Applied Microeconomic Theory

ECN401 Applied Microeconomic Theory

  • Topics


    This course will cover a range of useful microeconomic tools for investigating firm and consumer decisions, market outcomes, and public policies.


    In the first part of the course, students will acquire further insight in models of consumer behavior, general competitive market equilibrium and public good provision. These insights and tools will then be used to find the answer to a range of empirical and theoretical questions.

    The second part will introduce students to game theory and equilibrium concepts. We use game theory to analyze different situation where buyers, firms or countries interact. Students will be able to use game theory tools to examine how the performance of markets and firms depend on strategic interaction and information about other players¿ actions and characteristics.


    To enhance students' understanding of the models, special attention will be paid to connecting theory and relevant applications. In addition, classroom experiments will give students first hand experience of the strengths and weaknesses of microeconomic models.

    The course will provide a solid background to any course using microeconomic tools. Examples include: industrial economics, behavioral economics, labor economics, public economics, corporate finance and international trade. 


    Topics (and examples of applications)

    A non-exhaustive list of topics covered in the course include:

    - consumer preferences and demands (Do people make consistent choices? Do Giffen goods really exist?);

    - expenditure functions and welfare measurement (Is Santa Claus an economist? What is the efficiency loss of the US food stamp programme?);

    - general equilibrium and the welfare gains of shared information (What are the efficiency gains of mobile phone coverage along the coast of Kerala?);

    - the demand for insurance and the welfare losses of asymmetric information (Unravelling of insurance markets);

    - public goods and other market failures (why no one wants to pay for a new road, but everyone will use it);

    - basic concepts in game theory (with applications on oligopoly, trade and tariffs, voting, tennis, law enforcement);

    - dynamic games and reputation models (with applications on advertising, limit capacity, price guarantees, collusion);

    - incomplete information (with applications on contract design, signaling, incentives, and auctions).

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    By the end of the course, the student

    • will have acquired the skill to apply a theoretical model to economic situations;
    • will be able to use the theoretical model to interpret the empirical evidence;
    • will have acquired the knowledge to formulate a theoretical model to address a microeconomic problem;
    • will understand how one can test the theoretical model using economic experiments

  • Teaching


    Regular lectures and four classroom experiments.

  • Required prerequisites

    Required prerequisites

    Students should be familiar with the material covered in the undergraduate mathematics course MET020 and the undergraduate microeconomics courses SAM010 and SAM020 (for a description, see the Student Handbook). The lecture series will be preceded by two lectures brushing up skills and knowledge of mathematical and statistical tools that will be used in later lectures. These two lectures are supplementary and not part of the ECN401 lectures.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    There will be two compulsory problem sets. Handing in of these sets is required to obtain credit for the course. In addition, students should participate in at least three of the four classroom experiments.

  • Assessment


    There is a three hour written exam consisting of problems related to both parts of the course. The final evaluation will be based for about 70% on the exam and for about 15% on each of the compulsory exercise sets.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale

    Grading scale A - F.

  • Semester



  • Literature


    The course will be based on a selection of articles. Students are also expected to read up on relevant chapters in Samiran Banerjee (2015) Intermediate microeconomics: a tool-building approach (London: Routledge) and in Joel Watson (2013) Strategy - An introduction to game theory, 3th ed (New York: W.W. Norton) 


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Course responsible

Eirik G. Kristiansen and Chang Koo, Department of Economics