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Learning Objectives

This course provides an introduction to a core area of economics known as microeconomics at an intermediate level. It considers the operation of a market economy and the problem of how best to allocate society's scarce resources. The course considers the way in which various decision making units in the economy (individuals and firms) make their consumption and production choices and how these decisions are coordinated. It considers the laws of supply and demand, and introduces the theory of the firm, and its components, production and cost theories and an important model of market structure such as the perfect competition. It is presented the trade-off involving time and risk, the main issues relative to economics of information, and market failures, in particular, externalities and public goods.


By the end of this course students should:

•- understand the basic elements of the theory of demand, supply and equilibrium;
• be able to apply the theory of maximising agents to firms and consumers;
• be capable to understand the importance of perfect competition market structure;
• be able to understand the importance of perfect competition market structure also for social welfare;
• understand the basic role of time, uncertainty and imperfect information in analysing
economic incentives.


Fundamental economic concepts together with some quantitative methods are necessary tools for conducting economic analysis, but the ability to critically integrate these tools into logical decision-making constructs is the overarching goal of the course. Students and future graduates will be able to apply economic concepts, together with quantitative methods and technical information relating to the decision environment, to assist policy makers and target groups in evaluating economic trade-offs and in making rational economic decisions. Students will also be capable of analysing and evaluating broad economic and social problems concerning the allocation of individual, firm and social resources within their specific degree interest area.


This course aims to develop students’ abilities to construct and sustain an argument using the phrases and concepts that economists use in their debates. A theoretical framework is developed in which students acquire an understanding of how economic agents interact and by doing so develop the literacy and verbal communication skills necessary for presenting arguments of an economic nature.


On the successful completion of the course students will be able to:
- explain how competitive markets organise the allocation of scarce resources and the distribution of goods and services;
- relate the basic economic theory and principles to current microeconomic issues and evaluate related public policy;
- use economic models to analyse a situation in terms of economics: interpret charts, graphs, and tables and use the information to make informed judgments;
- work and learn independently and with others;
- communicate their knowledge and understanding of economic issues using written, verbal and visual expression;
- evaluate outcomes based on the costs and benefits involved.



Basic mathematical knowledge: e. g. first and second order equations, single and multivariable functions, infinitesimal calculus (derivatives and optimization constrained and unconstrained). These tools will be re-examined during the practice lectures.


• The Principles and Practice of Economics
• Economic Methods and Economic Main Questions
• Optimization in Economics
• Demand, Supply, and Equilibrium
• Consumers and Incentives
• Sellers and Incentives
• Perfect Competition and the Invisible Hand
• Externalities and Public Goods
• Trade-offs Involving Time and Risk
• The Economics of Information


Main manual
-D. Acemoglu, D. Laibson e J. A. List Economics- Pearson (second edition 2018)
Chapters 1-7, 9, 15-6.
For a focus on methodology
-H. Varian Intermediate Microeconomics: a modern approach. Norton Eds
Chapters 4-6, 8-10, 19-21.

Teaching methods

ectures. Practice lectures held by a teaching assistent.

Exam Rules

Written exam consisting in open questions, multiple choice quizzes and exercises.
Oral exam: discussion about the written exam paper.

The final grade will be related to 70% to the degree of knowledge and 30% to the expressive ability and autonomous judgment demonstrated by the student

Failed: significant errors and inaccuracies in knowledge and understanding of the topics. Limited capacity for analysis and synthesis, especially in the answers to open questions. Inability to identify the requested topic and/or limited critical and judgment skills with an inadequate organization of the time available to respond to the requests. The arguments are presented inconsistently and through the use of poor economic language.

18-20: just sufficient knowledge and understanding of the topics with possible generalizations and inaccuracies. Sufficient capacity for synthesis analysis and autonomy of judgment. The arguments are frequently exposed in an inconsistent way with limited organization of the time available to respond to what is requested and with inappropriate/technical language from an economic point of view.

21-23: more than sufficient knowledge and understanding of the topics. Ability to correct analysis and synthesis with sufficiently coherent logical argument. More than adequate time organization, and technical language from an economic point of view only partially appropriate.

24-26: good knowledge and understanding of the topics, good skills of analysis and synthesis with rigorously expressed arguments, a good organization of time, but with a language that is not always appropriate/technical from an economic point of view.

27- 29: complete knowledge and understanding of the topics but with slight inaccuracies or omissions. Remarkable skills in analysis and synthesis. Good organization of time and good autonomy of judgment. Subjects are exposed rigorously and with appropriate/technical language from an economic point of view.

30- 30 L: excellent level of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the topics. Excellent skills in analysis, synthesis, time organization, and independent judgment. Arguments are expressed in an original way and with appropriate technical language from an economic point of view.