37293 - Microeconomics

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Moduli: Enrico Cantoni (Modulo 1) Stephanie Heger (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Business and Economics (cod. 8965)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students with understands of the principles of micro-economic analysis. They have been introduced the concept of economic rationality as it applies to individuals and firms, and the analysis of how price and quantity are set under different market structures. Moreover students are introduced to topics addressed in more detail will include the form of utility and production functions, and rational decision making and intertemporal choice in the face of uncertainty. Implications for the behaviour and organization of firms will be highlighted throughout.

Course contents

Note: the course is in English

  1. Introduction to the concepts of market and economic rationality (Lecturer: Enrico Cantoni)
  2. Consumer Theory (Lecturer: Enrico Cantoni)

    - The budget constraint
    - Preferences and utility functions
    - Choice
    - Individual demand (for goods and services)
    - Labor supply

  3. Market equilibrium (Lecturer: Enrico Cantoni)
    - Market demand
    - Market equilibrium and the implications of taxes on consumption
  4. Producer Theory (Lecturer: Stephanie Heger)
    - Technology
    - Profit maximization
    - Cost minimization
    - Firm supply in a competitive market
    - Industry supply in a competitive market
    - The implications for supply of non-competitive market structures: Monopoly and Oligopoly
  5. The concepts of Externalities and Public Goods may also be introduced (Stephanie Heger)

The first mid-term exam will cover topics 1, 2, and 3; the second mid-term exam will cover topics 4 and 5.

Full exams can cover material from any of the five topics.


Note: the course is in English

The textbook for the course will be:

Varian, Hal R., Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach, (9th international student edition), published by WW Norton & Co.

It is strongly recommended that students have access to a copy of the textbook.

There is also an accompanying exercise book which students may find useful (though it is not required a reading). This exercise book is:

Bergstrom, Theodore C. and Hal R. Varian, Workouts in Intermediate Microeconomics for Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus, 2014, W.W. Norton & Co.: New York, London.

Copies of teaching materials (e.g., slides, notes, exercises) will be published on the university platform VIRTUALE: https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures led by the course lecturers.

Lessons to work through exercises led by course lecturers or tutor.

Assessment methods

Final written exam of about one and a half or two hours, or two mid-term exams of about one and a half or two hours each.

The content and structure of the exam questions is intended to assess familiarity with the material covered in the course lectures and to assess understanding of the theoretical content of the course. The nature of the exam questions will closely follow examples covered as exercises during the course and discussed in lectures/tutorials.

The exams will contain a mixture of definitions, multiple choice questions, and computational/open exercises. The allocation of points across the different types of questions will be indicated on exam papers.

In case the University of Bologna prescribes that exams be held online, the structure of the written exam will be the same. The exam will be on Zoom and Exams Online (EOL). In that case, instructions on how to manage and hand in the online exam will be made available on the course page on the VIRTUALE platform.

During exams (mid-term or full exams) students will NOT be allowed to use anything but a pen, pencil, and eraser. That is, students will NOT be allowed to bring materials such as: textbooks, lecture notes/slides; any written notes; web-enabled or data storage devices, or smartphones. Candidates found with such items will be removed from the exam and their work will not be graded.

Note: The mid-term exams are FOR CURRENT (1st year) STUDENTS ONLY: students from earlier years must take the full exams.
Only students with a sufficiently high grade in the first mid-term exam (i.e., 18 or higher) will be admitted to the second one: other candidates must proceed to the full exams.
For students taking the mid-term exams (esami parziali), the final grade for the course will be the arithmetic average of the grades in the two mid-term exams.

For students taking the full exam, the grade of the exam is the final grade.

The grading system is on a 0-30 scale. The maximum possible score is 30 cum laude, in case all answers are correct, complete, and formally rigorous. If that is not the case, the following grading scheme applies:

<18 fail
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 cum laude: excellent

To take the exam, candidates are required to register via the University's electronic service (AlmaEsami). Exam grades will be published via the University's electronic service (AlmaEsami). The grade published after a second partial exam or after a full exam will be the student’s final grade for the course.

After exams are graded, students will have the chance to see their graded exam on a date/time/location determined by the lecturers and communicated (via VIRTUALE) to the students.

Students will be allowed to reject their final grade for the course at most ONCE. Upon publishing the exam results, the lecturers will inform students about the deadline to reject their grade. Notification of the intention to reject a grade must be sent in writing (by email). After the date specified, grades will be electronically registered (verbalizzato).

Teaching tools

Slides and sample exercises will be available on the platform VIRTUALE: https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Office hours

See the website of Stephanie Heger

See the website of Enrico Cantoni


Quality education

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.