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University of Exeter Business School


Module titleMicroeconomics
Module codeBEEM101
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Pauline Vorjohann (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description


In this Microeconomics module we will learn and use maths and rigorous logic to consider deep questions of…

- individual preferences, choices and optimization subject to constraints- firms’ profit-maximising choices and the implications of these for society (how much value is created, who gets what, how do we consider these outcomes as a society)

- psychological influences on the above, and limits to optimization.


This is a selective and bespoke module. We will focus on a limited set of concepts, models and applications. We will aim to incorporate material that is particularly relevant to your careers and your research interests.

This is an inquisitive module: we ask ‘the 'how?', 'why?', 'so what?', and 'is this reasonable?' ... of the models and concepts.

Additional Information:


This is a basic and applied theory course, but the content is applicable in every country. The examples used in this module can be applied to any firm or decision.


All of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module is to develop:

  • the basic (model-building, logic, maths) economic tools for analysing a wide variety of problems faced by economists working in research, government and business,
  • an understanding of how models are formulated, considered, evaluated, and applied in research and practice, and some ability to do this,
  • the ability to think like an Economist, while being carefully critical of Economic models and applications of these, and an ability to discuss and communicate economic ideas

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. consider issues choice, decision, and welfare logically and precisely;
  • 2. represent the key ingredients of microeconomic problems in the form of tractable models
  • 3. solve the models
  • 4. derive testable implications of the models
  • 5. critically discuss the adequacy of the models

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. apply economic reasoning to decision problems;
  • 7. use economic analysis to construct explanations for observed economic actions;
  • 8. explain the nature of incentives and opportunity costs, as well as behavioural considerations, in decision-making.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. engage in abstract thinking, extracting essential features of complex systems to facilitate problem solving and decision-making;
  • 10. engage in deductive and inductive reasoning to enhance problem solving and decision-making skills;
  • 11. communicate and present complex arguments in oral and written form with clarity and succinctness.

Syllabus plan

We will first cover basic Economic (and behavioural) models of individual preferences and ‘choices subject to constraints’. We will treat this rigorously and abstractly/mathematically. At the same time, we will consider the applications of this, and aim at an intuitive and logical understanding of the assumptions and how the parts fit together.  The model of preferences and optimization leads to consumer and market demand and its properties.  Next we focus how (especially monopoly) firms consider consumer demand in making (especially pricing and market segmentation) decisions to maximise profit. We consider Psychology, heuristics/biases, and bounded rationality throughout the module. 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5Tutorials
Guided Independent Study125Reading, research, reflection; Preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Problem sets, exercises, discussions; mock exams 1 hour per week plus asynchronous feedback1-11Formative feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mid-term exam4060 minutes plus upload time1-11Indicative answers will be posted on ELE Some individual feedback will be given as well.
Final exam6090 minutes plus upload time1-11Indicative answers will be posted on ELE. Some individual feedback will be given as well.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Mid-term exam (40%)Exam or a comparable coursework (40%) 1-11Referral/Deferral period
Final exam (60%)Final exam (60%)1-11Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The main resouces for this course are:

Models in Microeconomic Theory”, by Osborne and Rubinstein (free at

Varian, Hal R., Intermediate microeconomics: a modern approach. New York, NY: WW Norton & Company, 2010.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Key words search

Microeconomics; decision theory and optimisation; formal modelling; consumer behaviour; decision making under uncertainty; microeconomic foundations of financial concepts; game theory; consumer theory; policy; management and entrepreneurship insights; behavioural economics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date