SM9528 - Economics and Contemporary Issues

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What will I learn on this module?

The module covers microeconomics concepts by using economic theory to analyse major issues. The module is delivered to you using lectures, seminars (or IT workshops). You will apply basic concepts of economic decision-making to a discussion and analysis of contemporary economics issues; this will include supply and demand concepts, unemployment, taxation, monopoly and competition in certain industries, international trade and trade agreements.
Within this module, you will cover ten main topics:

• The economics of big business – monopoly power
• Monopolistic competition-competition with differentiated products
• The behaviour of firms – oligopoly
• The tax system and the costs of taxation
• Firm’s production decisions- the least-cost input combination
• Externalities and market failure-private solutions and public policies towards externalities
• Informational and behavioural economics-deviations from the standard economic model
• Production, Independence and the Gains from Trade
• Firms and hiring of inputs-labour markets
• Inequality in the market-distribution of income and wealth

The module will lead you to apply economic theory to analyse some real economic and business related issues at a local, national and global level. On completing the module you will be able to predict the likely outcome of decisions made by policy makers (businesses and government) and be able to determine the impact on parties Involved.

How will I learn on this module?

The lectures will provide you with a theoretical underpinning of the module content, supported by Seminars/IT workshops which will give you an opportunity to practice the various economic theories and analytical techniques.


This module will be developed using a combination of lectures and seminars. Theoretical material will be introduced via formal lectures, seminars, and lab (IT based) workshops will be used to enable students to gain a fuller understanding of material. Therefore, the traditional format of delivery will be used, that is one lecture supported by a mix of seminars and lab (IT based) workshops.

The content covers issues which are relevant at the present time. They will be adjusted if new issues come to the fore and others recede in importance. Media reports (TV news, newspapers, etc.) indicate changing interests and importance.

There will be a number of additional exercises housed on the module’s e-learning portal that will permit you to undertake further practice independently. The module has a supporting reading list that provides you with an opportunity to see how the various economics decision making and analytical techniques are applied to further managerial and research-based problems. Students will undertake various practical analytical exercises and presentations to build up skills and expertise in the module.

Your directed study will support the work you have undertaken in the contact sessions. You will be expected to keep up-to-date with your seminar/IT workshop exercises. To aid with self-assessment on progress, solutions to these exercises will be made available to you on the e-learning portal.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your module is supported by an e-learning portal, which houses lecture materials, lab (IT based) workshops exercises, and seminar discussions. Your module is also supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. An interactive approach to lecture sessions will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and participants’ own experiences. Throughout, the emphasis will be on high levels of participation, both individually and within small groups or teams.

Support will be provided to you by a member of academic staff leading the module and providing the lecture input. A team of academic staff are allocated small seminar/lab (IT based) workshop groups, which provides a closer, more personal academic support.

Participants can therefore expect the reflective-practitioner approach to learning to be embedded in all workshop/seminar sessions through undertaking activities which facilitate them to apply theory to ‘real-life’ situations, critically analysing and making recommendations for appropriate ways forward for the organization/individual.
Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform.

You will be provided with a wide-ranging electronic reading list that comprises of various academic reports, conference papers and journal articles that showcase the application of various contemporary economic issues and quantitative techniques presented in the module.

Independent learning will centre upon the participants identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the subject area or by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc. Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and practice underpins the learning and teaching philosophy along with the explicit development of competence.

The module assessment consists of several inter-related tasks which will be distributed throughout your teaching semester. This will encourage your active participation in the learning process throughout the semester. The eLearning portal will be used to permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times. The summative assessment consists of two pieces of assessment: 1) Written Assignment: 40%; 2) An 2 hour closed book examination: 60%.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Understand and apply microeconomic theory to analyse some real economic and business related issues at a local, national and global level. (MLO1)
• Able to predict the likely outcome of decisions made by policy makers (businesses and government) and be able to determine the impact on parties involved.(MLO2)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Understand and apply economics theories and evidence skills in the handling of economic and finance data, and the corresponding findings of economic analysis. (MLO3)

How will I be assessed?

The module assessment consists of one essay assignment and closed-book examination which will be distributed at the end of your teaching semester.

This will encourage your active participation in the learning process throughout the semester.

The eLearning portal will be used to permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times.

Your work on these tasks will provide you with further chance to relate economic theories to real world scenarios, and to practice the various areas of data analysis and modelling on economic issues, as well as forming the pre-work for a 2-hour open notes examination at the end of the module. This 2 hour examination is worth 60% of the total marks for this class ( Addresses MLO1 And MLO3)

The second piece of assessment is an essay worth 40% of total mark. 2000 words (Addresses MLO2 and MLO3).

Pre-requisite(s)

Global Business Environment (L4)

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

It is expected that you will enter employment with an appropriate level of analytical skills relating economics theory to real world issues. This module also provides essential quantitative skills along with theoretical understanding of economics modelling supported through practical IT-based workshops and seminars. You will work on a number of real world data in economic disciplines, supporting work for practice and specific items relating to your assessment. You will undertake various tasks and computer workshops leading to a written essay assignment and a close-book examination which places emphasis on your findings and problem interpretation. These analytical, practical IT and interpretative skills are directly transferable to your working life, through part-time employment, placement or full-time graduate role.

Course info

UCAS Code N1L1

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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