Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

ESPO1170 - Economics I


Credits : 5

Lecturer :
Teaching assistants :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory and 15 hours of exercises.

Timetable :
First term
Tuesday from 13:30 to 15:30 at 43 Botanique 5

Language of instruction :
The class and the reference book are in English. The reference book is also available in French.

Learning outcomes :
The aim of this course is to provide the students with a first approach to a rigorous analysis of the micro-economic mechanisms of a market economy. More specifically, the objectives are:
1. Familiarize the students with the basic concepts and the fundamental mechanisms of the micro-economic analysis;
2. Get the students to use those mechanisms and concepts to carry out a rigorous analysis of several "real-life" economic problems and economic policy recommendations;
The chosen methodology is a qualitative and graphical presentation of economic models, so as to provide the students with an array of intuitions regarding micro-economic analysis.

Prerequisites :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
The Economics 1 course will start with a presentation of the demand and supply economic model in order to provide an analysis of the mechanisms and inner workings of competitive markets (price determination, equilibrium quantity, etc.). It will also be the occasion to investigate the impact on the competitive equilibrium of some public policies such as price control and indirect taxation.
The course will then determine why, and under which conditions, free trade can be viewed as an efficient way to coordinate the actions of specialized economic agents. Through a careful examination of the (utopic) necessary conditions a market must fulfil so as to be considered perfectly competitive, it will be brought to the students' attention that those conditions are seldom (if ever) respected: the course will then provide an overview of several market failures, as well as study in detail several types of imperfect competition.
Finally, the question of the possibility (and the necessity) of public intervention in a market economy will remain a central focus throughout the course.

Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: "To think like an economist" - basic concepts (Mankiw, chapitres 1 et 2)

Part II: Supply and demand - how markets work
Chapter 3: The market forces of supply and demand (Mankiw, ch. 4, ch. 5)
Chapter 4: Consumers, producers and the efficiency of markets (Mankiw, ch. 7, 8)
Chapter 5: Supply, demand and government policies (Mankiw, ch. 6)

Part III: Market failures under perfect competition
Chapter 6: Externalities (Mankiw, ch.10)
Chapter 7: Public goods and common resources (Mankiw ch. 11)

Part IV: Firm behavior in competitive markets
Chapter 8: The costs of production (Mankiw, ch. 13)
Chapter 9: Firms in competitive markets (Mankiw, ch. 14)

Part V: Imperfect competition
Chapter 10: The monopoly and other examples of imperfect compeition (Mankiw ch. 10, 11)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
a) Plenary lectures
During the plenary lectures, the professor presents the concepts and mechanisms associated to the different models. Those lectures will follow the course outline presented above.

b) Exercise sessions
The exercise sessions are carried out in small groups, and aim at checking knowledge acquisition as well as applying the theoretical concepts presented in class to solve exercises and case studies. So as to benefit from those sessions, the students should have reviewed the corresponding lectures.

c) Personal work
Regular personal work is critical for success. As the course goes on, each student is expected to devote sufficient time so as to make sure he/she understands the subjects being treated. The revision period at the end of the semester should not be the occasion to discover the course content, but rather to strengthen the comprehension of a course that is already known by the student. Personal meetings with the course assistants and the professor can be arranged for the students who specifically ask it.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The final exam is written. It requires a knowledge of the theoretical concepts as well as the ability to apply those concepts to the resolution of applied exercises (similar but not identical to those treated in the exercise sessions) and the analysis of real-life economic problems.

Recommended or required reading :
Reference book: Economics, N. Gregory Mankiw and Mark P. Taylor, third edition, 2014.

Other information :