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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The primary aim of this module is to introduce students to the fundamentals of modern market-oriented microeconomic analysis. The economic way of thinking introduced in this module involves the use of key concepts and models to help students to begin to understand how a complex real world micro-economy operates. The module aims to train students to think in terms of alternatives, to understand the cost of individual and firms choices and provide general frameworks to understand key microeconomic concepts and issues.


The question of what is economics is explored. In answering this question emphasis is placed on the importance of key concepts such as scarcity, individual decision-making, trade-offs and opportunity cost. Students are also introduced to the distinctions between microeconomics vs macroeconomics and normative vs positive economics. Markets as a means of organising economic activity are examined. The model of supply and demand is used to understand how market equilibrium prices and quantities are determined. You not only learn how equilibrium is determined, but how relative prices are used by consumers and suppliers to make decisions about the use of societys scarce resources. Supply and demand curves are used to explain the movements of prices and the allocation of resources in a market economy such as ours. Government intervention in the market via the introduction of price ceilings (maximum price) and price floors (minimum price) are also examined. The sensitivity of demand and supply to changes in key variables such as price and income is analysed through measures of elasticity. Individual decisions are looked at in detail to show how they come together to form the demand curve. Consumer choice using indifference curve analysis is introduced. Shifting the focus back to the market process the latter part of the module focuses its attention on supply and costs of production. Students examine the different types of costs and how costs affect revenue and profits. Cost concepts and how they relate to a perfectly competitive firms supply decision are examined. At the other end of the competitive spectrum is the complete absence of market competition. This situation of monopoly (single priced vs price discrimination monopolists) is also studied in detail.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

At the end of this module, you will be able to: (1) Construct frameworks (primarily by drawing economic models/diagrams/ figures) which provide insights into how a complex real world micro-economy operates; (2) Solve basic mathematical problems using economic variables (e.g. relating to demand and supply; elasticity and a price discriminating monopolist); (3) Analyse economic problems and issues through the mastery of key economic concepts and development of an economic way of thinking in terms of alternatives and the cost of individual (consumer theory) and firms (producer theory) choices; (4) Manipulate basic economic constructs (e.g. demand & supply diagrams) so as to understand how market equilibrium prices and quantities are determined and change; (5) Analyse how cost and revenue variables impact upon firms price and output decisions in different market contexts, mainly Perfect Competition and Monopoly (6) Apply market principles and systems to analyse contemporary global economic issues from a microeconomic perspective e.g., the soaring price of oil (2008), the international food crisis, global warming and environmental degradation, taxation issues and more.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)


Psychomotor (Physical Skills)


How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

Students are also required to partake in the economics æE-LearningÆ system that accompanies the prime text. Students complete practice tests on line (completing these practice tests is a good way for students to monitor their understanding of the subject material) as well as real (graded) tests on-line in weeks 3,5,7 and 9 of the semester. A key feature of the module is that students are actively involved throughout. To this end, students attend weekly lectures and tutorials and undertake on-line tests; write an in-class essay and are required also to undertake an end of term examination comprising multiple choice and short answer questions. All of these learning by doing experiences equip students with the techniques necessary to identify and appraise critical issues in microeconomics.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Not applicable

Prime Texts:

Mankiw,NG and Taylor, MP (2007) Microeconomics , Thomson Learning

Other Relevant Texts:

Parkin, M., Powell and K. Matthews (2006) Economics:Microeconomics , Pearson Education, Essex
Boyes, W. and M. Melvin (2005) Economics (6th Edition) , Houghton Mifflin

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Autumn - 08/09

Module Leader: