A brief overview of issues related to plastic bag consumption (and their subsequent disposal) AND the current and proposed changes to policy in Australia.
Hint: As an economist, we generally start by framing the problem. We also refer to this as setting the context. In this part of your essay, you need to clearly articulate what the issue is from a societal perspective. This is not simply a case of stating “I think it is a problem because …”. You need to present and information (including data) on the impact of plastic bag pollution etc. and the proposed changes to policy.
2. A description of the relevant economic theory to show how a plastic bag tax would decrease plastic bag consumption to a socially efficient level.
Hint: So what is the economic theory that underpins your economic analysis? We have been pretty focused on developing one key theory so far this semester. Remember that “X” marks the spot! In this case it is over consumption of a good that is potentially leading to a socially inefficient outcome. To correct for that, you can use an economic theory to demonstrate how decreasing plastic bag consumption will move the market to a socially efficient level of consumption. And yes — you will be expected to include a relevant graph of the economic theory!
In your theoretical model assume that the price of plastic bags prior to the tax is positive. (Just because plastic bags are given “free” at the checkout, does not mean that the price of a plastic bag to a customer is zero. The cost of a plastic bag, whilst small, is positive and included in the price of goods sold by the retailer).
3. A critical analysis, informed by research, as to whether a plastic bag tax will be effective in practice in correcting the market failure.
Hint: You are working with a word limit so you will need to be selective and concise with your arguments. Again, your analysis needs to be objective, we expect you to draw on appropriate academic literature and/or present empirical evidence to support your arguments about either the limitation of the proposed policy and suggest alternative policies that may be more effective or appropriate. To keep it manageable, Louisa has suggested your critical analysis should include:
ï‚· a brief discussion on the potential limitations of the plastic bag tax with reference to o an example of the plastic bag tax in practice (e.g. Ireland, Wales, South Africa etc. note this list is not exhaustive) ï‚· ONE policy alternative o keep it simple — give an overview of how the policy will work and a summary of the potential strengths and weaknesses of that policy. Note, you are not required to say that the alternative policy is better than a plastic bag tax — simply that it addresses the problem in a different way.
Louisa also recommends that: ï‚· you write an unbiased informed critical economic essay and not a political document ï‚· your essay is academically rigorous with references to relevant data and academic literature ï‚· 2. setting the context ... 200 words. 3. a description of the relevant economic model... 425 words 4. a critical analysis of the key arguments ... 425 words 5. conclusion ...100 REFRENCES: ï‚· Academic journals ï‚· University working papers/publications ï‚· Government and related departments/organisations reports (e.g. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)) ï‚· International economic organisations articles and reports (e.g. OECD, United Nations and World Bank) ï‚· 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 etc. 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: ï‚· newspaper reports ï‚· magazines articles ï‚· non-peer reviewed articles and reports (be careful of private consultation reports, political papers etc.) ï‚· subject-based dictionaries and/or glossaries (including Wikipedia) ï‚· 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 nonscholarly 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, The Conversation (online)).