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Unit information: Microeconomics with Extended Essay in 2020/21

Unit name Microeconomics with Extended Essay
Unit code EFIM30052
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Simpson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit is only available to Graduate Diploma students.

The unit will study the main microeconomic models which underlie modern economic thinking and which are drawn upon by macroeconomics and other fields within economics. As such it will prepare students for final-year units and provide the foundation for students to have the economic tools to apply to concrete problems upon graduation.

The approach of the unit will be to take particular issues and show how these can be modelled formally to analyse the issue in detail; to interpret the model and see how underlying assumptions are related to the model’s conclusions; to use empirical analysis to evaluate the models to see if (or when) they are correct.

Topics will include

(i) consumer behaviour and choice

(ii) monopoly power and limited competition

(iiI) coordination failures and multiple equilibria

(iv) asymmetric information (adverse selection and moral hazard) in a variety of contexts

(v) labour markets and the effect of minimum wages or other regulation.

Although the list of theoretical models used will remain the same, the particular applications used will vary slightly to retain relevance.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be able:

1. To have a basic understanding of how microeconomic models work and to sketch the derivation of such models;

2. To use economic models to answer hypothetical questions about the operation of the microeconomic issues and to draw appropriate policy conclusions;

3. To compare and contrast competing theories about how markets work (or fail), to interpret how different assumptions result in different conclusions, and to select different versions of models to apply to different concrete situations;

4. To understand the conclusions, problems and methods used (albeit without a technical knowledge) by empirical papers in microeconomics and to evaluate economic models.

5. To synthesize 1., 2., 3., and 4., in an holistic way.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions such as online teaching for large and small group, face-to-face small group classes (where possible) and interactive learning activities

Assessment Details

Summative Coursework (17%)

Online exam (2 hours) (50%)

Extended Essay (33%)

Reading and References

(In all cases the most recent edition can be used)

  • Varian: Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Pindyck & Rubinfeld: Microeconomics
  • Bowles: Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution
  • Bowles: Coordination, Conflict and Competition: A Text in Intermediate Microeconomics

Textbooks will be supplemented with additional teaching notes and references to articles from journals such as the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fiscal Studies and Oxford Review of Economic Policy.