30452  FOUNDATIONS OF ECONOMICS  MODULE 1 (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.

Oligopoly: brief introduction

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
 Facetoface lectures
 Online lectures
 Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
 Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
 Individual assignments
 Group assignments
DETAILS
The Microeconomics course is built around these building blocks (aka, pillars):
 Theory Lectures
 Understanding Microeconomics is about learning models and the theoretical framework through a combination of mathematical tools and economic intuition. In the theory lectures 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.
 Individual Homeworks
 Individual homeworks (roughly one per week) are assigned through the Smartworks platform. The platform automatically grades the homeworks and explains the solutions.
 Group Problem Sets
 Long problem sets are assigned to groups of 3 or 4 students. Solutions must be typed using LaTex.
 Collective Office Hours
To encourage continuous interaction between instructors and students, the instructors will hold weekly online meetings during which they answer questions of general interest and offer insights on current events through the eyes of Microeconomics.
Assessment methods
Continuous assessment  Partial exams  General exam  


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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:
 10% of the overall grade: individual homeworks through the SmartWorks platform integrated into Blackboard. Skills tested are: problem solving attitude, setting priorities and meeting deadlines.
 10% of the overall grade: group problem sets typed in Latex and uploaded through Blackboard. Skills tested are: team working and multicultural attitude, leadership skills, problem solving attitude, setting priorities and meeting deadlines.
 35% of the overall grade: Midterm exam on the first half of the program. Skills tested: the ability of applying theoretical concepts and models to specific economic problems and interpreting mathematical relationships in economic terms (eg., the Slutsky equation and the economic concepts of substitution and income effects in consumption, labor, and intertemporal choices).
 35% of the overall grade: Final exam on the second half of the program. Skills tested: analytical skills and problemsolving attitudes.
 10% of the overall grade: Final essay on the entire program. Skills tested: the ability of thinking critically about economic issues.
Instead of taking the midterm and final exams, students can take a general exam on the entire program. The grade of the general exam counts 70% of the overall grade.
Detailed information regarding the format of homeworks, problem sets, final essay, and exams will be provided during the first two weeks of the course. Grades are based on the X/30 cum laude scale with the minimum passing grade for the entire course being 18/30.
Teaching materials
ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
You can find all the relevant information on BlackBoard (syllabus, lecture notes, individual homeworks, group problem sets, past exams, additional helpful material)
https://blackboard.unibocconi.it
 The required textbook is Hal H. Varian. Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus. International Student Edition. First edition. Norton Company (2020). ISBN 9780393690019, a book that combines a rigorous mathematical treatment of Microeconomics together with many applications and realworld examples.
 The purchase gives access to the SmartWorks 5 platform, which is required for the individual Homeworks.
 The textbook is available at Egea bookstore, or through the publisher website (2 weeks for delivery), or through Amazon. Make sure you purchase the edition listed above with the correct ISBN number.