ECON 1004 - Principles of Microeconomics I

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

The course provides an introduction to a core area of economics known as microeconomics. It considers the operation of a market economy and the problem of how best to allocate society's scarce resources. The course considers the way in which various decision making units in the economy (individuals and firms) make their consumption and production decisions and how these decisions are coordinated. It considers the laws of supply and demand, and introduces the theory of the firm, and its components, production and cost theories and models of market structure. The various causes of market failure are assessed, and consideration is given to public policies designed to correct this market failure.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 1004
    Course Principles of Microeconomics I
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week. Intensive in Summer Semester.
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible WINEMKTG 1026EX
    Quota A quota may apply
    Assessment Typically, assignments & a final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Stephanie McWhinnie

    Summer Semester
    Course Coordinator: Mr John Snelling
    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 3, Room 3.35 
    Contact details:  Email

    Semester 1
    Course Coordinator: Dr Stephanie McWhinnie
    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.11
    Office hour: 4-5pm Tuesdays in teaching weeks of Semester 1
    Contact details: Email

    Semester 2
    Course Coordinator: Dr Raul Barreto
    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.26
    Office hours:
    Contact details: Email

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Knowledge and Understanding
    This course aims to develop an understanding of the framework that economists use to analyse choices made by individuals in response to incentives and consider how these choices can also serve the social interest.  The course introduces students to models of how individuals and firms interact within markets, when markets fail, and how government policy may improve outcomes for society. (Learning outcomes 1-6)

    Communication Skills
    This course aims to develop students’ abilities to construct and sustain an argument using the phrases and concepts that economists use in their deliberations. A theoretical framework is developed in which students acquire an understanding of how economic agents interact and by doing so develop the literacy and verbal communication skills necessary for presenting arguments of an economic nature. (Learning outcomes 7-12)

    On the successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1 Explain how competitive markets organise the allocation of scarce resources and the distribution of goods and services
    2 Assess the efficiency of markets and describe the various factors that might impact on efficiency
    3 Distinguish between the various forms of market failure and explain how governments might need to intervene
    4 Describe the various types of markets and compare their efficiency
    5 Recognise government failure and explain why government policy might fail
    6 Relate the basic economic theory and principles to current microeconomic issues and evaluate related public policy
    7 Use economic models to analyse a situation in terms of economics
    8 Interpret charts, graphs, and tables and use the information to make informed judgments
    9 Work and learn independently and with others
    10 Communicate their knowledge and understanding of economic issues using written, verbal and visual expression
    11 Evaluate outcomes based on the costs and benefits involved
    12 Understand the broader social consequences of economic decisions making
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 7, 10
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 9, 11
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 9-10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 12
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 12
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    In semester 1 of 2015 we are launching a brand-new and exciting way of learning Principles of Microeconomics:

    "Playconomics: Principles of Microeconomics" by Isabella Dobrescu and Alberto Motta with associated electronic textbook materials "Principles of Microeconomics" by Isabella Dobrescu, Alberto Motta, Marco Faravelli and Stephanie McWhinnie.

    Playconomics is a computer-based interactive experience that plays like a videogame and teaches like a standard economics textbook. It combines gamification, personalized feedback and experiential learning in an innovative, yet accurate, way to make your Micro 1 learning more engaging and fun. It is developed by Dr. Alberto Motta and Dr. Isabella Dobrescu (UNSW) in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie McWhinnie (University of Adelaide) and Dr Marco Faravelli (University of Queensland). 

    Full information on how to access the game and textbook material will be provided on MyUni.  No hard-copy textbook is required.
    Online Learning
    In addition to the Playconomics online, experiential learning resources, the course makes extensive use of MyUni for the posting of lecture notes, assignments and quizzes and important announcements.
    It is expected that all students will regularly check the MyUni course website, and regularly check their university email accounts.
    A discussion board has been set up on the MyUni website for this course. This will be monitored regularly.  The discussion board will be the key electronic forum where students can clarify their understanding of any topics covered in lectures, tutorials or in the text. It might also be used by students to explore different ways of interpreting tutorial and assignment questions and various approaches to answering them.  It will also be THE place where students will ask questions about the administrative requirements of the course; such things as attendance, assessment, due dates and so on. It might also be a place for students to provide timely critical feedback on aspects of the course they particularly like or dislike and discussion of contemporary economic issues is also encouraged.

    Lecture recordings will typically be made available online.  Students should be aware that there may be occasional instances where lecture recording fails due to technical issues.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Each topic is divided into a lecture component and an associated Playconomics component with tutorials following. The lecture covers the key concepts of a particular topic. Using the Playconomics gamified learning tool and working through analytical problems in tutorials will consolidate your understanding of course material. You should use the relevant sections of the textbook material to enhance your understanding of topics covered in the lectures, tutorials and the game.  The tutorials and weekly assessments follow after the lecture, so for example the lecture content covered in week 1 will be covered in the tutorial session in week 2 and the weekly assessments due in week 2.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This translates to 12 hours per week for a semester course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Introduction: specialization and the gains from trade 
    Supply and Demand (an equilibrium analysis) 
    Government intervention: the cost of interfering with market forces
    Government intervention: tariffs and quotas
    Market Power: Monopoly and regulation
    Market Power: Oligopoly and monopolistic competition
    Game Theory
    Public Goods

    This is planned outline of activities.  Changes may be made as the course progresses.  Please see the lecture notes and MyUni for up-to-date references.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment includes tutorial work that will consist of weekly assignments, weekly online learning, and a final exam.
    Weekly Tutorial Assignments (best 8 out of 11) 25%
    Weekly Online Learning (best 10 out of 13) 10%
    Final Exam 65%
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are considered to be integral parts of the assessment process, and may affect marks.

    It is expected that students will complete all weekly assignments and online learning activities and thus the “best of” is simply to allow leeway in the event of technical failure or illness or compassionate issues. As such, there will not generally be any special consideration of these issues but please contact the Course Coordinator to discuss any concerns.

    Assessment Detail

    Weekly tutorial assignments 25%
    Students will be asked to submit written answers to the indicated questions on the weekly tutorial exercises, which will be available to download from MyUni on a weekly basis. Only the best 8 weekly tutorial assignments will contribute to the grade for this component of assessment, which in total will be 25% of assessment. Instructions on the submission and return of these weekly assignments will be provided on MyUni.

    Weekly Online Learning 10%
    Students are expected to participate in an online learning activity each week: either playing the Playconomics game; or answering quiz questions.  As this course has been specifically designed as part of the Playconomics package, playing the game is recommended but the quiz is available to students who prefer that method of learning.  If you participate in the game OR complete a quiz within the weekly time period, you will get 1 point.  There will be 12 online learning weeks (starting in week 2), so if you complete 10 weeks you will get 10/10%.  Completing all 12 weeks is recommended for your learning but is not required for this portion of your mark.
    Further details on how and when to access Playconomics or the quizzes will be provided on MyUni.

    Final exam 65%
    The final exam will be a 3-hour exam, plus 10 minutes reading time. This exam may assess all topics covered in the course. Details regarding the structure will be posted on MyUni. A past semester's exam is available on MyUni, which follows a similar structure. Please note that this is a closed book exam. Dictionaries of any type will not be allowed in the exam. Calculators will be allowed in the exam, but calculators that can store text, are programmable, or have wireless functions will not be permitted. This means graphics calculators are not permitted, and some particular scientific calculators may not be permitted.

    Refer to MyUni for detailed instructions regarding submission.
    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    Late submissions will not be accepted.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Additional Assessment
    If a student receives 45-49 for their final mark for the course they will automatically be granted an additional assessment. This will most likely be in the form of a new exam (Additional Assessment) and will have the same weight as the original exam unless an alternative requirement (for example a hurdle requirement) is stated in this semester’s Course Outline. If, after replacing the original exam mark with the new exam mark, it is calculated that the student has passed the course, they will receive 50 Pass as their final result for the course (no higher) but if the calculation totals less than 50, their grade will be Fail and the higher of the original mark or the mark following the Additional Assessment will be recorded as the final result.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    A summary of and response regarding past SELTs for this course is available on MyUni.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.