ECON7021 Research Assignment
COVID-19: Macroeconomic Impact
Assessment Task Analyse the macroeconomic impact of and policy response to the
COVID-19 pandemic for Singapore.
Weighting 40% of Course (100 marks reweighted to 40%)
Word Limit 1500 words excluding coversheet and Section 5: References.
Due Date 27th May 2021, 2 PM
Marking Rubric Blackboard > Assessment > ECON7021 Research Assignment >
Submission Turnitin via course Blackboard site (see below for further guidance)
Academic Integrity UQ has strict rules against cheating, including _colluding with other
students on individual assessment items_. You must read and be
familiar with these rules.
(Please refer to PPL 3.60.04 Student Integrity and Misconduct)
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most countries to rigorously pursue social distancing
practices, close borders for international travel, and to shut down business venues for
public gatherings such as cafés, restaurants, gyms and cinemas.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook Update for January
2021 estimated economic growth for 2020 at -3.5% (compared to a 0.1% global contraction
during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis). Governments and central banks around the
world have taken various policy actions to limit the contraction of their economies on the
one hand, and to speed up their recovery on the other.
The IMF projects the world economy to grow 5.5% in 2021, but also noted that _[t]he
strength of the recovery is projected to vary signi_cantly across countries, depending on…
e_ectiveness of [_scal and monetary] policy support, exposure to cross-country spillovers,
and structural characteristics entering the crisis._ The World Economic Outlook Update
further noted that _[p]olicy actions should ensure e_ective support until the recovery is
You are required to:
- Asssess the macroeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country of
- Evaluate the e_ectiveness of Singapore’s policy responses.
Your essay can include the following illustrative features:
_ Up to _ve (5) _gures (diagrams, graphs or tables) in total. You can use a mixture of
diagrams, graphs and tables provided the total number is no more than 5.
_ You can include more than one variable in a graph or table.
_ You must produce your own _gures, rather than _cut and paste_ from other sources.
PLEASE NOTE: You must use the essay template on
Blackboard > Assessment > ECON7021 Research Assignment > Essay Template.
The formatting requirements are:
_ Font type: Arial
_ Font size: 12
_ Line space: 1.5
_ 1500 words excluding the coversheet and references
_ Referencing style: Harvard
The essay template includes the cover sheet. You must include the cover sheet with your
submissions. A penalty will be applied if you fail to do so.
Do not write your essay on the cover page. The _rst page of your essay should be the page
after the coversheet (as it is in the template).
The following is your guide to researching and writing each section of your essay.
Word counts for each section are also suggested.
- Introduction (~100 words)
- The Economy before the Pandemic (~200 words)
Assess the macroeconomic performance of Singapore based on macroeconomic indicators
covered in this course, e.g. GDP per capita, in_ation, unemployment etc., prior to the
_ Consider a range of macroeconomic indicators rather than just one or two indicators.
_ There is no need to explain the concepts and de_nitions of commonly used
_ You could mention any economic problems that exist prior to the pandemic that may
aggravate the impact of the pandemic.
_ You could use just one year of data or multiple years of data, depending on what is
su_cient to explain the situation of the country.
For example, data of a single quarter or even a year may be a result of some idiosyncratic
factors and therefore does not re_ect the ‘true strength’ of the economy.
_ What years you consider could be restricted by the availability of data.
Your primary data sources should be:
(a) Singapore government agencies, such as:
_ Department of Statistics (link)
_ Monetary Authority of Singapore (link)
(b) Multinational agencies, e.g. the World Bank, the United Nations, the International
Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the Bank for International Settlements.
Data from secondary sources can still be used as a supplement only if those data are
not available from any primary sources. Using non-primary data can lead to loss
of marks when primary source data is available for your country.
The World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) database contains most of the
national data collected by national and multinational agencies and can be used as a primary
data source. Here are some YouTube tutorials on how to extract data from the WDI:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGJhI_YqFuI(May 7, 2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_B1t4BRQ94&t=64s (Sept 21, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKANl-ZWUTY (March 9, 2017)
_ Do not falsely claim that certain data are not readily available from a primary source
without doing your due diligence. For most data at the national level (e.g. GDP,
unemployment rate), only national or multinational agencies have the capacity to
collect those data. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that they are available from a
secondary source but not from a primary source.
_ If you use data from a source (e.g. a report) that indicates that it drew the data from
a government statistical bureau, the data is considered to have come from a secondary
source, not a primary source. However, if you go to the government statistical bureau
and extract the same data (and verify what you read is indeed accurate), then it is
considered to have come from a primary source.
_ WDI data are on annual basis. For monthly or quarterly data, you need to access
statistics directly from the country’s statistical bureaus.
- The Impacts of the COVID-19 Shocks (~600 words)
Use economic models and theories covered in this course (e.g. AD-AS model, neoclassical
growth model, etc) to explain how the pandemic a_ects the demand and supply side of the
_ You could discuss how the government’s non-economic responses to the pandemic
(e.g. social distancing, closing the borders) and how it a_ects the economy.
_ You could contrast the economic e_ects of di_erent shocks (COVID-19 vs 2008 Global
Financial Crisis or the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis) by comparing the growth rate of
di_erent indicators (growth, GDP growth, unemployment, etc) at the ‘peak’ of the
_ This Monetary of Singapore report might be a useful (but hopefully not your only)
resource for this section of the essay.
- The Policy Responses (~600 words)
Outline the key _scal and monetary policy actions of Singapore against the COVID-19
shocks, and use appropriate macroeconomic models and theories covered in this course to
explain their expected impacts. Discuss any limitations of these policy actions.
_ As a small open economy with high levels of capital mobility, interest rates in Singapore
are largely determined in international _nancial markets.
_ Given limited ability to e_ectively manage interest rates in the Singapore economy,
the Monetary Authority of Singapore (which takes on the role of a central bank in
the Singapore _nancial system) uses exchange rates (as opposed to interest rates) as
the instrument of monetary policy.
_ Please refer to the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s website for an
overview of monetary policy in the country.
_ This paper is also a very readable and short primer on monetary policy in Singapore.
(Highly recommended that you read this.)
_ The IMF Policy Tracker records the policy responses to COVID-19 by country.
Also refer to Singaporean government and media sources to ensure that you have
taken recent policy announcements into consideration. (For example, the
Singapore Government Budget for 2021 has just been announced.)
_ If there are many policy actions, you could list all of them but focus on the key
ones for discussion.
_ The government may take multiple actions (e.g. subsidising _rms; providing cash
handouts to households) and each action may have di_erent impacts and
_ Fiscal and monetary policy actions have di_erent limitations (e.g. e_ect lags;
ability to target speci_c sectors). You should discuss their relative e_ectiveness
in dealing with the pandemic shocks.
_ You could discuss how the behaviours of households and businesses, and the
pre-pandemic macroeconomic conditions (e.g. very low interest rates) may a_ect
the e_ectiveness of the policy actions.
_ You could discuss the potential drawbacks of the policy actions (e.g. building up
of debts; in_ating asset bubbles).
_ You could contrast the policy actions of Singapore with some other countries if
that helps to explain the pros and cons of the policy actions of the Singapore
References and citations must be in Harvard style.
_ Use a variety of sources (rather than just one or two) and use sources that are
credible, e.g. WDI indicators by the World Bank, o_cial government websites and
_ Consult UQ’s Harvard referencing style guide.
_ You must reference sources that you use for your text, graphs or tables.
_ You must reference even when you have paraphrased the original content.
_ If you directly quote the original content word by word, it must be in quotation
_ When to paraphrase and when to quote? This guide from the University of Adelaide
may be useful to you.
Submitting Your Assignment
_ Your essay must be submitted through Turnitin on Blackboard to check for plagiarism.
While most instances of plagiarism are unintentional (e.g. forgot to close a
quotation mark), any form of plagiarism (intentional or unintentional) will be revealed
in the originality report.
From the originality report, the marker will check whether any part of your essay is
considered as having potentially plagiarised from other sources, rather than a similarity
index value or colour. Therefore, you are expected to carefully check the originality
report before your _nal submission.
_ After uploading your essay, you must press the con_rm button. If you do not
receive an email con_rmation from ITS upon your submission, it means that your
submission has failed and you must resubmit your essay. UQ ITS rule: No email
con_rmation, no submission.
_ The deadline for submission is based on the time your assignment has been successfully
uploaded on Turnitin as recorded by Turnitin, not the time you tried to upload it.
_ Many students fail to meet the deadline because they have internet connection problems
on their side but they mistake it as an IT problem of UQ. If UQ has any internet
connection problems, there will be a record of it.
_ The only way to guarantee not missing the deadline is to submit your assignment well
before the deadline.
_ The word length for each section is suggestive only. You are allowed to exercise
discretion in deciding the length of each section, provided that your total word count
is within the set word limit.
_ Having more in-text citations and references will reduce the number of words for
the main body, but having too few in-text citations and references will reduce the
credibility of the essay. Therefore, you need to balance the two.
_ There is a penalty if the number of words exceeds the word limit (see Rubric for
details). Where the number of words exceeds the limit signi_cantly, e.g. 10% or 150
words, then besides the penalty as speci_ed in the Rubric, the marker may not read
the last 150 words before the Reference section.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why do we need to
do this assignment?
To excel in the workplace, professional economists need to
be able to: analyse problems; identify potential
solutions and their limitations; _nd, extract and
organise good quality and relevant data; and present
_ndings precisely and concisely. This assignment aims to
provide you with an opportunity to develop these skills.
Why can’t I use
more than _ve
Consultant reports are typically very concise so that
(busy) readers can focus on the most relevant information.
As the number of _gures is limited to no more than _ve,
you need to think carefully about where to use them to
maximise the overall impact of the essay.
Why can’t I cut
and paste _gures
from other sources?
This is part of real-world training on how to extract and
organise data, and present _ndings.
If I want to include
a graph, how
should I do this?
Insert your graph as an image, rather than as an Excel
object, in your essay.
How should I
include a diagram
in my essay?
If you want to include a diagram (e.g. AD-AS model),
draw it in PowerPoint, copy it, and then paste it as an
image in your essay.
How should I cite
any data source
used for a _gure?
Include the data source below each _gure. For example:
_Source: WDI Database._
What is counted in
the 1,500 word
Everything except the coversheet and the reference section.
Figures and in-text citations are included in the 1,500
Why exceeding the
word limit is
In the real word, a submitted document that does not
follow the word limit (or other instructions) could be