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EFB223 Economics 2
Semester 1 2020
Assessment item 2: Essay Assignment
Friday 28th August (week 6) @ 11:59pm
Assignments are to be submitted via Turnitin
This document contains important information about your assessment. You will need to read it carefully to understand what is required.
What role did rumour play in Australia’s toilet paper frenzy? (The Sydney Morning Herald) (5 March 2020)
David Savage, an associate professor at the University of Newcastle … said two key drivers of human behaviour were leading to the run on toilet paper: loss aversion and herd behaviour. Dr Savage said images of empty supermarket shelves in Asia led some Australians to believe similar shortages could occur here.
Humans are “loss averse” and are generally willing to pay exorbitant prices for a product rather than miss out altogether, he said.
Coronavirus: Toilet paper scarcity rolls on with pressure on supermarket suppliers (The Canberra Times) (4 April 2020)
“In terms of toilet paper, demand is still outstripping supply by a long shot. When it gets on the shelves it doesn’t last at all.”
Why are people stockpiling toilet paper? (The Conversation) (5 March 2020)
Niki Edwards of QUT claims “People don’t seem interested in substitutes. Supermarket shelves are still full of other paper towels and tissues.”
Alex Russell of CQU claims “there aren’t easy substitutions. If the supermarket is out of a particular ingredient for dinner, you can just get something else, or an entirely different dinner. But if there’s not a roll of toilet paper, then that’s pretty frustrating for everyone. Sure, tissues or paper towels, but it’s not quite the same, is it?”
Global toilet paper prices rise in COVID-19’s wake (Finder) (7 May 2020)
Australia was near the top of the list for highest price rises, seeing the cost of four rolls of toilet paper jump 9.09% over roughly the last month.
To address the shortage of toilet paper, the Australian government has appointed you as their economic advisor and have tasked you to write up a document which addresses the following:
While it is relevant to consider social and normative issues, your essay should focus on economic analysis and should address such aspects as consumer and producer welfare, efficiency, functions of market and government intervention amongst other things. In preparing for this essay you should read as widely as possible. As a first step you should read Chapters 1 – 7 of your text to get a good understanding of the relevant economic theories. Note also that although this is primarily a microeconomic case study, you are free to consider (but not essential) relevant macroeconomic theories/issues where appropriate.
Essay guide, format and word limit
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