30403  MICROECONOMICS
Department of Economics
MARISTELLA BOTTICINI
Mission & Content Summary
MISSION
CONTENT SUMMARY
 The beauty of microeconomics. How to think like an economist. Models and data.
 Rational choice theory
 Budget and time constraints
 How to model tastes: indifference curves and utility functions
 The consumer problem: constrained optimal choice
 Deriving uncompensated demand functions
 Price, income, and crossprice elasticities
 Expenditure function; deriving compensated demand functions
 Substitution and income effects
 Leisure versus labor choice; the labor supply
 Intertemporal choice; the saving and borrowing functions
 Choice under uncertainty; lotteries, expected utility, risk attitudes; insurance
 Game theory and its applications (Nash equilibrium; subgame perfect equilibrium)
 Firm theory: Production and costs
 Cost minimization and profit maximization
 Equilibrium in perfectly competitive markets
 Market interventions in competitive markets: welfare analysis
 Monopoly. Price discrimination. Natural monopoly.
 Monopolistic competition
 Oligopoly (Cournot and Bertrand models; cartels and collusion)
 General equilibrium analysis. Pareto efficiency. Welfare theorems.
 Externalities and public goods. Free riding problem.
 The journey through microeconomics: takehome message
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
 Acquire a profound knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of Microeconomics and its myriad applications to the real world.
 Develop the ability to write an economic model, in particular to understand the choice behavior of individuals, households, workers, firms, and governments through markets and nonmarket interactions.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
 Compare the theoretical predictions of models and the empirical evidence on economic outcomes.
 Apply the economic way of thinking to other fields outside economics, including anthropology, biology, demography, history, medicine, political science, and sociology.
 Develop a problemsolving attitude.
 Develop teambuilding and teamworking skills in a multicultural environment.
 Learn to communicate in a clear and concise way.
 Learn to set priorities, meet deadlines, and deliver the expected outcomes.
 Develop the ability to think rigorously, analytically, and creatively at the same time.
Teaching methods
 Lectures
 Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
 Practical Exercises
 Individual works / Assignments
 Collaborative Works / Assignments
DETAILS
We have designed a course that enables students to acquire a profound understanding of 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:
 Theory Lectures and Review Sessions
Understanding Microeconomics is about learning models and the theoretical framework through a combination of mathematical tools and economic intuition. In the theory lectures and the review sessions we learn together a series of concepts, models, graphs, and calculusdriven analysis that help us analyze myriads of economic and noneconomic issues through the lens of economic analysis.
Skills acquired:
 think in a general and abstract way
 develop logical reasoning
 mix mathematical rigor and economic intuition
 acquire problem solving skills
 Individual Homeworks
Twelve individual Homeworks (roughly one per week) are assigned through the Smartworks platform. The platform automatically grades the homeworks and explains the solutions.
Skills acquired:
 setting priorities and meeting deadlines
 problem solving attitude
 Individual Problem Sets
Four Problem Sets are assigned. Before the end of the semester, each student will have to submit the solutions of ONE problem set to be typed in LaTex (the choice of which of the four problem sets to submit is left to the student).
Skills acquired:
 setting priorities and meeting deadlines
 problem solving attitude
 learning to write documents in LaTex
 Group Presentations
Four additional readings taken from academic journals will be assigned to groups of 3 or 4 students. For each of the four readings, each group will work together and prepare a 3slide presentation to be uploaded through the Blackboard platform. Some groups will be randomly selected and will present the slides to the class with a lively debate following.
Skills acquired:
 team working and multicultural attitude
 leadership skills
 thinking critically
 ability to express a lot of content in a brief yet exhaustive way
 presentation skills
 Final Essay
Each student will write a final essay titled “Thinking Like an Economist” in which he/she will explain how one or more concepts and tools learned in the Microeconomics course helps him/her see an issue or a problem through different eyes  the eyes of an economist. The issue or problem may deal with economic matters but not necessarily  be creative is the guiding motto of this final essay.
Skills acquired:
 creative thinking
 rigorous reasoning
 critical analysis
 writing skills
Assessment methods
Continuous assessment  Partial exams  General exam  


x  x  

x  

x  

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ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
There is no difference between attending and nonattending students. The material, the workload, the requirements, and the evaluation based on homeworks, problem sets, and exams, are identical for each student, attending and nonattending.
With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the learning outcomes mentioned above, students' assessment is based on the following criteria and weights:
Grades are based on the X/30 cum laude scale with the minimum passing overall grade being 18/30.
 For students taking the Midterm exam (in October) and the Second Partial exam (in January), grades are determined as follows:
10% 
12 individual Homeworks on the SmartWorks platform 
10% 
4 group Presentations (3slides max for each presentation) 
P/F*** 
1 individual Problem Set to be typed in LaTex (chosen among the four Problem Sets assigned during the semester) 
35% 
Midterm Exam on the first part of the program 
35% 
Second Partial Exam on the second part of the program 
10% 
Final Essay: Thinking like an economist 
*** P/F (pass / fail) means that failing to submit the chosen Problem Set, will automatically deliver a grade of “0” (zero) on 30 percent of the overall grade.
 For students taking the General exam in January or during the summer sessions, grades are determined as follows:
10% 
12 individual Homeworks on the SmartWorks platform 
10% 
4 group Presentations (3slides max for each presentation) 
P/F*** 
1 individual Problem Set to be typed in LaTex (chosen among the four Problem Sets assigned during the semester) 
70% 
General Exam on the entire program 
10% 
Final Essay: Thinking like an economist 
*** P/F (pass / fail) means that failing to submit the chosen Problem Set, will automatically deliver a grade of “0” (zero) on 30 percent of the overall grade.
Teaching materials
ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
You can find all the relevant information in BlackBoard (i.e., syllabus, slides of the lectures, readings for group presentations, individual homeworks, problem sets, additional helpful material).
Textbook
 Hal R. Varian and Marc Melitz. Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus. A Modern Approach. Second International Student Edition. Norton Publishing Company (2024). ISBN 9781324034438
 The purchase gives access to the SmartWorks platform required for the individual homeworks.
 The textbook is available at Egea bookstore on Bocconi campus, or through the publisher UK website
https://wwnorton.co.uk/books/9781324034438intermediatemicroeconomicswithcalculus
(2 weeks for delivery), or through Amazon.
Make sure you purchase the edition listed above with the correct ISBN number.