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ECO2004 : Microeconomic Analysis

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Colin Wren
  • Demonstrator: Dr Bahadir Dursun, Dr Brian Varian, Dr Jonathan Jones, Dr Diemo Dietrich, Professor John Sessions
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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

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

•       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.

•       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.

•       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.

•       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.

•       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

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00Present in person lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Time for students to complete formative and summative assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading166:0066:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Present in person seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study138:0038:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time41:004:00Synchronous, online pre- and post-exam sessions and Q&A sessions
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

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1801A100Candidates answer 4 questions from 10. Alternative exam in case of lockdown 24 hour online exam.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MSeminar questions provided
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination is designed to encourage study and test a depth of knowledge and understanding across a range of microeconomic topics.

Reading Lists