Info
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Course 2019-2020 a.y.

30452 - FOUNDATIONS OF ECONOMICS - MODULE 1 (MICROECONOMICS)

BESS-CLES
Department of Economics

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 13

BESS-CLES (7 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:
MARISTELLA BOTTICINI

Classes: 13 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 13: MARISTELLA BOTTICINI


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

Students learn how to think about the myriad of real-world economic (and noneconomic) issues through the lens of microeconomic analysis. The elegant and powerful tools of microeconomic theory endow students with an analytical mindset and a strong quantitative preparation, which form the building block for understanding the foundations of microeconomic analsysis . The course combines mathematical rigor as well as a 360-degree vision of real-world economic and social phenomena to address fascinating questions about human behavior in economic and noneconomic settings.

CONTENT SUMMARY
  • The beauty of Microeconomics; how to think like an economist; calculus review.
  • Demand and supply; prices; market equilibrium; elasticity.
  • Choice theory: preferences, constraints, constrained consumer choice.
  • Demand functions; substitution and income effects.
  • Consumption and leisure choice; labor supply.
  • Consumption and savings choice.
  • Choice under risk.
  • Game theory.
  • General equilibrium and welfare.
  • Firms and production.
  • Firm's costs.
  • Profit maximization.
  • Perfect competition.
  • Monopoly; price discrimination; natural monopoly.
  • Oligopoly (Cournot, Bertrand, Stackelberg models; cartels).
  • Monopolistic competition.
  • Externalities and public goods.

Asymmetric information (brief overview).


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Acquire analytical skills to study many real-world phenomena through the eyes of MicroeconomicsDevelop the ability to write an economic model.
  • Understand the choice behavior of individuals, households, workers, firms, and governments through markets and nonmarket interactions.
  • Apply the economic way of thinking to several other fields outside economics, including anthropology, biology, demography, history, medicine, political science, and sociology.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Compare the theoretical predictions of models and the empirical evidence on economic outcomes.
  • Develop a problem-solving attitude.
  • Develop team-building skills and the ability of working in teams.
  • Learn to communicate in a clear and concise way.
  • Learn to deliver the expected outcomes and meet deadlines.
  • Develop the ability to think rigorously, analytically, and creatively at the same time.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
DETAILS

We have designed a course which enables students to acquire a profound understanding of both the theoretical underpinnings of Microeconomics and its myriad applications to the real world. In order to accomplish this goal, the course is built around these building blocks:

  • Theory Lectures: understanding Microeconomics is about learning the models and the theoretical framework through a combination of mathematical tools and economic intuition. In the theory lectures students learn a series of concepts, models, graphs, algebra- and calculus-driven analysis.
  • In-class Drills: at the end of some lectures, studentsdo in-class drills. 2 or 3 problems are distributed to the class and are solved together, step by step. These drills are helpful to verify students’ understanding of what they have just learned.
  • Individual Homeworks: students are assigned 10 to 15 individual homeworks on the MyEconLab platform. We ask students to work on their own on these homeworks in order to develop an important skill: being able to solve a problem on your own, something that they find it very helpful in many occasions during their careers (and life in general).
  • Group Problem Sets: there are 5 problem sets which students are asked to solve in groups of 3 (+/-). Working with fellow students endows students with team-working skills, which are valuable assets in many working environments. Group problem sets must be typed in LaTex software. During the first or second week, a mini-crash LaTex course is held for those who do not know this program. Learning LaTex turns out to be a very valuable asset for students' careers at the university and later on.
  • Experiments in the Lab: one of the most recent developments in Microeconomics is the use of laboratory methods to study phenomena that are difficult to observe directly in naturally occurring economic contexts. Hence, we have designed some experiments to which the class participates in the Bocconi Experimental Lab.
  • Policy Insights: during some lectures, students have the opportunity to learn intriguing and insightful real-world applications of the models and theory in what we like to call “The Policy Outlook." Brief introductions to selected topics by guest speakers are scheduled.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the learning outcomes mentioned above, the students’ assessment is based on the following components:

    • 10%   ---  10 to 15 individual homework on the MyEconLab platform aimed to learn the applications of the theoretical concepts to real-life and practical examples.
    • 10%   ---    5 group problem sets aimed to acquire sophisticated analytical skills applied to economic problems and the ability to work in groups.
    • 40%   ---    a (3-hour) partial exam consisting of problems and exercises aimed to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course, to solve and explain microeconomics models, to conduct comparative statics analysis, and to solve constrained optimization problems applied to a variety of economic and non-economic settings. The exam will also include short statements to discuss, aimed to assess students’ ability to articulate economic reasoning and to evaluate the potential effects of a given policy change and the trade-offs involved in a given choice.
    • 40%   ---    a (3-hour) final exam consisting of problems and exercises aimed to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course, to solve and explain microeconomics models, to conduct comparative statics analysis, and to solve constrained optimization problems applied to a variety of economic and non-economic settings. The exam will also include short statements to discuss, aimed to assess students’ ability to articulate economic reasoning and to evaluate the potential effects of a given policy change and the trade-offs involved in a given choice.

    Grades are based on the X/30 cum laude scale with the minimum passing grade being 18/30. Students who fail or do not take the partial exam, must take a comprehensive exam on the entire program. In such a case, the weight of the comprehensive exam is 80% of the overall grade (with the remaining 20% being determined by the grades of the individual homework and the group problem sets as indicated above).


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    We have carefully searched to find a book that combines a rigorous mathematical treatment of Microeconomics together with many applications and real-world examples. Here is the relevant information.

    • J. PERLOFF, Microeconomics with Calculus plus MyEconLab with Pearson eText, Global Edition, New York and London, Pearson, August 2017, 4th edition (ISBN 9781292162744).
    • In addition, the MyEconLab platform (for the individual homework assignments) and the slides of the course are essential material to prepare well for the course.
    Last change 01/06/2019 08:50