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Module

ECO2004 : Microeconomic Analysis

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Colin Wren
  • Lecturer: Dr Xueqi Dong, Dr Jonathan Jones, Dr Grega Smrkolj
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

To equip the student with intermediate-level microeconomic concepts, and develop students' problem-solving abilities in the context of microeconomics.

This is the core second-year module in microeconomic analysis. It is a pre-requisite for many final-year modules in Economics. At a broad level, it is the theory behind the demand and supply curves. The syllabus includes consumer theory, producer theory, choice under uncertainty, theory of the firm and theory of the industry. The material is an extension of first-year microeconomics, but it is conducted at greater depth and with a much greater reliance on analysis, mainly diagrammatic, but with some mathematics. It is a core module, as it covers the economic techniques that are essential to modern economic analysis at Stage 3 of economics programmes.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. INTRODUCTION
•       Aims and approach of course.
•       Mathematical notation and properties.
•       Constrained optimization.
•       Existence and uniqueness theorems.

2. CONSUMER THEORY
•       Neoclassical consumer theory: Preference relations and indifference curves.
•       Utility function.
•       Demand analysis. Marshallian and compensated demand functions and curves.
•       Revealed preference theory and price indices.
•       Measuring utility changes: compensating and equivalent variations.

3. THEORY OF THE INDUSTRY
•       Oligopoly: Cournot and Stackelberg models, Bertrand model and efficiency.
•       Collusive oligopoly: joint-profit maximization, stability of cartels and market sharing agreements.
•       Monopoly: price and output determination.
•       Price discrimination and efficiency.

4. THEORIES OF THE FIRM
•       The owner-managed, profit-maximizing assumption.
•       Managerial discretion and the principal-agent problem.
•       The sales revenue model and expense preference model.
•       Effect of taxation on optimal output in these models.
•       Alternative approaches.

5. PRODUCER THEORY
•       The production function: linear programming and neoclassical approaches.
•       Isoquants and production functions.
•       Cost minimization.
•       Homogeneous production functions, including Cobb-Douglas.
•       Product exhaustion and Envelope theorems.

6. CHOICE UNDER UNCERTAINTY
•       Decision rules for state-contingent outcomes.
•       Expected values and the St Petersburg paradox.
•       Expected utility theory, the ex-post utility function and attitudes to risk.
•       Applications to insurance.
•       Criticisms of expected utility theory.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials121:0012:00Additional lectures to ensure achievement of learning outcomes.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials361:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00These will be given as PiP, starting week 3, after the lecture material has got underway.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion61:006:00Includes six 15 minutes of debriefing based on the small group teaching.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery51:005:00Synchronous, online - Q&A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study152:0052:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an exhaustive and in-depth treatment of the core course material. Seminars facilitate small group interaction with the seminar leader to reinforce learning. Drop-in surgery to deal with specific problems experienced by students. Private study facilitates review and understanding of lecture material and problem sets.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1801A100Candidates answer 4 questions from 10. I request a January 48-hour take-home exam for this module, with the support of the DPDs.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MSeminar questions provided
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The unseen examination is designed to encourage study and test understanding across a range of microeconomic topics. The assessed essay gives the opportunity for a more in-depth treatment of key topics.

Reading Lists

Timetable