Real World Economics

11 March 2014
Real world economics team
RWE Team

Real World Economics (RWE) is an organisation formed under the umbrella of Make A Difference with Economics (MADE). MADE was established in 2010 by Rhema Vaithianathan in the Department of Economics. MADE is open to economics students of all levels and aims to help students learn how to take economics from the classroom into the community.

RWE seeks to help students apply their economics knowledge to an environment that they would not normally experience in conventional lectures. Though RWE is primarily for economics students, several students from other departments and faculties have been involved.

Aaron Krebs and Abbas Al-Murrani are executive members of the RWE Team. They describe RWE as “Different from lectures in the way that it allows students to locate a problem or issue in New Zealand and then attempt to solve this problem. Too often students are unsure of how to apply the predominantly theoretical ideas of economics.”

After locating several related problems or issues, students are asked to conduct some preliminary research over the areas identified in group meetings. Students research different areas of that problem, from costs to benefits to international comparisons, over the remainder of the semester. Students then begin to turn what they have found into a report, detailing their findings and including a conclusion and some form of recommendation to a relevant government body or interest group.

The reports are then marked by several lecturers at an RWE presentation evening. The evening is a chance for groups to show off what they have achieved over the semester, as strong rivalries often develop between some of the groups. Each student is required to speak during their group’s presentation, giving them a chance to hone their public speaking skills.

The RWE projects are completely student driven. Each semester, the winning group receives a trophy. A plaque with the name of the winning team and the runner up is housed in the trophy cabinet on level zero of the Business School.

In 2013, two teams tied for first place: Education Alpha, who discussed the benefits of introducing charter schools into New Zealand; and Education Beta, who looked at a comparison of the monetary and employment prospects of graduate university students from across New Zealand over the main faculties.