Economics for a Sustainable World

Module description

This module is an introduction to theories in concepts in economics that underpin much of the world of modern business. It will help you to understand how businesses and economies work, and why. Economics concepts and thinking lie at the heart of how markets work, how and why businesses function and how and why people behave. Understanding economics is essential to more detailed understanding of business.

Full module specification

Module title:Economics for a Sustainable World
Module code:MBAM807
Module level:M
Academic year:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Robin Mason - Convenor
  • Mr Morgan Witzel - Convenor
Module credit:12
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aims of this module are to allow you to develop an understanding of the relevance of economics to managers in business, and to introduce key issues in the economics of a sustainable world: for example, the economics of climate change, biodiversity, and extending notions of national income to include natural resources. The first part of the module will focus on microeconomics content and will concentrate on understanding markets: the way that they work, and the ways in which they fail.

The second part of the module will explore macroeconomics: what growth, inflation and imports/exports mean; why countries trade; and the effects of globalisation. We will also look at more recent developments to extend measures of national income; and look at the differences between physical and economic scarcity of natural resources, and constraints on growth.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. explain the role of economics in managerial decision-making.
  • 2. explain and evaluate how markets work.
  • 3. comprehend the nature of market failure and the implications for business and government.
  • 4. evaluate the factors affecting the macroeconomic environment, and their interactions and interdependencies.
  • 5. appreciate the value of using economics in assessing the external environment for business decision-making.
  • 6. evaluate emerging economic themes that are having an impact on companies.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. think analytically.
  • 8. interpret economic data.
  • 9. critically reflect on common assumptions held within the business community.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. demonstrate the capacity for analytical and reasoned discussion.
  • 11. demonstrate effective independent study skills.
  • 12. demonstrate effective written communication skills.

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
Contact hours28Lectures

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class discussions and private/personal feedbackOngoing during the module9, 10, 11, 12In-class discussions, out of class personal meetings

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
Essay (individual)1003000 words1-12Written feedback on assignment
Corporate Challenge FT students 30PowerPoint slides deck1-12
Executive students essay (individual)1003000 words1-12Written assignment on feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay &/or Corporate ChallengeEssay (100%)1-126 weeks

Syllabus plan

Issues in economics for a sustainable world: the big picture: valuing and allocating resources; emerging issues; relevance to business leaders; understanding, thinking and communicating economically. Microeconomics – demand and supply; perfectly competitive markets. Market failure – market power, externalities, public goods and information failures. The economics of climate change. Valuing biodiversity. Macroeconomics - the external economic environment. Growth, inflation and unemployment. Trade and comparative advantage. Beyond GDP: green national accounting. Constraints on growth. Conclusion: the role of economics in Business.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Mackenzie, R B and Lee, D R.  (2006) Microeconomics for MBAs – the Economic Way of Thinking for Managers. CUP.

Mankiw, N G (2009) Principles of Economics, 5th Edition, South-Western College Pub.

Miles, D and Scott, A (2004) Macroeconomics and the Global Business Environment. 2nd ed. Wiley

Sloman, J and Hinde, K  (2007) Economics for Business, 4th ed Harlow, Essex Prentice Hall.

Jackson, T. (2009) Prosperity without Growth. Economics for a Finite Planet. London: Earthscan.

UNEP (2011) Towards a Green Economy: Strategies for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. UNEP, Kenya

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