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Department of Economics

Microeconomic theory and techniques (MSc RID)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

This course is only available to students enrolled on the MSc Research for International Development programme.

The course provides students with a thorough treatment of modern microeconomics, building on a plurality of analytical frameworks such as institutional, structural, evolutionary and critical economic theories as well as advancements in conventional economics. In this course particular emphasis is put on the microeconomics of development and those theoretical constructs useful for disentangling the dynamics of economic systems. Specifically the course will cover Game Theory (with a focus on ‘social and strategic interaction’); Theories of the firm, Production and Change (with a focus on the ‘structural embeddedness’ of economic development); Theories dealing with ‘real world’ market phenomena (namely, Asymmetric Information, Labour Processes and Relations, Externalities, Public Goods, Commons and Collective Action theories). Moreover the building blocks of conventional economics (Consumption Theory, General Equilibrium and Competition Theories) will be critically discussed and alternative perspectives introduced. Case studies are used from a variety of developing countries.

This course will delivered alongside the parallel course Microeconomics, worth 18 CATS credits. Students will have the opportunity to attend all lectures, but the examinable component will be approximately 85% of the 18 CATS credits syllabus. The following topic will not be part of the examinable component of this course: Week 5: Competition is as competition does?

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course, students will be expected to:

  • Understand the internal structure and assumptions of the different analytical frameworks, their explanatory power and limitations;
  • Summarise and present different theoretical models in a conceptually and analytically rigorous form, also with references to case studies;
  • Adopt different analytical concepts and models in framing development and policy-relevant problems.

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: Exam 70% / Coursework 30% (1 essay). Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.

Suggested reading

Background Reading

  • Varian, H. (1992) Microeconomic Analysis, 3rd ed., Norton.
  • Kreps, D. (1990) Game Theory and Economic Modelling, Oxford.
  • Bowles, S. (2004) Microeconomics. Behaviour, Institutions and Evolution, Princeton.
  • Elsner, W. (2012) Microeconomics of Interactive Economies. Evolutionary, Institutional and Complexity Perspectives, Edward Elgar.