Introduction to Economic Thinking

Module Leader:
Vladimir Mikhailov
2017-2018 Summer
Social Sciences

The module covers some basic concepts. You will not find out how to fix the mythical beast called “economy” (nobody knows how to), but you will learn why lower inflation means higher unemployment and why GDP might be a misleading measure of a country’s standard of living. We will start with some basic mathematical concepts to see how comfortable each student is with using mathematical formalism. We will then learn what it means to think using the 10 principles of economics before introducing the most basic economic model – the model of supply and demand. In the second part of the module we will cover the most important macroeconomic concepts is some depth. All the theory will be complemented with modern case studies for better visualisation of the issues.

The module is intended for students who are thinking about pursuing undergraduate studies in economics. Successful students will be able to transition to the Microeconomics module that will run in July. These two modules should prepare students for taking more advanced economics courses offered later in the year, as well as for university entry exams. To do this successfully, you should be prepared to work hard on solving the problem sets.

Economics as a discipline makes heavy use of mathematics. We will not use anything other than basic maths in this course, but anyone thinking about becoming an economist should be very comfortable with at least the level of mathematics taught in school. That said, many great economists have started out studying non-numerical subjects like philosophy or history, so it everyone is always welcome to try.

The course will be mostly based around Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics” textbook. Successful students will be able to transition smoothly to first-year economics classes at the bachelor level.