ECON2101 Microeconomics 2 - 2020

6 Units of Credit
This course outline is for the current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

​Decision-making by consumers, producers, and governments lies at the heart of economic analyses. The first half of this intermediate course in microeconomic theory is devoted to the study of rational decision-making and the modelling of associated market behaviour. We then study how individual economic decisions interact in markets with varying degrees of competition, paying substantial attention to the comparative welfare outcomes produced by different market forms. Additional topics include game theory and its applications, and market imperfections like oligopoly and externalities. There is substantial emphasis on the use of analytical and mathematical tools. These tools and the subject material underpin much of the current research in microeconomics.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

​This course provides an overview of Microeconomics at an intermediate level, and focuses on the application of microeconomics to the solving of problems. It builds on the foundation established in ECON1101, and uses mathematical techniques taught in ECON1202. It is also an essential prerequisite for ECON3101, ECON3107, ECON3123, and ECON3121. These later courses develop many of the ideas that are first introduced in Microeconomics 2. ECON2112 is a specialist course complementing the namesake material taught in this course.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-charge    Aleksandra BalyanovaUNSW Business School
Online consultation: Tues 11am-1pm and Wed 11am-12pm

​The Lecturer-in-charge is responsible for the overall direction and academic content of the course. Any questions or issues of an academic or administrative nature (i.e. anything other than the assessment results of the review and submission questions) should be directed to the Lecturer-in-charge first.

The Lecturer-in-charge should be contacted by email.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

​This course takes the approach that economic theory is best learnt through extensive practice with problem-solving. Students spend much of their energies working through numerical problems that require the direct application of theoretical principles. The philosophy underpinning this course and its Teaching and Learning Strategies are based on “Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching at UNSW".

The online material and assessment tasks have been designed to appropriately challenge students and support the achievement of the desired learning outcomes. Student participation in the online community of the course page is both strongly encouraged and assessed for a mark. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

​The examinable content of the course is defined by the Text references given in the Lecture Schedule, the content of Lectures, assigned problems in the Workbook and the submission questions.


A video lecture is provided for every topic/textbook chapter covered. Lecture slides are also made available for every topic. The purpose of the lecture video and corresponding slides is to provide a logical structure for the topics that make up the course, to emphasise the important concepts, models and methods of each topic, and to provide relevant examples to which the concepts and methods are applied.  

Lecture material is complemented by required reading of the appropriate parts of the textbook and the assessment program.  

Review Questions from Workbook

Review questions from the workbook are assigned for every chapter covered. These questions are NOT due for a mark, and solutions will be posted. The purpose of the review questions is to give you the opportunity to test your comprehension of a given topic, as well as a chance to familiarise yourself with the format of the exam, which will consist of exercises similar in structure and content to the workbook exercises.  


A video tutorial is provided for every topic covered. These tutorials consist of the working out of one of the review questions assigned for that week. The purpose of the tutorials is to demonstrate how to apply the theory covered in lecture to exercises, and to guide your own completion of the review questions.  

Additional video tutorials may be posted, consisting of the working out of review questions or containing an answer to a commonly-asked question. These additional tutorials will be posted at the discretion of the lecturer, but roughly in response to popular demand. The place to voice questions about the textbook reading, lectures and exercises is the online forum, which will be monitored and participated in by the lecturer.

Submission Questions

Over the course of the term, 2 sets of submission questions will be due for a mark. These submission questions will be posted on the course website during the term. The purpose of the submission questions is to give you an additional chance to practice applying the theory to specific numerical exercises, and to give you a chance to receive feedback on your work from the teaching staff.

Recommended studying strategy

The recommended way to approach the material for every topic is as follows:

  1. Read the assigned textbook reading.
  2. Look over the lecture slides and watch the lecture video.
  3. Attempt the review questions on your own, without looking at the solutions.
  4. Check your work against the solutions. Keep in mind that it is possible to get the right answer to an exercise for the wrong reasons.
  5. Watch the tutorial videos, voice any questions or doubts about the material or the exercises on the online forum.

Please post questions on a given topic during the week that material is covered. The online nature of the content delivery allows you to go at your own pace, but it is strongly advised that you do not let yourself get behind the schedule.

The primary key to successful learning in this course is self-motivation because it is delivered online. It is strongly recommended that you go through the lecture slides, the lecture recordings AND THE TEXTBOOK.  

Mathematical background

Another key to successful learning is familiarity with the quantitative methods at the level of ECON1202; their importance cannot be overemphasised. You are strongly encouraged to review those methods as early in the term as possible. Note that this course builds up. It is imperative that you build up your maths background for the course.

You will find that the course is very heavy on calculus and linear algebra.  

The material covered in the first weeks is meant to provide you with a set of analytical and mathematical tools – for this reason, the first weeks may appear less content-heavy than the last weeks. The first weeks move relatively slowly exactly to provide you with the opportunity to familiarise yourself with these tools. Once you’ve mastered the problem-solving tools (constrained maximisation, etc.) covered in the first weeks of the course, you will find that those tools remain useful for the material covered in the last weeks of the course.

5. Course Resources

​The website for this course is:

Students should also familiarise themselves with Moodle, as some course information will also be accessible there:

Students are expected to:

  • Make sure that they are officially enrolled in Microeconomics 2
  • Familiarise themselves with Moodle
  • Access the OpenLearning site daily as the site will contain important announcements about the course, as well as all of the course material.

It will be assumed that all students have seen any notice posted on the course website.  

Textbook and Workbook  

The prescribed textbook for this course is:

Varian, Hal R. (2010): Intermediate Microeconomics, Ninth Edition [Norton].

The prescribed workbook for this course is:

Bergstrom, Theodore C. and Varian, Hal R. (2010): Workouts in Intermediate Microeconomics, Ninth Ed. [Norton]

Students must obtain access to both the textbook AND the workbook.  

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 6th January


Budget constraint



Reference (Varian)

Ch. 2; Ch. 3; Ch. 4

Review questions

Ch 2: 1,3,5,7,12

Ch 3: 1,2,3,5,7,8,13

Ch 4: 1,2,3,6,8,9,10

Submission Question 1 is due 10 January 2020, 23:55 AEDST

Week 2: 13th January



Market Demand

Consumer Surplus

Reference (Varian)

Ch. 5 (skip 4, 6); Ch. 6; Ch. 15 (1, 2, 5, 6 only), Ch. 14

Review questions

Ch 5: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Ch 6: 1,2,3,5,7

Ch 15: 0,1 (a through d)

Ch 14: 1,3,5,6,7

Week 3: 20th January



Profit Maximization

Cost Minimisation

Cost Curves

Reference (Varian)

Ch. 19; Ch. 20 (skip 11), Ch. 21; Ch. 22

Review questions

Ch 19: 1,2,3,4,9,10,11

Ch 20: 1,2,3,10

Ch 21: 1,2,3,4,9

Ch 22: 1,2,3,4,8,9

Submission Question 2 is due 24 January 2020, 23:55 AEDST

Week 4: 27th January


Firm Supply

Industry Supply



Reference (Varian)

Ch. 23; Ch. 24 (skip 10, 11); Ch. 16; Ch. 25; Ch. 26 (1, 2, 4 only)

Review questions

Ch 23: 1,2,3,4,7

Ch 24: 4,5,7,8,9

Ch 16: 1,2,3,4

Ch 25: 1,2,4

Ch 26: 1,2,3,5

Week 5: 3rd February

Game Theory



Reference (Varian)

Ch. 29; Ch. 30 (1, 2, 3, 4 only); Ch. 28 (skip 3, 7, 8); Ch. 35 (3, 4, 5 only)

Review questions

Ch 29: 1,2,5,6

Ch 30: 2,4,5

Ch 28: 4,5,6,7

Ch 35: 2,5,8,9


8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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