CQUniversity’s geographic footprint covers a range of resource and service industries, with associated needs for economics research to provide insights into issues such as regional development and resource management. Consequently, economics is an important discipline in CQUniversity’s research profile. The discipline is housed in the School of Business and Law where the involvement of economists in research provides links back to economics teaching into accounting, business, finance and property degree programs.

The level of economics research has grown steadily over the past decade. This represents both the growth in the number of researchers and academics in the economics area, as well as the growth in the regional economy in Central Queensland. Ongoing developments in the regional economy and the challenges in managing resource growth are likely to underpin substantial research opportunities into the longer term.

The key focus of economics work is in the applied economics fields (1402), with particular emphasis in four key areas. The first is in the Environmental Economics field, particularly in non-market valuation, environmental benefit transfer and conservation auction areas. The second is in the field of recreation economics, with an emphasis on valuing outdoors recreation with travel cost and stated preference techniques. The third field is agricultural economics, where the group has specialist skills in beef and sugar production economics and bio-economic modelling. The fourth is in urban and regional economics, with substantial work focused on modelling the impacts on regional communities and economies of the mining, energy and resources sectors using techniques such as input-output and housing demand models.

EI2018 – Case Study

Valuing the Great Barrier Reef – Improving Conservation and Management through Economic Modelling

CQU research has led the development of economic models and tools that has improved how public money is spent to ameliorate protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef. This has resulted in State and Federal Government program design shifts to ensure more effective pollutant reductions are achieved, leading to reductions in sediment run-off entering the reef. The research has allowed policymakers and landholders to identify which actions across regions are most cost-effective, as well as identifying why some measures and policy tools are more suitable than others. The research also measures the value which the state and national population places on the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, thus providing a justification for Government funding programs.

More information about Professor John Rolfe