Economics

The Economics Discipline at RMIT has a strong commitment to producing high-quality research which has influence in the academic community, as well as is of practical relevance to industry. Applied Economics, Economic Theory and Econometrics are key strengths of RMIT economists.

A number of themes characterise our research, including Business Behaviour, Blockchain, International Trade and Development and Placemaking Economics. Importantly, our research in each of these areas includes the domains of macroeconomics, microeconomics and international economics. The discipline also supports a large number of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates.

Staff within the economics discipline have a long tradition of applying microeconomics tools to a wide range of areas including: health and well-being, environmental and energy economics, economics of risk and uncertainty, program evaluation, behavioural economics, cultural economics and sports economics. There are approximately 40 economists working within the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing.

Similarly, our activities in the domain of macroeconomics are wide ranging and includes public sector economics, monetary policy and inflation, economic crises, history of economic thought, institutional economics, tax policy and political economy.

Our interests in international economic applications include international trade, economic growth, foreign aid effectiveness, the impact of remittances, micro-finance and financial literacy.

In addition we also have strengths in statistical modelling and econometrics. Specific areas of expertise include panel data econometrics, time-series econometrics and forecasting.

Our group is particularly known for its services to the profession, industry and government.  We provide channels for knowledge exchange through which applied economics research isare disseminated directly to users. RMIT Economists place great emphasis on these roles given the applied focus of their research.

For further information about this research group contact the Head of Department, Dr Ashton de Silva via ashton.desilva@rmit.edu.au.

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Blockchain Innovation Hub

The Blockchain Innovation Hub consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers in economics, political-economy, organisational theory, law, sociology, politics and communications. Key areas of focus include crypto-economics, business strategy and adaptation to blockchain technologies, mapping the blockchain economy, and identifying the public policy challenges that will hold back or accelerate this economic revolution.

Latest Achievements

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Professor Sefa Churchill has been awarded a DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) by the Australian Research Council.

The grant is worth over $300,000, which will support Professor Churchill to investigate energy poverty and policy responses in Australia.

Recent Projects

Project Case Study 1:

How societal data is improving financial well-being

Understanding the impacts of well-being is an important focus area for RMIT’s Societal Economics Group. Recognising that well-being is complex, RMIT economists have teamed up with NGOs, government departments as well as academics across various institutions to reveal important insights.

This is typified by a recent joint project with the Brotherhood of St Laurence as well as leading academics from Australian National University and University of Tasmania to explore the potential use of information housed within the Department of Social Services.This project received category 1 funding from the Australian Housing Urban Research Institute to explore the Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) program.

The potential of the data was mapped providing valuable insights including that a considerable number of people received CRA payments either for less than 120 days or more than 15 years.

This investigation has been complemented by many other projects; this includes a recent special issue on Financial Capabilities and Wellbeing in Economic Papers which was noted by ASIC for being a: “… collection of important research with a strong emphasis on practical application of learnings that make a real difference to people seeking to improve their financial circumstances and to those who are trying to help them to do this.”[1]

 

Project Case Study 2:

How communication can enhance sustainable resource use

The scarcity of common resources, such as water, is set to become a more pressing and global problem in the future. How do we help better and fairer use of our shared resources?  To find out, Professor Robert Hoffmann formed a project with international partners (page 36) that was funded by NESTA, the UK’s innovation agency for social good. The team used an online experiment using a custom-built experimental environment called “The Grid”. They wanted to see if they could reduce overexploitation of common resources by improving social connectivity within large groups: Would connected people be more likely to act in the best interests of their wider community, rather than themselves as individuals?

They found that communication and ties between people enhanced sustainable resource use and that these two factors mutually reinforce one another. However, external shocks reduced the ability of participants to stay within the threshold.

The policy implication of this project is that local communities can find ways to harness their collective intelligence to sustain their resources. Weak ties, where people are connected to others through mutual acquaintances are a powerful tool for spreading vital environmental information. Communication transmits not only information but also reinforces the social norms of using resources responsibly. The team are currently developing their software to explore other scenarios and factors in common resource use.

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Our Research Programs

Broad research specialisations covering economics and finance include microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, finance, capital markets and financial institutions, financial instruments, international finance, risk management, international monetary economics and industrial economics.

Masters by Research

PhD (Economics, Finance & Marketing)

Contact

Visit us

Address: Building 80, 445 Swanston Street, Melbourne,  VIC-3000
Location: Melbourne City campus , Building 80
Hours:
 Monday - Friday 9:00 - 17:00

Postal address

School of Economics, Finance and Marketing
GPO Box 2476
Melbourne 3001, Victoria, Australia

RMIT Connect

Information for current College of Business and Law students.

Address: Building 80, Level 7, 445 Swanston Street, Melbourne,  VIC, 3000
Phone: +61 3 9925 5000
Hours: Monday - Thursday: 9am - 5pm,  Friday: 10am - 5pm

People

Key contacts at the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing.

Meet our people

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.