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  • Course name: Introduction to Principles of Microeconomics

As an Introduction to the Principles of Microeconomics, this micro course begins by defining some of the major ideas lying at the heart of economics. What, for example, is the economic way of thinking? What do economists mean when they throw around terms like “market structure” and “the invisible hand”?

We then address the driving principle behind microeconomics: the idea that individuals and firms (economic agents) make rational choices based on self-interest. You will also be introduced to a number of economic models, the assumptions and constraints associated with each, and the ways they help us better understand real-life situations.

We will then turn our attention to the “ceteris paribus assumption”: the assumption that all variables – with the exception of those in explicit consideration – will remain constant. You will then examine the supply and demand models and the resulting market equilibrium that occurs where the supply curve and the demand curve intersect, the causes of movements along the curve, and the set of factors that cause the curves to shift, affecting both price and quantity, before discussing the meaning and significance of elasticity.

Finally, we will take a look at what happens when a market fails to produce a reasonable equilibrium, and evaluate various ways in which the government can address these failures and begin to understand the intricate relationship between government and economics.

Course metrics

  • Approximate learning hours: 27 hours
  • Course: One of three micro courses for Principles of Microeconomics
  • Level: 1st year Bachelor Degree

About Principles of Microeconomics


The purpose of these three micro courses is to provide you with a basic understanding of the principles of microeconomics.

At its core, the study of economics deals with the choices and decisions that have to be made in order to manage scarce resources available to us. Microeconomics is the branch of economics that pertains to decisions made at the individual level, i.e., by individual consumers or individual firms after evaluating resources, costs, and tradeoffs. When we talk about the economy, we are referring to the marketplace or system in which these choices interact with one another.

In these courses, you will learn how and why these decisions are made and how they affect one another in the economy. Each of the following lessons has been designed as a building block, where the concepts you learn in one lesson will enable you to understand the material you discover in the next lesson.

By the end of these courses, you will have a strong grasp on the major issues that face microeconomists, including consumer and producer behavior, the nature of supply and demand, the different kinds of markets and how they function, and the welfare outcomes of consumers and producers. You will also be able to apply the formal principles you learn to real world issues. The scope and emphasis of these courses goes beyond a general understanding of microeconomics to incorporate the core concepts of the overall field of economics.

Credits and licensing

This course has been adapted from OER originally created/assembled by the Saylor Academy.

This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.