Introduction to Economics

SAM1 Introduction to Economics

Spring 2021

  • Topics

    The course has two parts. The first is a short introduction to microeconomics - demand and supply, equilibrium in a perfectly competitive market, economic efficiency and the efficiency property of perfect markets, market failure and economic policy. The second part illustrates applications of economics at the macro and micro level. E.g., why some countries succeed while others don´t, why the world faces a climate problem and how it can be solved, why drug dealers in Chicago and MBAs from Harvard work long hours for a low wage, why seemingly nice and rational paople are caring in one moment and selfish in the next.

  • Learning outcome

    The course gives a first, short introduction to economics. The goals are (1) to teach the students basic elements of economic theory, (2) to give them an understanding of the economic approach to issues and problems, and (3) to illustrate, through micro and macro examples, applications of economics.

    Upon completion of the course, the students will:

    Knowledge :

    • know that economics is about allocation of scare resources, and based on this be able to think systematically in terms of alternatives
    • understand how prices and quantities are determined in perfectly competitive markets, be able to explain where supply and demand curves come from and how they reveal firms´ marginal costs and consumers´ marginal willingness to pay
    • know what is meant by economic efficiency, be able to explain why perfect markets result in an efficient allocation of resources, and know about different sources of market failure
    • be able to explain how economic policy may correct a market failure  
    • know examples of modern empirical analyses in economics


    • be able to illustrate a market equilibrium and how it is reached   
    • be able to illustrate consumer and producer surplus
    • be able to illustrate market failure and how policy may correct a market failure
    • be able to illustrate relatively elastic and inelastic demand and supply and the consequences for whether consumers or producers are carrying the burden of a tax
    • be able to apply economics to at least one specific case

    General competence:

    • understand and be able to use core economics language
    • know about key themes in economics
    • know about popular scientific literature in economics
    • have written a text about an important topic in economics


ECTS Credits

Course responsible

Assistant Professor, Alexander Willén, Department of Economics