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Course 2020-2021 a.y.

30403 - MICROECONOMICS

BEMACS
Department of Economics

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 25

BEMACS (8 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:
MARISTELLA BOTTICINI

Classes: 25 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 25: MARISTELLA BOTTICINI


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

Students learn how to think about the myriad of real-world economic (and noneconomic) issues through the lens of microeconomic analysis. The elegant and powerful tools of microeconomic theory endows students with an analytical mindset and a strong quantitative preparation, which forms the building block for understanding the foundations of microeconomic analysis . The course combines mathematical rigor as well as a 360-degree vision of real-world economic and social phenomena to address fascinating questions about human behavior in economic and noneconomic settings.

CONTENT SUMMARY
  • The beauty of Microeconomics; how to think like an economist; calculus review.
  • Demand and supply; prices; market equilibrium; elasticity.
  • Choice theory: preferences, constraints, constrained consumer choice.
  • Demand functions; substitution and income effects.
  • Consumption and leisure choice; labor supply.
  • Consumption and savings choice.
  • Choice under risk.
  • Game theory.
  • Firms and production.
  • Firm's costs.
  • Profit maximization.
  • Perfect competition.
  • Monopoly; price discrimination; natural monopoly.
  • Oligopoly (Cournot, Bertrand, Stackelberg models; cartels).
  • Monopolistic competition.
  • General equilibrium and welfare.
  • Externalities and public goods.
  • Asymmetric information (brief overview).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Acquire analytical skills to study many real-world phenomena through the eyes of Microeconomics.
  • Develop the ability to write an economic model.
  • Understand the choice behavior of individuals, households, workers, firms, and governments through markets and nonmarket interactions.
  • Apply the economic way of thinking to several other fields outside economics, including anthropology, biology, demography, history, medicine, political science, and sociology.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Compare the theoretical predictions of models and the empirical evidence on economic outcomes.
  • Develop a problem-solving attitude.
  • Develop team-building skills and the ability of working in teams.
  • Learn to communicate in a clear and concise way.
  • Learn to deliver the expected outcomes and meet deadlines.
  • Develop the ability to think rigorously, analytically, and creatively at the same time.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS

We have designed a course that enables students to acquire a profound understanding of both the theoretical underpinnings of Microeconomics and its myriad applications to the real world. To accomplish this goal, the course is built around these building blocks (aka, pillars):

 

  • Theory Lectures

Understanding Microeconomics is about learning the models and the theoretical framework through a combination of mathematical tools and economic intuition. In the theory lectures we will learn together a series of concepts, models, graphs, algebra- and calculus-driven analysis.

 

  • Individual Homeworks

Students will be assigned 12 individual homeworks (roughly one per week) on the MyEconLab platform.

  • The platform will automatically grade the homeworks and explain the solutions.  
  • All Homeworks with their deadlines will be available at the beginning of the course.
  • No late homeworks will be accepted. You should learn to meet deadlines --- a critical skill during your future career.
  • We ask students to work on their own on these homeworks to develop an important skill: being able to solve a problem on your own---something that you will find very helpful in many occasions during your career (and life in general!).

 

  • Group Problem Sets

There will be 5 problem sets that students are asked to solve in groups of 3 or 4.

  • Working with fellow students endows each of you with team-working skills that are valuable assets in many working environments. Plus, this is one of the best ways to get to know your peers and develop friendships.
  • Problem sets will be uploaded as Assignments in Blackboard.
  • Group problem sets must be typed in LaTex software. During the first two weeks, we will hold a mini-crash LaTex course for those who do not know this program. Learning LaTex will turn out to be a very valuable asset for your career at the university and later on.
  • Instructions on how to submit your group problem sets will be given in a separate file.
  • The deadlines to upload your files with the answers are listed in the course calendar below. No late problem sets will be accepted. Again, you should learn to meet deadlines --- a critical skill during your future career.

 

  • Discussion Room

To encourage interaction among instructors and students, through Blackboard you will be able to access the weekly Discussion Room in which the instructors will answer questions of general interest and offer insights on current events through the eyes of Microeconomics.

 

  • Students’ Forum

To encourage intense interactions among students, an online Forum will be available through Blackboard and students can freely talk and discuss any relevant matters.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
  • Oral individual exam
  •   x x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the learning outcomes mentioned above, the students’ assessment is based on the following components:

    • 10% of the grade  ---  10 to 15 individual homework on the MyEconLab platform aimed to learn the applications of the theoretical concepts to real-life and practical examples.
    • 10% of the grade  ---    5 group problem sets aimed to acquire sophisticated analytical skills applied to economic problems and the ability to work in groups.
    • 40% of the grade  ---    a (3-hour) partial exam consisting of problems and exercises aimed to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course, to solve and explain microeconomics models, to conduct comparative statics analysis, and to solve constrained optimization problems applied to a variety of economic and non-economic settings. The exam will also include short statements to discuss, aimed to assess students’ ability to articulate economic reasoning and to evaluate the potential effects of a given policy change and the trade-offs involved in a given choice.
    • 40%  of the grade  ---    a (3-hour) final exam consisting of problems and exercises aimed to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course, to solve and explain microeconomics models, to conduct comparative statics analysis, and to solve constrained optimization problems applied to a variety of economic and non-economic settings. The exam will also include short statements to discuss, aimed to assess students’ ability to articulate economic reasoning and to evaluate the potential effects of a given policy change and the trade-offs involved in a given choice.

     

     


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    We have carefully searched to find a book that combines a rigorous mathematical treatment of Microeconomics together with many applications and real-world examples. Here is the relevant information:

     

    • J. PERLOFF, Microeconomics with Calculus plus MyEconLab with Pearson eText, Global Edition, New York and London, Pearson, 4th edition, August 2017. ISBN 9781292162744

     

    In addition, the MyEconLab platform (for the individual homework assignments) and the slides of the course are essential material to prepare well for the course.

    Last change 20/07/2020 16:38