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ECON102 Microeconomics 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Economics is fundamentally about everyday life and microeconomics analyses the decisions made by individuals, businesses, the government and society about resource use. Underpinning this unit is the important economics concepts of scarcity and opportunity cost. This unit will introduce students to the choices that are made, alternatives foregone, and the consequences of these decisions. Students will address the current economic problems that the consumer and firm face in the microeconomy.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to neoclassical economics and an insight into how microeconomics terms and concepts can be applied to a wide range of real-life scenarios.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe economic concepts and their application to contemporary microeconomic issues (GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Explain how the market system allocates scarce resources (GA4, GA8)

LO3 - Identify the role of the government, its policies and influence on markets and overarching government policies for First Peoples (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Investigate the economic behaviour of individuals, firms and institutions and communicate this in oral and written forms (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA9)

LO5 - Apply information technology and mathematical models to problem-solving real-world applications of microeconomic theory (GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • The economic problem arising from scarcity, the issues of resource allocation and economic efficiency and the role of economics in personal and business decision-making; 
  • Economic systems (market economy, centrally planned economy, mixed economies);
  • Economic systems of the First Peoples; 
  • Economic choices and questions of the First Peoples; 
  • Consumer and demand;
  • The factors affecting supply;
  • Market Equilibrium and the role of the price mechanism in the market;
  • Elasticity;
  • Firm production, decisions and costs of the firm;
  • Market failures (externalities, public goods, imperfect information and market power);
  • The hybrid economy framework;
  • Markets and hybrid economy;
  • The role of government in setting incentives and intervening in the economy;
  • Market structures and firm behaviour; 
  • Foundation techniques in microanalysis.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is designed to be offered fully online and will include synchronous delivery of unit content, collaborative online learning activities and other technology-enabled learning synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities to foster interaction between students.

This unit embraces a constructivist approach to learning where students are encouraged to acquire, assimilate and apply microeconomic economic terms and concepts to real-world issues. Lectures will provide relevant microeconomic theory and content and tutorials will incorporate scaffolded activities carefully designed by the lecturer to assist in the development of skills particular to the discipline such as applying economic models. Students will engage in a variety of tasks related to constructing and applying economic terms, concepts and models to real-world scenarios. Tutorial participation will also provide an opportunity to improve group cohesion and collaboration.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, videos etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment items have been particularly designed to cover a variety of tasks, support discipline standards, and enable differentiation of levels of achievement.

1. Skills Development Task

This type of assessment has been chosen to effectively measure the learning outcomes LO1-LO2 and is scaffolded so that students undertake hands-on practical activities that include problem-solving, economic simulation activities and games, discussion of case studies. These stages of the task develop and test knowledge of basic microeconomic theories and equip students with the discipline required skills in order to analyse real-world microeconomic situations at the basic level. In addition to teaching students to work both autonomously and collaboratively as a group, this style of assessment is excellent for encouraging the application, translation and interpretation of economics concepts learnt on a continuous basis.

2. Research assignment

This type of assessment is built upon the skills development tasks and has been chosen to effectively measure the learning outcomes LO2-LO4. The main virtues of this assessment are that it provides students with the opportunity to develop the capacity to interpret, translate, apply, critique and evaluate real-world economic data and theories discussed in the unit applied to a particular microeconomic issue.

3. Final exam

This type of assessment has been chosen to effectively measure the learning outcomes LO2-LO5. This assessment offers the assurance that the work belongs to the student. The other main advantage of this assessment is that it provides assurance that students have attained the knowledge, skills, and depositions tested in the exam.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Skills Development Task

The purpose of the task is to provide an opportunity for students to apply relevant microeconomic terms and models to real-world scenarios and build relevant skills on the basic level on an ongoing basis.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Research assignment

The purpose of the assignment is to equip students with basic knowledge of macroeconomic theories and develop skills in gathering real-world economic data and sources. Students will use these to perform an economic analysis of a particular microeconomic issue and communicate the finding on this issue on the basic fundamental level required by the discipline and profession.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Final exam

The final exam will test students’ ability to apply relevant theories, ideas and concepts learned across the semester to a set of particular economic questions that require the usage of critical thinking and other skills learned in the subject at the foundational level.


LO2, LO3, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Acemoglu, D., Laibson, D., and List, J. (2018). Microeconomics (2nd ed.). Pearson.

Baumol, W., and Blinder, A. (2019). Economics - Principles and Policy (13th ed.). Cengage Learning, Melbourne.

Gans, J. King, S. Byford, M., and Mankiw, N. (2019). Principles of Microeconomics (7th ed.). Cengage Learning, Melbourne.

Hubbard, G., Garnett, A.M., Lewis, P., and O'Brien, A. (2018). Essentials of Economics (4th ed.). Pearson Education, Sydney.

Kolmar M., and Hoffmann M. (2018). Workbook for Principles of Microeconomics, Springer Texts in Business and Economics.

Miller, R.G. (2018). Economics Today: The Micro View (19th ed.). Pearson Education, London.

Parkin, M., and Bade, R. (2019). Microeconomics: Australia in the Global Environment (2nd ed.). Pearson Australia.

Stiglitz, J., Walsh, C.E., Guest, R., Gow, G., Tani, M., and Richmond, W. (2015). Principles of Economics (2nd Australian Edition). Wiley, Milton.

Sanders, W. (2016), Engaging Indigenous Economy: Debating diverse approaches.  Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Research Monograph Series, volume 35, ANU Press, available online Engaging Indigenous Economy: Debating diverse approaches on JSTOR


Further references

Australian Bureau of Statistics,

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