ECON 1221: Introduction to Basic Economics

Students develop a basic understanding of economic principles, which allows for and encourages informed discussion of media-covered issues. Topics include contrasting macroeconomics and microeconomics; gross domestic product; economic growth and business cycles; unemployment and inflation; aggregate supply and demand; scarcity, opportunity costs, and trade; law of supply and demand; accounting versus economic profits; money and exchange rates; government choices, markets, efficiency, and equity; monopoly and competition; externalities, public goods, and free riders; and globalization and trade policy.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Explain the differences between macroeconomics and microeconomics.
  • Apply the concepts of scarcity, choice and opportunity costs for making smart choices.
  • Describe how buyers and sellers compete and cooperate in markets in determining prices.
  • Explain the relationship between supply, demand, and prices in an economy.
  • Compare and contrast economic and accounting profits.
  • Describe the important measures of aggregate performance of an economy.
  • Distinguish between nominal and real economic measures.
  • Discuss the economic costs of unemployment and inflation.
  • Discuss the challenges in meeting macroeconomic performance targets.
  • Explain the roles of money and exchange rates in influencing economic outcomes.
  • Compare and contrast monopoly, perfect competition and other market structures.
  • Apply the concept of marginal in economic decision-making.
  • Apply the concept of externalities to real world issues.
  • Explain the process of globalization and its implications for trade policy.
  • Apply basic economic concepts to current events in the media.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Basic concepts in economics
  • Module 2: Demand, supply and markets
  • Module 3: Accounting profits, economic profits and economic decision-making
  • Module 4: Macroeconomic concepts: gross domestic product, economic growth and business cycles
  • Module 5: Macroeconomic challenges: unemployment, inflation and macroeconomic performance
  • Module 6: Money and exchange rates
  • Module 7: Market structures: compare and contrast
  • Module 8: Externalities and the role of public policy
  • Module 9: Globalization and trade policy

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

Cohen, A.J. (2020) Macroeconomics and Microeconomics for Life: Smart Choices for All? Plus MyLab with Pearson eText (2nd ed) Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.
Type: Textbook: ISBN: 9780136812128

The bundle contains:

  • Cohen, A.J. (2020). Macroeconomics for Life: Smart Choices for All? + MyLab Economics with Pearson eText (updated 2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.
    Type: Textbook: ISBN: 9780136716532
  • Cohen, A.J. (2015). Microeconomics for Life: Smart Choices for You + MyLab Economics with Pearson eText (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.
    Type: Textbook: ISBN: 9780133899368

Note: The above textbooks comes bundled with MyLab Economics with Pearson eText. It is not required, however it may be helpful as a study aid.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

In order to successfully complete this course, students must complete the mandatory coursework and achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final exam.

Assignment 1: Module 1 and 2 8%
Quiz 1: Modules 1, 2 and 3 9%
Assignment 2: Modules 3 and 4 8%
Assignment 3: Module 5 8%
Quiz 2: Modules 4, 5 and 6 9%
Assignment 4: Modules 7, 8, and 9 8%
Final Exam (mandatory) 50%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information when starting the course.

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