Scuola di Economia e Management
Syllabus
Academic Year 2013/14 Second Semester

Learning Objectives
Students completing this course will learn:
Course Prerequisites: This is an introductory course in microeconomics and requires no prior background in economics. However, enrollment in the course requires the following basic math prerequisites: computational skills, basic algebra (solving linear equations), geometry (areas of simple geometric figures) and graphing skills (plotting linear equations, finding intercepts, calculating slopes), excel. Students who do not have these skills must enroll and successfully complete the Math for Economics course prior to enrolling in Microeconomics 1.
Course Content
This course gives students a sound foundation in microeconomic theory and its applications, including:
The aim of the course is to help students develop a clear, useful and openminded way of thinking about microeconomic concepts and theories. In doing so, is makes extensive use of realworld examples and case studies to illustrate and analyze these theories, including:
Course Delivery
Course lectures and tutorials: The course will follow a lecture + tutorial format. Each week will include a 3 hour class lecture conducted by Prof. Della Valle + 1.5 hour class tutorial conducted by Dr. Elisa Borghi. The purpose of the tutorial is to review the current week’s lecture material and answer students’ questions.
Students are responsible for LEARNING the assigned lecture material before coming to class and for PROVIDING a meaningful contribution to the discussion led by the instructor. Enrollment in this class involves a commitment from students to dedicate the time and energy required to be prepared and active class participants.
Students are responsible for consulting on a regular basis the website of the course on “my.liuc.it” where lecture materials and course updates are posted. No excuses accepted for any failure during the course due to a delayed consultation of the website.
Course Evaluation
Weekly problem sets 20%: Problems sets will be assigned each week to help students review and practice the current week’s lecture material. Problem sets are due promptly a week after they are assigned and should be handed in to the teaching assistant for grading. Problem sets handed in late will not be graded. Answers to the problem sets will be posted on the My LIUC website.
Midterm exam 40%: The midterm exam will cover the material for the first half of the course.
Final exam 40%: The final exam will cover material for the second half of the course.
Non attending students:
Due to the nature and structure of this course, students are strongly discouraged from following this course if they cannot attend classes. However, those students who wish to do so can take a nonattending student exam which will be based on comprehensive knowledge of the following:
1. All of the material (lecture slides, notes, problem sets and readings) posted on MY LIUC for the course.
2. The contents of the textbook chapters indicated in the course syllabus: N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Microeconomics, edition 2e, Cengage Learning, 2011.
3. Ability to argue and discuss real world applications of microeconomic theory through case studies and examples.
The exam for nonattending students will be in the form of a 3 hour written exam. The professor may choose to also conduct an oral examination to further assess the student’s preparation and knowledge.
Syllabus
Session 0 Hours of lesson: 0 Instructor: A. Della Valle  Topics: WHAT ECONOMICS IS ABOUT AND WHAT ECONOMISTS DO
Key economic principles: opportunity cost, incentives, marginal analysis and why they matter. What it means to think like an economist. HOW MARKETS WORK
The model of supply and demand is the basic economic model used to describe how market economies function. Defining and constructing demand and supply curves and functions, shifts vs. movements along the curves, deriving market clearing outcomes, elasticity of demand and supply, impact on revenues from changes in price in elastic versus inelastic markets.
The effect of price floors, price ceilings, subsidies, tariffs and quotas, positive and negative externalities on the market outcome.
Theoretically, the free interaction between buyers and sellers in the demand and supply model maximizes economic welfare and efficiency. This is one of the fundamental tenants of market economics. Defining and measuring economic welfare, consumer and producer surplus, relationship between market efficiency and welfare maximization.
Taxation changes the market outcome by creating a wedge between the price buyers pay and the price sellers receive with implications that are often counterintuitive. Effect of taxation of goods and services on market equilibrium, impact of taxes levied on buyers vs. sellers, tax incidence, effect of taxation on economic welfare.
PRODUCER AND CONSUMER THEORY
The study of what firms are, different forms of firm ownership, structure and organization, identifying and modeling firms’ objectives and strategic behavior.
Identifying the various components of a firm’s costs and the relationships between them, production functions and costs of production, economies of scale and scope.
Consumer choice models: using indifference curves and utility theory to model consumers’ preferences and choices; statistical demand estimation.
MARKET MODELSThere are five main market models that describe how industries are structured in market economies:
Many buyers and sellers relative to the size of the market with no one having any influence over price. The perfectly competitive model, firm behavior under perfect competition, shortrun and longrun supply curves and market outcomes.
A single seller that supplies the entire market and thus has control over price and output. The monopoly model, firm behavior under monopoly, welfare loss under monopoly.
Many sellers (as in perfect competition), some of whom are able through branding or product differentiation to control a portion of the market (as in monopoly.) W. Chamberlin’s model of monopolistic competition; product differentiation, marketing, advertising and branding; estimating the costs vs. impact of product differentiation and marketing on demand; K. Lancaster’s characteristic model.
Few sellers who actively compete with one another and understand that they are affected by the actions of the other sellers. Developing models to study noncooperative oligopoly behavior: Cournot, Bertrand, Stackelberg models; introduction to game theory, Nash equilibrium, dominant strategies, repeated games.
A single seller that supplies the entire market and thus has control over price and output. The monopoly model, firm behavior under monopoly, welfare loss under monopoly.
Few sellers who join together so as to influence market price and output.
15. Firm Strategic Behavior (Mankiw, chapter 15, pp. 329337, Pricing strategies: price discrimination, predatory pricing, multipart tariffs Investment strategies: research and development, vertical and horizontal mergers and acquisitions, tiein sales, investments to raise rivals’ costs.
GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION INTO MARKETS16. Rationales for Government Intervention (Mankiw, chapters 10, 11) What are the various economic rationales for government intervention into markets? Market failure, externalities, public goods, common resources, natural monopoly, equity concerns, industries affected by the “public interest.” 17. Forms of Government Intervention into Markets (Mankiw chapter 15, pp. 326329; chapter 16, pp. 360366.) These include: complete or partial government ownership, private ownership with government regulation of entry, standards, investments and/or prices, price ceilings, price floors, tariffs or subsidies, antitrust (overview and scope of antitrust legislation in the US, landmark antitrust cases), regulation, deregulation and liberalization, (in the electric utility, telecommunications and cable television industries), property rights (Coase Theorem), privatization (in Western and Eastern Europe), patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Readings: 