ECON 1004 - Principles of Microeconomics I

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2014

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 Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week. Intensive in Summer Semester.
    Incompatible WINEMKTG 1026EX
    Quota A quota may apply
    Assessment Typically, assignments & a final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Florian Ploeckl

    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 Florian Ploeckl
    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.43
    Office hours:
    Contact details: Email
    Course Timetable

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

    In Summer Semester, there are two 3 hour sessions a week in this course and they are held in Benham Labs G25.

    TUESDAY 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

    THURSDAY 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

    Each session is divided into a lecture component and a tutorial component. The lecture covers the key concepts of a particular topic to complement but not mimic the text; it is assumed that you can and will read that. Tutorials will consolidate your understanding of course material by working through problems from the text and expand your understanding of course material through group discussion on current issues related to the topic. You should prepare answers for the tutorials.

  • 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
    Microeconomics (1st Australian Edition)
    Jeffrey Perloff, Rhonda Smith and David Round
    ISBN 9781442532830
    Pearson Australia

    In the past "Microeconomics" by Douglas McTaggart, Christopher Findlay and Michael Parkin (or the microeconomics chapters from "Economics" by the same authors) was the textbook.  You may still use this book - it's available in the library or second-hand - but note that it is your responsibility to determine the appropriate sections to use as reference and understand that while the underlying content is similar, some material is presented differently.
    Recommended Resources
    An interesting book you may even read before the course starts or over the first
    few weeks is a Random House publication, The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! by Tim Harford. Copies are available in the Barr Smith Library multiple copies collection. You can preview the book at Google Books via the References section of the MyUni site.

    If you are interested in learning something about the way economics has developed over the years (centuries), R.L. Heilbroner, Worldly Philosophers, (Simon and Schuster, several editions) provides a very readable account of the ideas, life and times of many of the greatest economists, from Adam Smith to the present.
    Online Learning
    The course makes extensive use of MyUni for the posting of lecture notes, tutorial exercises, assignments, weekly quiz 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 week is divided into a lecture component and a tutorial component. The lecture covers the key concepts of a particular topic to complement the text. Tutorials will consolidate your understanding of course material by working through problems similar to those in the text and expand your understanding of course material through group discussion on current issues related to the topic.


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

    The University expects full-time students (ie 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 or 24 hours per week for a summer course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The lectures are designed to provide the framework on which students can build their knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and principles in microeconomics. As mentioned above the organization of the course parallels the text, and consequently, each lecture will explain the key concept covered in the corresponding chapter of the text.

    Tutorials are an important component of your learning in this course.  The communication skills developed in tutorials by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies. The tutorials require students to analyse the ideas covered in lectures and then apply them to specific contemporary economic issues. The assessable component of the tutorials will relate to current microeconomic topics in a way that will encourage independent and critical styles of thinking.

    Weekly test
    Although the weekly tests contribute to your final grade it should be considered formative rather than summative. That is, it is designed to provide feedback to improve your recall, analysis, and
    evaluation skills in economics.

    Group assignment
    In the assignment students are expected to apply the theoretical framework of microeconomics developed in the course to the analysis of the workings of a specific market. The aim is to develop students’ literacy and problem-solving skills especially as these apply to economics.


    Lecture dates Lecture topic Text reference
    Tuesday 7 Jan Introducing Microeconomics Chapter 1 & 2
    Thursday 9 Jan Demand and Supply Chapter 3
    Tuesday 14 Jan Elasticity Chapter 4
    Thursday 16 Jan Efficiency and Equity Chapter 5
    Tuesday 21 Jan Markets in Action Chapter 6 & 7
    Thursday 23 Jan Market Failure Chapter 8 & 9
    Tuesday 28 Jan Production and Costs Chapter 13
    Thursday 30 Jan Markets: Perfect Competition Chapter 14
    Tuesday 4 Feb Markets: Monopoly Chapter 10
    Thursday 6 Feb Markets: Monopolistic Competition Chapter 15
    Tuesday 11 Feb Markets: Oligopoly Chapter 16
    Thursday 13 Feb Revision
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Not applicable.
  • 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

    Weekly Tutorial Assignments 20%
    Weekly Online Quizzes 10%
    Group Assignment 10%
    Final Exam 60%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students will be assessed on their understanding of the concepts covered in the course and their ability to employ appropriate economic models to critically analyse contemporary issues.  This will include their ability to develop a written response using the relevant economic terms and concepts.

    Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are integral parts of the assessment process.

    Marks will not be awarded in the final examination for answers that cannot be read.

    It is each student's responsibility to read the examination timetable.  Misreading the timetable is not accepted as grounds for granting a supplementary exam.  University staff are not permitted to provide examination times to students over the telephone or in response to personal enquiries.

    Examinations will be held only at the time and locations stated in the University’s Examination Timetable and so students should not make any arrangements to be absent until after the examination period.

    Assessment Detail
    Assessment includes a weekly online quiz, tutorial work that will consist of weekly assignments, an optional major group assignment and a final exam. The weekly tutorial assignments and quiz are redeemable by the exam but the group assignment, although optional, is not redeemable.

    The weekly quizzes will be conducted online through MyUni every week from week 2. Each quiz will be available for one week from 5.00pm Friday to 4.00pm the following Friday. The quizzes will consist of 10 multiple choice questions and the grade will be based on the best 4 out of 5 quizzes. This component of the assessment is both optional and redeemable. This means that if you choose not to do it, the weighting for the exam will become 70% of the assessment. Also, if you do choose to do it but attain a grade that is worse than that of your final exam, the exam becomes 70% of the assessment. So there is no disadvantage to attempting them!

    Starting on Thursday in week 1 students will be asked to submit at the beginning of their tutorial, written answers to questions provided in the tutorial exercises that are to be downloaded from MyUni. Comments will be provided on these answers and will be returned to students before the following week's tutorial, along with a score out of 10. The best 4 weekly tutorial assignments will contribute to the assessment of tutorial work, which in total will be 20% of assessment.  These tutorial assignments are, like the weekly test, both optional and redeemable.

    The group assignment is to be a 1500 word examination of a contemporary economic issue similar to the 'Reading Between the Lines' analysis covered in each chapter of the McTaggart text. Although it is not a requirement, the preferred option is that the assignment is a collaborative effort between three or four students and it will count for 10% of the final assessment. If you decide not to do the assignment the exam will count for 70% of the assessment.  The topic and due date will be advised. 

    The final exam is 3 hours plus 10 minutes reading time and may cover any of the topics from the chapters in the text book that have been set as part of the course.

    Please note that, following University policy, dictionaries are not allowed in School of Economics exams.
    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    A Group Assignment Cover Sheet signed and dated by all group members must be attached to the group assignment before submission.  All group members are expected to contribute equally to a group assignment.

    Assignments will not be accepted after the submission date unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    Assessment marks will be displayed on the course website prior to the final exam.  Students are encouraged to check their marks and notify the lecturer of any discrepancies.
    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.

    The policy of the School of Economics is not to return final exam scripts to students. However, they are made available for students to read under the supervision of the Course Coordinator, at a time and place to be announced.
  • 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.