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An Introduction to the Principles of Microeconomics

Understand how economics can help improve the world around us as you delve into the principles of microeconomics.

411 enrolled on this course

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An Introduction to the Principles of Microeconomics

411 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Gain an introduction to microeconomics

This four-week course will help you explore microeconomics – the study of the decisions that individuals, households, and firms make when allocating resources.

You’ll gain knowledge of the key principles of microeconomics as well as the theories underpinning modern economies.

By the end, you’ll understand why studying the interaction of individuals and firms is crucial in achieving better outcomes for society.

Delve into the economic problem

Making choices about the best use of scarce resources is what’s known as the economic problem.

On the course, you’ll unpack the economic problem to understand whether the problem has become more difficult to solve. You’ll learn how economists have tried to solve the problem and the systems that could be used to do so.

Explore the importance of consumer preferences

Next, you’ll delve into consumer preferences and how individual tastes affect decision-making.

You’ll explore marginal utility, which is the enjoyment a consumer gains from buying an additional unit of a service or product. Then, you’ll unpack incomes, budgets, and psychological constraints to gain a greater understanding of the individual in microeconomics.

Understand market failure

Finally, you’ll unpack the market failure and how the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not working.

Within this, you’ll explore the role of governments and the importance of economics in guiding policy makers.

By the end, you’ll have an understanding of how microeconomic theory can be used to understand the workings of a modern economy and will have developed an appreciation of what economists are trying to achieve.


  • Week 1

    Dreary, desolate, and distressing

    • An introduction to microeconomics

      The perception of economics often seems far removed from the reality of the subject. What are we really trying to achieve through studying economics?

    • Economics is a choice between alternatives all the time

      An introduction to the concept of opportunity cost and its importance in economics.

    • Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren

      Keynes believed that the economic problem, specifically that of trading leisure time for work, would be solved if not in his lifetime not long after.

    • Efficiency

      In order to analyse the free market we must first learn how economists measure the efficiency of the system attempting to solve the basic economic problem.

    • The control of the commanding heights

      In this activity we will introduce the two general ways of solving the basic economic problem: a central plan and the free market.

  • Week 2

    The Market

    • Introduction to Week 2

      A brief introduction to Week 2 and the topics we will cover

    • Consumer preferences

      The theory of consumer preferences and choice is the part of microeconomics that relates consumer want and needs to expenditures, and helps us understand consumer demand.

    • Production

      Allocating resources through the price mechanism affords firms a crucial role in meeting the wants and needs of society.

    • Market Structures

      Market structure refers to the characteristics of a market that determine firms’ behaviour such as: the number of firms, the relative size of the firms, and the ease or difficulty with which these new firms can join.

  • Week 3

    Market Failure

    • Introduction to Week 3

      In Week 3 we are going to look at how the price mechanism fails to achieve an efficient allocation of resources. We have learned in Week 2 how the market works, now we will investigate how it fails.

    • The Harm Principle

      John Stuart Mill outlined the inefficient outcomes markets can lead to due to external impacts.

    • "Guinness is good for you" and the information problem.

      Markets may lead to inefficient outcomes due to informational problems.

    • Missing Markets

      In this activity we will look at goods not provided by the free market despite adding to social welfare if they were to be provided.

    • Monopoly

      Our assumption of market equilibrium and resource allocation is highly dependent on competition in markets, history tells us this is a dangerous assumption to make.

  • Week 4

    The State is Wise and The Market is Stupid

    • Market-based interventions

      We will investigate how markets can be tweaked by governments to create more efficient outcomes.

    • Command and Control policies

      We investigate government policies that have to be obeyed by law.

    • Behavioural Economics and Government Policy

      We will investigate how governments around the world are increasingly making use of insights from behavioural science to inform policy decisions.

    • Course Conclusion

      This will bring the course to a close. You will reflect on what you have learnt over the past four weeks and decide whether you believe the free-market inevitably fails.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of the economic problem
  • Develop an understanding of how economists have sought to solve the basic economic problem
  • Discuss the importance of economics in guiding policy makers
  • Explain how microeconomic theory can be used to analyse the world around us

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for sixth form students who are currently studying economics. You’ll gain an in-depth look into economics that goes beyond broad A-Level specifications.

It will also be particularly useful if you are intending to apply to study an economics-related course at university and want to develop an insight into the workings of microeconomics.

Who will you learn with?

I have taught A-Level Economics since 2014 and currently work as Head of Economics at The Manchester Grammar School.

Who developed the course?

Manchester Grammar School

Our history dates back to the time of Henry VIII, when The Manchester Grammar School was founded in 1515 by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, to provide ‘godliness and good learning’ to the poor boys of Manchester.

The School proceeded to build a reputation as one of the country’s leading educational establishments, a position it still holds today as an independent day school.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 24 Mar 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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