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Introduction to Economics


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Professor Stephen Wright
  • Assessment: a two-hour final examination (50%) and coursework (50%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to core issues in economics, with a particular emphasis on the role of evidence - contemporary and historical - and fundamental economic principles. It will reflect the consensus, and absence of it, on economic theories and evidence, and the problems of establishing what might be true in this area.

The module is centred on an exciting development: the CORE Economics Project. This is the result of continuing collaboration among major universities throughout the world to produce a new module, more relevant to the modern world and to the lives of today’s students. It is currently being used at UCL, King's College London, Bristol University, Columbia University (New York), the Central European University (Budapest), Sciences Po (Paris), the University of Chile, in Sydney, and in many other places. It is continuously evolving in response to current developments and student feedback.

CORE provides a textbook (interactive e-book or PDF), videos and interactive exercises. All the material can be accessed from a PC or smartphone. Note that it is not accessed via our online learning environment Moodle. It is straightforward to register.

At various points in the module we may also make use of supplementary teaching materials, usually provided online.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand key features of economic data, in modern economies and in the process of historical development
  • identify the roles of key elements of a modern economy: firms, workers, consumers, markets, technology and financial institutions
  • use key economic principles, such as the insights that can be gained from models of constrained choice
  • identify key policy issues
  • understand the role of models, competing theories and empirical evidence
  • understand and explain the basis for the supply and demand framework under competitive markets
  • explain how failures of competition can change outcomes in certain circumstances, for example, the impact of monopoly power, externalities; incomplete markets; strategic behaviour and altruism
  • understand evidence and various theories relating to macroeconomics.