDF documents for keywords).

 when reading, be strategic. Some papers may be useful to support your arguments, other may not.

 get some help on how to read research papers. Studywell ( has

some excellent advice on how to read (fast) and digest research papers.

Maximum word length

Your research essay has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive

of in-text citations).

Your word count for each section will be specific to your individual essay (informed by the weighting in the

criteria reference assessment table at the end of this document). Note that your essay should include both an

introduction and conclusion (but do not overdo the introduction or conclusion as that means fewer words for

the important bits).


You are advised of the following stylistic requirements:

 use font type Arial, font size 10 (minimum)

 line spacing should be single or no greater than1.25

 margins should be set at 2.3cm

 all diagrams should be reproduced either by hand or imbedded in your document using a draw tool. For

example, Paint or the draw tool in Word,3 or Excel. If you draw the diagrams by hand you will need to scan

them so they can be incorporated in your SafeAssign submission. Cutting and pasting of diagrams from

other documents is not acceptable and will be marked as copying (refer to CRA).

 all pages should be numbered (bottom footer right hand side) and include your student number (top

header, right hand side)

 include a title page. This should include your name, student number and tutor’s name.

Late submission

Assessment submitted after the due date without an approved extension will not be marked and will receive a

grade of 1 or 0%. If special circumstances prevent you from meeting the assessment due date, you can apply

for an extension. If you do not have an approved extension you should submit the work you have completed

by the due date and it will be marked against the assessment criteria.

Helpful advice on writing your research essay

Your writing style needs to be clear and efficient (after all you only have 1400 words). Some key advice would


 remember structure in writing – introduce, discuss and conclude.

 use short sentences – long sentences lose the reader.

 one argument/idea per paragraph.

3 See There are also a lot

of good instructions on the internet (including Youtube) on how to construct diagrams using the Draw tool in Word.


This assessment is a formal academic piece of writing. The words and language style you use will convey this.

Language used should be appropriate. Things to avoid include informal language, shorthand or colloquialisms.

A short check list of advice would include:

 use “do not” instead “don’t”

 use “cannot” instead of “can’t”

 write in the third person – avoid using personal pronouns. For example: “Research shows that ….”

rather than “I think that …”.

Descriptions should be quantified and/or relative to a comparable benchmark. For example:

 instead of saying “there was a massive increase in China’s economic growth” you would phrase it as

“China’s economic growth, as measured by GDP, increased by X% over the period (include citation of

where your evidence came from)”.

 instead of saying “GDP in China was better than everyone else’s” you would phrase it “GDP in China

increased by X%. In comparison it fell by X% in USA and X% in the UK (include citation of where your

evidence came from).”

Tables and figures in themselves do nothing to enhance an argument unless they are clear AND explained

AND interpreted by you for the reader.

When inserting a table or figure into your work it is good practice to give each a number (e.g. Figure 1, Table

1) and title it (the title should describe what the table or figure is presenting) and refer to the table or figure

number explicitly in the text.

Place the table or figure as near to the paragraph that you are going to discuss it in (either directly above or

below). An example is given below in Figure 1.

If you have hand drawn your tables and figures attach them to the end of your document.

Figure 1. How to present diagrams and tables

In your reading, you will come across tables and figures that may be useful in explaining or supporting a point

that you want to make in your own work. Try to avoid cutting and pasting from articles and the text book.

Relevant tables and figures should be adapted to support your work and referenced. Figures (especially those

relating to theory) can be redrawn in Paint or Word (using the draw tool). Similarly, tables of data can be

Vessel ownership was also a significant factor affecting efficiency. In general, vessels belonging to larger companies were more efficient than those belonging to smaller companies, which in turn were more efficient than owner-operators. This may reflect the greater level of information sharing that can occur within a larger company fleet, but may also reflect fleet management skills, with the larger companies having better fleet managers. Alternatively, the larger companies may be able to attract and keep the better skippers and crew.

Figure 1. Among-vessel distribution of technical efficiency scores

Although the decline in boat numbers between 1995 and 2007 may have had a negative impact on technical efficiency, the removal of older vessels through buyback and consolidation, and replacement of some older vessels by newer vessels resulted in a net increase in average technical efficiency in the fishery. The mean technical efficiency in 2007 was 0.793, compared to a mean technical efficiency score of 0.736 over the period 1995-2000. Although the mean efficiency scores appear to differ only marginally, the distribution of scores shifted to the right (Figure 1), with a higher proportion of vessels having high technical efficiency scores (i.e. ≥ 0.8).

Source Pascoe, S., Punt, A., Coglan, L. and Dichmont, C. (forthcoming 2012). Impacts of vessel capacity reduction programs on efficiency in fisheries: The case of Australia’s multispecies northern prawn fishery. Journal of Agriculture Economics.










<0.6 0.60-0.65 0.65-0.70 0.70-0.75 0.75-0.80 0.80-0.85 0.85-0.90

Technical efficiency

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created in Excel and imported into Word (or created in Word using the table tool) to reflect the information that

is relevant to your analysis.

Further support for Assessment 2

Support for this assessment item includes:

 Lecture 7/ tutorial 7

 Consultations with tutors

 Supporting documentation (including this document)

Please note tutors will be prepared to discuss your approach but will not read drafts.

In addition to the above, generic skills support and help can be sought from a range of sources:

 4S workshops

o See Blackboard announcements for 4S workshops. Information of other generic skills workshops

can be found at


 Student Learning Advisors



 Study smart



Criterion Reference Assessment for Assessment Item 2: research essay

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7 6 5 4 <4

Weig ht

100%  85% 84%  75% 74%  65% 65%  50% 49%  0%


Set the context with reference to appropriate data sources and policy. Data has been appropriately presented and explained. (KS 1.2)

15% A clear and complete account is given which is well-informed by supporting data and policy. Data are appropriately presented (e.g. in tables or graphs) and their relevance and meaning have been clearly and concisely explained.

A complete outline is given which is informed by supporting data and policy. Data are appropriately presented (e.g. in tables or graphs) and their relevance and meaning have been explained.

An outline is given which is informed by supporting data and policy. Data are presented appropriately (e.g. in tables, graphs etc.) but their relevance and meaning are not always clear and/or they are causally referred to.

The outline is given. The policy context is incomplete. The relevant supporting data are incomplete. Data that are presented is relevant but presentation could be improved. Data are only occasionally referred to.

Either there is NO outline AND/OR the policy and relevant supporting data are incorrect or omitted. Data are poorly presented. Data are not referred to.


Presented and described the appropriate economic theory, model and/or framework. (KS 1.1)

25% There is a clear, concise and accurate description of the relevant economic theories and/or models.

There is a description of the relevant economic theories and/or models.

The relevant economic theories and/or models are identified. There may be some minor errors.

The relevant economic theories and/or models are incomplete There are a few errors.

The relevant economic theories and/or models are incorrect or omitted. There is a large number of errors/inconsistencies.


Presented an analysis of the potential economic issues. (HO 2.1)

40% An excellent critical analysis of a range of economic issues which is underpinned by economic theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence

An analysis of a range of economic issues under pinned by economic theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence

An analysis of some of the economic issues with evidence of some reference to theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence.

An overview of a limited set of potential economic issues Limited reference to theory and/or appropriate supporting evidence.

There is a very limited OR no identification of any potential economic issues AND/OR there is very limited or no reference to theory AND/OR relevant supporting evidence

1 ,2


Used a range of relevant scholarly sources to support content and arguments. (PC 3.1)

10% Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support content and arguments AND a selection of additional relevant scholarly sources that substantially supports the critical content of the discussion.

Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support arguments and discussion AND a limited range of relevant scholarly sources that supports the critical content of the discussion.

Incorporated relevant recommended readings to support arguments and discussion. There are no additional references OR additional references are from non-scholarly sources.

Limited evidence of incorporating recommended readings to support arguments and discussion. There are no additional references OR additional references are from non- scholarly sources.

Very limited evidence of having read the recommended readings AND/OR any additional references use are irrelevant AND/ OR from non scholarly sources.

1 ,2


Presented an appropriately written academic document which consistently adhered to APA style conventions for references. (PC 3.1)

10% An excellent standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear, concise and objective. The structure of the essay is logical. All sources are consistently and accurately reference (both in-text citation and in the reference list)

A good standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear, concise and objective. The structure of the essay is logical. There is a high level of accuracy in referencing (both in- text citations and reference list) for all sources used.

A competent standard of academic writing is achieved. The writing style is clear but sometimes lacks objectivity. The structure mostly follows a logical sequence. There are a few minor inaccuracies in the referencing of sources (both in- text citations and reference list).

The standard of academic writing could be improved. The writing style is reasonably clear but lacks objectivity. The structure could be improved. There are a number of inaccuracies in the referencing of sources (both in-text citations and reference list)

The standard of academic writing is poor. The writing style is unclear and confusing. The structure presented is not logical. There may be evidence of plagiarism OR lack of acknowledgement of sources AND/OR referencing is largely inaccurate AND/OR inconsistent.


Your notes on assessment 2