ECON 1901: Principles of Microeconomics

Students examine the interaction between individuals and firms in various types of markets. Topics include the fundamental principles of microeconomics; supply and demand; markets and welfare; government intervention; behaviour of the firm; market organization; and income distribution.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Define the principle of opportunity cost.
  • Identify the principle of comparative advantage.
  • Describe the principles of demand, supply, and market price and quantity determination.
  • Summarize the effects of price controls and taxes in markets.
  • Explain how markets can lead to efficient and desirable quantity and price outcomes for society.
  • Discuss how markets can lead to inefficient and undesirable quantity and price outcomes for society.
  • Summarize how taxes being imposed in markets can affect the efficiency of these markets.
  • Illustrate how international trade can lead to more efficient and desirable quantity and price outcomes for society.
  • Express how externalities affect the social efficiency of markets, and what can be done to improve the social efficiency of markets in which externalities exist.
  • Discuss how public goods can be provided, and how common resources can be managed for economic efficiency.
  • Explain the equity-efficiency trade-off in economics in the context of taxation.
  • Describe the principle of rising marginal cost, its relation to average cost and other costs, and how costs for the firm differ in the short and long runs.
  • Review the principle of profit maximization and how it is used by firms to determine their output in the short and long runs.
  • Illustrate how the output and entry and exit decisions of firms in competitive markets determine the price and supply of output in the short and long runs.
  • Explain how prices and outputs are determined in markets characterized by just one seller (monopoly), a few sellers (oligopoly), or by many sellers of unique but similar products (monopolistic competition).

Course topics

ECON 1901: Principles of Microeconomics includes seven modules; each covering topics as listed here:

  • Module 1: Fundamental Principles of Microeconomics
    • Principles of Decision Making and Economic Interaction
    • The Scientific Method
    • The Production Possibilities Frontier
    • Microeconomics versus Macroeconomics
    • Positive versus Normative Analysis
    • Specialization and Trade
    • Comparative Advantage and Gains from Trade
  • Module 2: Principles of Supply and Demand
    • The Demand Curve
    • The Supply Curve
    • Demand, Supply, and Market Equilibrium
    • Elasticity of Demand and Supply
    • Applications of Elasticity
    • Price Controls: Ceilings and Floors
    • Effects of Taxes
  • Module 3: Principles of Markets and Welfare
    • Consumer Surplus
    • Producer Surplus
    • Markets and Efficiency
    • Market Failure
    • Taxes and Inefficiency
    • Gains and Losses from International Trade
    • Arguments for and against International Trade
  • Module 4: Principles of Government Intervention
    • Externalities
    • Public Goods
    • Common Property Resources
    • Taxation and Government Spending
    • Taxes and Efficiency
    • Taxes and Equity
    • The Equity and Efficiency Trade-off
  • Module 5: Principles of Firm Behaviour
    • Principles of Production and Costs
    • Various Measures of Short-Run Production Costs
    • The Long Run Average Cost Curve
    • Perfectly Competitive Firms and Markets
    • The Principle of Profit Maximization
    • Production in the Short and Long Run
    • Perfectly Competitive Supply in the Short and Long Run
  • Module 6: Principles of Market Organization
    • Monopoly and Profit Maximization
    • Is Monopoly Efficient?
    • Oligopoly and Market Equilibrium
    • Monopolistic Competition
    • Monopolistic Competition and Efficiency
  • Module 7: Principles of Income Distribution
    • Labour Demand and Supply
    • Labour Market Equilibrium
    • Wage Differentials

Required text and materials

  1. Mankiw, N. Gregory, Ronald D. Kneebone, Kenneth J. McKenzie, and Nicholas Rowe. Principles of Microeconomics. Seventh Canadian Edition. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2017.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-17-659197-7 / 0-17-659197-4
  1. Manouchehri, S and P Fortuna. Study Guide to Accompany Principles of Microeconomics. Seventh Canadian Edition. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2017.
    Type: Study Guide. ISBN: 978-0-17-674540-0 / 0-17-674540-8

Additional requirements

Computer with Internet is required.

Calculator (Required)

A calculator, one that does arithmetic operations, is required. You may use a basic calculator (i.e., a calculator not capable of storing information) in writing the final exam.


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.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 7%
Assignment 2 7%
Assignment 3 7%
Assignment 4 7%
Assignment 5 7%
Assignment 6 7%
Assignment 7 7%
Final Exam * 51%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

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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