Brief overview of issues related to over consumption

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Reference no: EM131477684 , Length: word count:1400


You are on a work integrated learning experience at Colgate-Palmolive Australia Head Office in Sydney. Over a morning tea break you discover that you are not the only student working there from there. There are students from a diverse range of undergraduate programmes including process engineering, business (majoring in marketing, accounting, human resource management and advertising) and property economics. Everyone was a bit bemused as to what the student from property economics was working on. They had secured a placement assisting the finance team with asset valuation for the purposes of negotiating a better deal on insurance for the commercial properties the company owns.

One of the group walks over to the sink and notices a bottle of liquid antibacterial hand wash. They mention that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned several key chemicals which are in liquid and bar antibacterial soaps including triclosan and triclocarban. Not everyone in the room understood the rationale for the ban, but a quick google search (thank goodness for smart phones) pulls up a couple of articles. These reported there were concerns from scientists that triclosan and triclocarban may be contributing to reduced antibiotic resistance and the rise of so- called multidrug resistance bacteria (also sometimes referred to in the media as superbugs) (Chettle, 2016 and Hartmann, 2017).

Someone in the group thinks that this is all just media hype and over-reaction. However, you happen to be a bit of an expert (you had been following the Facebook page BSB113 Connected and it had piqued your interest in a broad range of economic and social issues).You take the floor. You explain that antibiotic resistance is a subset of a wider problem called Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Estimates of the costs of AMR, if it continues on its present trajectory are 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050 (surpassing deaths from cancer) and costs upwards of $100 trillion (Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, 2014).

The conversation then takes a different turn. It is time to play the blame game. In economics speak that is code for analysing the economics behind the problem (e.g. what economic theories/model explain how we got to this point). You mention that you remember that the lecturer in BSB113 had used a simple partial equilibrium diagram to demonstrate how a negative externality in consumption would result in over consumption of a good and an inefficient equilibrium above the socially optimal equilibrium. Someone in the group questions if it is in fact a negative externality in production that is the appropriate economic model. A negative externality in production also results in an inefficient equilibrium above the socially optimal equilibrium. Their rational is that a key contributor to AMR is clinicians over-prescribing antibiotics (Van Boeckel, et al., 2014). A discussion follows and it is concluded that the clinician is effectively an agent for the patient. That is, the clinician prescribes a drug to be consumed by a patient and this is captured in the demand curve.

Next, the discussion turns to policy solutions. You add more information to an already complex problem. Antibiotic over-consumption extends further than clinical prescriptions of antibiotics to humans. It is estimated that over one-half of the antibiotics consumed in the U.S. are in food animal production (Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotic, 2012). Someone notes that this does not change the economic model, but it does mean that policy solutions to move the market in antibiotics to a socially efficient level of consumption will be different depending on which subset of "consumers" the policy is targeted at (OECD, 2016).

Research task

Your musings were overheard by the visiting Johnson and Johnson CEO. The CEO was impressed by your insights and has asked that you write him an economic analysis of the over consumption of antibiotics.

You email your unit coordinator for Economics desperate for some help. Louisa suggests breaking your report down as follows:

1. A brief overview of issues related to over consumption of antibiotics.
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 an informed context (which is informed by published research (not the Courier Mail) and data). This may include (i) the impact of the over consumption of antibiotics, including direct and indirect estimates of economic costs, global deaths etc. (ii) the sources of over consumption and (ii) the worst over consumers of antibiotics (e.g. by country or group). Note the case that you make in this section provides the basis for economic policy solutions you will present in part 3.

2. A description of the relevant economic theory to explain the effects of over consumption of antibiotics on economic efficiency.
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 antibiotic consumption will move the market to a socially efficient level of consumption. You will need to explain in economic terminology what has been gained by moving to the social efficient level of consumption. And yes - you will be expected to include a relevant graph!

3. A critical analysis, informed by research, as to effective policies to reduce antibiotic consumption to achieve the socially optimal level of antibiotic consumption.

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. To keep it manageable, Louisa has suggested your critical analysis should include:

- TWO targeted policies to reduce antibiotic consumption. Policies may be price or non-price policies as appropriate.

- This part of your essay requires you to understand that the problem of over consumption of antibiotics is multi-faceted and has be targeted from a number of angles. Having said that, keep it simple. Give an overview of the policy, how it will work to reduce antibiotic consumption and a summary of the potential strengths and weaknesses of that policy. Note, you are not required to say that either policy is better than the other.

Recommends that:

- you write an unbiased informed critical economic essay and not a political document - your essay is academically rigorous with references to relevant data and academic literature - you do not get drawn into reporting emotive arguments (interesting as they are).

Note that there is a list of references provided in the "background" section to this document. This is not an exhaustive list of references. You are also expected to research the literature yourself (refer to the Criterion Reference Assessment (CRA)) table at the end of this document).

Instructions for research essay

Your audience's background knowledge in economics

Whilst the CEO of Johnston and Johnston does not have any formal economics training, he has picked up an understanding of economic theory and terminology. He is regularly exposed to documents drafted by economists and follows contemporary economic analysis in the media. For example, he is a regular reader of publications such as The Economist and takes a keen interest in economic articles published by economists for a wider audience in The Conversation (online) and Australian Policy Online.

Informed critical content
You are required to include a range of relevant scholarly sources that supports the flow and critical content of the discussion. All sources cited must be referenced using APA style.

If in doubt about how to cite and reference a source please seek help from the subject librarian.

Maximum word length
Your research essay has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list - but inclusive of in-text citations). A suggested word count breakdown (to get you started) is presented below for the breakdown of the research essay task (you may deviate from this is practice):
1. introduction .... 100 words
2. setting the context ... 300 words.
3. a description of the relevant economic model... 400 words
4. a critical analysis of the key arguments ... 500 words
5. conclusion ...100 words

Note that your report should include both an introduction and conclusion and should be in proportion to the length of the narrative being written (in other words don't overdo it in the intro or conclusion as that means less words for the important bits).

The above word count is a starting point. Your actual word count for each section will be specific to your individual essay (informed by the weighting in the criteria reference assessment table at the end of this document).

Presentation and submission
It is expected that you will present your document in the form of a short essay.

No appendices are allowed. If appendices are submitted they will be disregarded by the marker.

You are advised of the following stylistic requirements:

- use font type Arial, font size 10 (minimum)
- line spacing should be single or no greater than1.25
- margins should be set at 2.3cm
- all diagrams should be reproduced either by hand or imbedded in your document using a draw tool. For example, Paint or the draw tool in Word,1 or Excel. If you draw the diagrams by hand you will need to scan them so they can be incorporated in your SafeAssign submission. Cutting and pasting of diagrams from other documents is not acceptable and will be marked as copying (refer to CRA).
- all pages should be numbered (bottom footer right hand side) and include your student number (top header, right hand side)
- include a title page. This should include your name, student number and tutor's name.

Reference no: EM131477684

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4/28/2017 7:22:56 AM

Descriptions should be quantified and/or relative to a comparable benchmark. For example: • instead of saying “there was a massive increase in China’s economic growth” you would phrase it as “China’s economic growth, as measured by GDP, increased by X% over the period (include citation of where your evidence came from)”. • instead of saying “GDP in China was better than everyone else’s” you would phrase it “GDP in China increased by X%. In comparison it fell by X% in USA and X% in the UK (include citation of where your evidence came from).” Tables and figures in themselves do nothing to enhance an argument unless they are clear AND explained AND interpreted by you for the reader. When inserting a table or figure into your work it is good practice to give each a number (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1) and title it (the title should describe what the table or figure is presenting) and refer to the table or figure number explicitly in the text. Place the table or figure as near to the paragraph that you are going to discuss it in (either directly above or below).


4/28/2017 7:22:13 AM

Your writing style needs to be clear and efficient (after all you only have 1400 words). Some key advice would be: • remember structure in writing - introduce, discuss and conclude. • use short sentences - long sentences lose the reader. • one argument/idea per paragraph. This assessment is a formal academic piece of writing. The words and language style you use will convey this. Language used should be appropriate. Things to avoid include informal language, shorthand or colloquialisms. A short check list of advice would include: • use “do not” instead “don’t” • use “cannot” instead of “can’t” • write in the third person – avoid using personal pronouns. For example: “Research shows that ….” rather than “I think that …”.

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