APME83-Consumer, Producers, Markets and Trade

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Garth Holloway

Email: garth.holloway@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Engage with the rigorous application of microeconomic reasoning underpinning the theory and practice of consumer, producer, market, and trade behaviour analysis. Examine the theories of these interlinked concepts and focus on the application of microeconomic tools to understand empirically observable consumer, producer, markets and trade phenomena. Work with case studies and research topics within which the module providers are internationally recognised. Explore key concepts of behavioural economics; reflect on the questions of risk, uncertainty, and choice; and discuss theoretical and practical issues surrounding international trade.


This module is designed to familiarise students with the rigorous application of microeconomic reasoning underpinning the theory and application of consumer behaviour, the theory and application of producer behaviour, the theory and application of market behaviour and the theory and application of trade behaviour.  While the theory of these interlinked concepts provides the foundation for their study, emphasis resides upon the application of the microeconomic tools for better understanding empirically observable consumer, producer, markets and trade phenomena.

Assessable learning outcomes:

It is intended that the students who pass this module are able to enact formal microeconomic reasoning at levels enabling them to digest representative scientific literature; conduct theoretical evaluations of some commonly-encountered mathematical-economic structures; and undertake empirical research.

Additional outcomes:

Successful students should also have an appreciation of the ways in which formal, microeconomic analyses uncover hitherto unidentified solutions to many real-world problems encountered in a broad collection of scientific disciplines.

Outline content:

Below is an indicative outline of the module content – it maybe subject to change:

Lecture 1: Introduction and Module Organisation

  • Models, Methods and Their Roles in Economics

  • Introduction to Consumer Theory

  • The Budget Constraint 

Lecture 2: Preferences

  • Utility

  • Choice

  • Lecture 3: Demand

  • Consumer’s Surplus

Lecture 4: Introduction to The Lagrangean Method

  • Application to Geometric Choice

  • Application to Estimator Choice

  • Application to Consumer Choice

Lecture 5: Buying and Selling

  • The Household Production Model

  • Intertemporal Choice

Test One

Lecture 6: Introduction to Behavioural Economics

  • Rational Choice

  • Bounded Rationality

Lecture 7: Introduction to Game Theory

  • Basic Game Theory Concepts

  • Nash Equilibrium

  • Subgame Perfect Equilibrium

  • Some Basic Games, Puzzles and Evidence

Lecture 8: Introduction to Public Goods

  • The Fundamental Theory of Public Goods

  • Evidence For Public Goods

  • The Private Provision of A Public Good

  • The Case For Government Intervention

  • Lecture 9: Some Further Results In Behavioural Economics

    • Auctions

    • The Winner’s Curse

    • Experimental Economics

    • Experimental Markets from Chamberlain to Vernon Smith

    Lecture 10: Multinational Firms

    • The Basic Theory of The Multinational Firm

    • The Economic Geography of Multinational Firms

    Test Two

    Lecture 11: Introduction to The Theory of The Producer

    • Technology

    • Production Possibilities

    • The Composed-Error Model

    Lecture 12: Pr ofit Maximization

    • Cost Minimization

    • Cost Curves

    Lecture 13: Firm Supply

    • Industry Supply

    • Monopoly

    Lecture 14: Monopolistic Behaviour

    • Third-Degree Price Discrimination

    • Oligopoly

    • Cournot-Nash Behaviour

    • Stackelberg Leader-Follower Behaviour

    • Bo wley Leader-Leader Behaviour

    Lecture 15: Exchange

    • Pareto-Efficiency and Welfare

    • ` Production

    • The Robinson-Crusoe Economy

    Test Three

    Lecture 16: Introduction to Risk and Uncertainty

    • Risk

    • Expected Utility

    • Prospect Theory

    • Implications for Farmer Dec ision Making 

    • Insurance and Futures

    Lecture 17: Temporal Discounting

    • Present Value

    • Net Present Value

    • Future Value

    • Rational, Hyperbolic and Alternative Approaches

    Lecture 18: Social Welfare, Utilitarian Justice and Choice

    • The Benthamite Approach

    • The Rawlsian Approach

    • Arrows Impossibility Theorem

    Lecture 19: Introduction to International Trade Theory

    • Comparative Advantage

    • The Ricardian Model

    • The Hecksher-Ohlin Model

    Lecture 20: Introduction to the Instruments of Trade Policy

    • Tariffs, Subsidies, Quotas and Welfare

    • International Trade Institutions

    • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

    Test 4

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

    Web, whiteboard and projection media are all used to exchange learning inputs within this module.

    Contact hours:
      Autumn Spring Summer
    Lectures 20 20
    Guided independent study:      
        Wider reading (independent) 10 10
        Wider reading (directed) 10 10
        Exam revision/preparation 30 30
        Advance preparation for classes 10 10
        Revision and preparation 20 20
    Total hours by term 0
    Total hours for module 200

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Method Percentage
    Class test administered by School 100

    Summative assessment- Examinations:

    Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

    4 x Tests

    Formative assessment methods:

    Problem sets will be assigned on a regular basis but will not be graded. However, completion of these assignments is intended to prepare students for the four modular tests.

    Penalties for late submission:
    Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    50% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    By coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 15 July 2020


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