Principles of Microeconomics

Purpose of Course  showclose

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a basic understanding of the principles of microeconomics.  At its core, the study of economics deals with the choices and decisions that have to be made in order to manage scarce resources available to us. Microeconomics is the branch of economics that pertains to decisions made at the individual level, i.e. by individual consumers or individual firms, after evaluating resources, costs, and tradeoffs.  When we talk about “the economy,” then, we are referring to the marketplace or system in which these choices interact with one another.  In this course, we will learn how and why these decisions are made and how they affect one another in the economy.

Each of the following units has been designed as a building block, where the concepts you learn in one unit will enable you to understand the material you discover in the next.  By the end of this course, you will have a strong grasp on the major issues that face microeconomists, including consumer and producer behavior, the nature of supply and demand, the different kinds of markets and how they function, and the welfare outcomes of consumers and producers. You will also be able to apply the formal principles you learn to real world issues.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Think intuitively about economic problems.
  • Identify how individual economic agents make rational choices given scarce resources and will know how to optimize the use of resources at hand.
  • Understand some simplistic economic models related to Production, Trade, and the Circular Flow of Resources.
  • Analyze and apply the mechanics of Demand and Supply for Individuals, Firms, and the Market.
  • Apply the concept of Marginal Analysis in order to make optimal choices and identify whether the choices are “efficient” or “equitable.”
  • Apply the concept of Elasticity as a measure of responsiveness to various variables.
  • Identify the characteristic differences amongst various market structures, namely, Perfectly Competitive Markets, Non-Competitive Markets, and Imperfectly Competitive Markets and understand the differences in their operation.
  • Analyze how the Demand and Supply technique works for the Resource Markets.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer

√    Have continuous broadband internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Be competent in the English language

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Preliminary Information

  • Principles of Microeconomics

    You will be prompted to read sections of this book throughout the course.  You may choose to download the text in full now and skip to the appropriate section as prompted by the resource boxes below, or you can simply download the specific sections of the text assigned as you progress through each resource box below.

    Reading: Principles of Microeconomics (PDF)

    Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

Unit Outline show close