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Economics: an Introduction

Economics: an Introduction

An immersive summer course designed to introduce adult students to the fundamental principles of Economics, and how they apply to and impact our everyday lives.

A one-week programme, designed and taught by economics experts and residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

This course will introduce students to a broad range of topics in both micro- and macro-economics.

Micro-economics focuses on firms, individuals and the interaction with government policies, whilst macro-economics takes a ‘big-picture’ view of an economy and examines the relationships between households, companies and governments and different types of markets such as the financial and labour markets.

Whilst this course is an introduction, it aims to rigorously instill a strong ‘economist mind-set’ in students. It will do this through the application of the most widely used and influential micro- and macro-economic models, placing these highly influential theories into the context of debates taking place today with a view to critically assessing their continuing relevance and adaptability in explaining economic behaviour in highly uncertain environments.

It will reassess the basic economic problems of choice, opportunity cost and resource allocation in the current global environment and use the core models at the heart of the micro-economic ‘canon’, such as supply and demand and elasticity, to analyse new, emerging and potential future trends in consumer, business and factor markets (such as the labour market). There will be a wide range of country and industry analyses provided in order to determine the extent to which these countries have the best fitting economic models and are utilising scarce resources as efficiently as possible. The course will round off with a discussion on the prospects and opportunities for economic growth in future years and critically assess the validity of existing growth models to meet the challenges identified on the course.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will:

  • Know and understand in more detail how households, companies and governments behave under different national and international market conditions and use this knowledge and understanding to forecast potential future changes
  • Be able to use the tools of both micro- and macro-economic analysis to further investigate economic challenges, issues and problems and develop an action plan for further study
  • See how household and company behaviour is changing and be able to track changes in government micro- and macroeconomic policy thinking
  • Use the information and data provided on the course to make more accurate predictions about future of micro- and macroeconomic trends and developments

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Studying Economics – the central economic problems of scarcity, choice and opportunity cost in the production and consumption of goods and services.

Microeconomic and macroeconomic issues – contemporary global challenges for individuals, firms, governments and policy makers.

Seminar 1: The basic economic problem and resource allocation in the 21st century- contemporary challenges at both micro- and macro-economic levels
Tuesday Lecture 2: Supply and Demand – the changing nature of buyer and supplier behaviour
Seminar 2: Elasticity of supply and demand in a fast changing world- practical exercisess
Wednesday Lecture 3: Government and the economy at both micro- and macro-level levels. Market failure and government intervention
Seminar 3: Investigating the key economic indicators and policies, identifying trends and drawing conclusions through case analysis
Thursday Lecture 4: Introducing Macroeconomics – aggregate supply and demand and the key macroeconomic challenges of economic growth, unemployment, inflation and the balance of payments in uncertain and unstable times
Seminar 4: Comparative global economic case study analysis – aggregate supply and demand
Friday Lecture 5: Economic growth and sustainability in challenging times
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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