ECON 4011 - Microeconomic Theory IV (H)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course introduces key advanced methods and theories of contemporary microeconomics. Topics may include the economic behaviour of individual units, in particular consumers and firms; expected utility and uncertainty; welfare economics; information economics; and auction theory.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 4011
    Course Microeconomic Theory IV (H)
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Incompatible ECON 7121
    Restrictions Available only to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Economics (Honours) program
    Assessment Typically mid-Semester test and final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Yaping Shan

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    The purpose of this course is to provide students with a thorough introduction to central themes and results in advanced microeconomic theory. The chosen topics are also important for understanding many applied fields, such as labour economics, industrial organisation, international trade and public economics.

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

    1 possess a solid grasp of the mathematics of constrained optimisation (especially Lagrange's method) and know how to apply it to solve microeconomic problems
    2 derive the central results about decision-making by consumers and firms from first principles
    3 develop a thorough understanding of the expected utility model, and become familiar with its uses in economic analysis
    4 become familiar with the fundamentals of welfare analysis
    5 acquire a basic toolkit from game theory; develop skills in the translation of economic problems into game-theoretic notation; be able to select an appropriate solution concept; and be able to compute equilibrium strategies
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no required textbook. The material covered in the lectures comes from several sources.
    Recommended Resources
    Some useful references are:

    Microeconomic Analysis by H. Varian, 3rd Edition, 1992.

    Microeconomics by H. Gravelle and R. Rees, 3rd Edition, 2004.

    Microeconomic Theory by A. Mas-Colell, M. Whinston and J. Green, 1995. 

    An Introduction to the Economics of Information by I. Macho-Stadler and J.D. Perez-Castrillo, 2nd Edition, 2005.

    Game Theory by H. Peters, 2008. (Electronic version available free of charge from the library.)
    Online Learning
    The course uses MyUni and it is a student’s responsibility to check the website regularly.

    Course material such as lecture notes and assignments will be posted on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    earning in this course is through lectures, tutorials, and personal study.

    The lectures will provide you with the necessary understanding of the material to be able to solve the exercises you will be given during tutorial, assignments or exams.

    The tutorials (in-class problem-solving sessions) will be organised as follows:

    - Your lecturer will present the solutions for one of the exercises you were asked to prepare to illustrate what is expected from you in solving these kinds of problems.

    - Students will then be asked to come to the board and present their work and answers to some of the tutorial exercises. Your lecturer will provide assistance if needed and questions from other students are strongly encouraged.

    Diverse learning styles will be supported by the provision of course materials in a variety of formats.

    The practical learning approach will be incorporated through the tutorials as described above. The online discussion board will also provide a dynamic forum for students to share and develop their ideas.

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

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

    Students in this course are expected to attend all two-hour lectures and/or tutorial throughout the semester. Students are also expected to commit approximately 8 to 10 hours to private study, that is, study outside of your regular classes.

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

    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Utility maximisation & choice
    Week 2 Welfare measures
    Week 3 Choice under uncertainty
    Week 4-8 Theory of Incentives
    Week 9-12 Auction markets
  • 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 Task Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Midterm exam


      30% 1, 2, 3
    Two Assignments TBA   30% (15% each) 1, 2, 3, 4
    Final exam TBA   40% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Total 100%

    Assessment Detail
    1 There will be two assignments and one midterm test during the semester. The assignments and midterm are compulsory and NOT redeemable, unless a student has a medical certificate which has to be presented to the lecturer before any redemption can be arranged.

    2 The final exam will cover the entire course. All the material covered in class and in the tutorials is examinable.

    3 Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are considered to be integral parts of the assessment process. Marks may be deducted in the final examination because of poor hand-writing.

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

    Unless special arrangements have been made, no assignment will be collected by your lecturer and failure to hand it in in due time will result in a zero mark.

    Each assignment should include a signed copy of the University’s cover sheet.

    There will be no alternative assessment opportunities.
    Course Grading

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

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    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.

  • 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.