37293 - Microeconomics

Course Unit Page


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

Decent work and economic growth Industry, innovation and infrastructure Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Aims: Students acquire a working knowledge of the fundamental topics of microeconomics: Theory of consumption, theory of production in competitive markets, partial equilibrium, general equilibrium and efficiency. Specifically, students will be able to analyze the determinants of demand and supply functions in two commodity models, to compute and analyze equilibria in simple partial and general equilibrium settings.

Course contents

Topics addressed should include:

1. Introduction to the market and the concept of economic rationality

2. Consumer Theory

- The budget
- Preferences and Utility
- Choice
- Individual demand (for goods and services)
- Labour supply

3. Market equilibrium
- Market demand
- Market equilibrium and the implications of taxes on consumption

4. Producer Theory
- Technology
- Profit maximisation
- Cost minimisation
- 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.


The first partial (mid-term) exam will cover topics 1., 2., and 3., while the second partial exam will cover topics 4., and 5.
Full exams can cover material from any of the five topics.


The text book 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 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 (slides, exercises) will be published on the university platform IOL - insegnamenti online (virtuale).

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures led by the course lecturer.

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

Assessment methods

Final written exam of about one and a half or two hours.
Mid term exam(s)/tests FOR CURRENT (1st year) STUDENTS ONLY (students from earlier years must take the full exams).
For students taking the mid-term exams, the final mark for the course will be an average of the marks in the two "partial" exams. Only students with a sufficiently high mark in the first mid-term exam will be admitted to the second partial: other candidates must proceed to the full exams.

During exams (mid-term or full exams) students will NOT be allowed to use materials such as: textbooks, lecture notes/slides; any written notes; web-enabled or data storage devices such as computers (laptops or tablets), or smartphones. Candidates found with such items will be removed from the exam and their work will not be marked.

The exams will contain a mixture of multiple choice (and possibly "fill in the blanks") questions, and computational/open exercises. The division of marks between the different types of question will be indicated on exam papers where this is appropriate.
The content and structure of exam questions is intended to assess familiarity with the material covered in the course lectures, and, in particular, to assess understanding of the theoretical content of the course. The nature of exam questions will closely follow examples covered as exercises during the course, and discussed in lectures/tutorials.

Due to the ongoing health emergency, it is possible that exams may need to be administered “online” for some or all students. This will not affect the structure of the written exam. However, written exams taken "online" may need to be supplemented with an oral exam. Online written exams would be administered using a combination of two software packages: most likely ZOOM and EOL (esami online).

Candidates will be required to enroll for exams via the University's electronic service (currently AlmaEsami). Exam marks will be published via the University's electronic service (AlmaEsami). The mark published after a second partial exam or after a full exam will be the student’s final mark for the course.
After exams students will be entitled to see their script by attending the lecturer’s office hour.
Students will be allowed to reject their final grade for the course exactly ONCE. When exam results are published, the date by which students must notify the course lecturer of their intention to reject their mark, will be communicated to candidates. Notification of the intention to reject must be sent in writing (by email). After the date specified, marks will be electronically registered (verbalizzato).

Final grades for the course will be out of 30. A grade of at least 18 is required to pass the course, and the maximum is 30 with distinction (“30 e lode”). As a guide, the grade scale (for “pass” grades) can be thought of as follows:

- 18 – 22: Adequate
- 23 – 25: Good
- 26 – 27: Very good
- 28 – 30: Excellent
- 30 e lode: Outstanding

Teaching tools


Example exercises

Students with a disability or specific learning disabilities (DSA) are required to make their condition known in order that the best possible accommodation to their needs may be found.

Office hours

See the website of Matthew John Wakefield