PhD Microeconomics II

ECS565 PhD Microeconomics II

Autumn 2024

  • Topics

    The purpose of this course is to give a solid introduction to microeconomic analysis of strategic interaction (games) and contracting, including principal-agent relationships. It introduces the basic analytical tools that are necessary to conduct research in any field in economics where such issues are of importance. The course is organised in two parts.

    Part A covers central topics in non-cooperative game theory. It presents relevant theory and equilibrium concepts for static and dynamic games, and for games of complete and incomplete information.

    Part B provides a solid introduction to contract theory. It covers first contracting problems where the agent has private information or can take actions that are unobservable to the principal in settings where complete contracts are feasible. It then covers the theory of incomplete contracts.

    Both parts A and B of the course apply the theory in several areas, including industrial organisation, auctions, labour markets and financial economics.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, the student can:


    • Explain the main results in game theory and contract theory.


    • Apply the methods to study problems related to strategic behaviour of individual agents in settings of symmetric and asymmetric information.

    General competence

    • Address microeconomic problems by structuring them as mathematical models.
    • Draft economic predictions through the use of mathematical tools.

  • Teaching

    The course consists of lectures and assignment classes.

  • Restricted access

    • PhD candidates at NHH
    • PhD candidates at Norwegian institutions
    • PhD candidates at other institutions
    • PhD candidates from the ENGAGE.EU alliance
    • Motivated master’s students may be admitted after application, but are subject to the approval from the course responsible on a case by case basis

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Students should have good knowledge of microeconomic concepts and tools at the master level.

  • Required prerequisites

    Students should have good knowledge of microeconomic concepts and tools at the intermediate level (such as SAM2 and SAM4).

  • Compulsory Activity

    Four written assignments.

    Compulsory activities (work requirements) are valid for one semester after the semester they were obtained.

  • Assessment

    4 hours written school exam with pen and paper.

    Re-take is offered the semester after the course was offered for students with valid compulsory activities (work requirements).

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    • Andreu Mas-Colell, Michael Whinston & Jerry Green (1995) Microeconomic Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
    • Patrick Bolton and Mathias Dewatripont (2005) Contract theory, The MIT Press

    Recommended reading

    • Robert Gibbons (1992) A Primer in Game Theory (New York: Prentice Hall)
    • Drew Fudenberg and Jean Tirole (1991) Game Theory, The MIT Press
    • Salanie, B. The Economics of Contracts, The MIT Press, 1999.
    • Laffont, J-J. and D. Martimort, The Theory of Incentives, The Princeton University Press, 2002.

  • This is an ENGAGE-course

    This course is offered to PhD candidates from the ENGAGE.EU alliance.

  • Permitted Support Material


    One bilingual dictionary (Category I)

    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support material


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Will be offered spring 2024.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Justin Valasek, Department of Economics (main course responsible)

Assistant Professor Heidi Thysen, Department of Economics