• Course Introduction

        • Time: 32 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Microeconomics is the brand of economics that pertains to consumer behavior and the economic decisions of producers and the government. It includes the topics of supply and demand, the elasticity of demand and supply, production costs, utility and profit maximization, and market structures.

        When discussing the economy, we refer to the marketplace or economic system where the choices of all economic agents interact. This course explores how and why we make economic decisions and how our choices affect the economy. Each unit is a building block. By the end of this course, you will be able to grasp the major issues microeconomists face, including consumer and producer behavior, supply and demand, how different markets function, and the welfare outcomes of consumers and producers. We also examine how formal principles and concepts apply to real-world issues.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Introduction to Economics

          This unit sets the stage for our journey into the principles of microeconomics. We begin by defining economics and its foundations, emphasizing the concepts of scarcity, choice, and opportunity cost and the need for economic models and theories. Next, we delve into the trade-offs economic agents face when confronting scarcity and applying marginal analysis in their decision-making processes. Once we have discussed the introductory economic toolbox, we finish this unit by introducing basic economic models.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 2: Supply and Demand

          In this unit, we introduce the demand and supply model and the resulting market equilibrium for price and quantity. We will explore how markets are constantly affected by changes that affect prices and quantities. If the market is unaffected by failures or government intervention, we will see that prices and quantities tend to move toward the equilibrium benchmark.

          "During the last decades, several challenges have significantly affected the egg industry, such as the increasing consumer demand for animal welfare, the need for more sustainable food production, and the growing human health and food security issues related to egg consumption."
          (Agnese Rondoni et al., Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2020)

          When you finish this unit, you will be able to analyze how these changes affect the prices of eggs and the quantity of eggs available in the market.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 3: Elasticity and its Applications

          In this unit, we delve into the concept of elasticity and its practical applications for how firms make pricing decisions and how governments analyze and make policy decisions. Put simply, elasticity measures responsiveness. It helps us understand why Netflix increases their prices for their Standard and Premium tiers more frequently, compared to their entry-level Basic plan. Government analysts also rely on elasticity to determine the extent of tax increases.

          We can apply elasticity to demand and supply analysis. Elasticity measures how quantity responds to changes in the price of the product, the price of related goods, income, advertising, and more. Once you grasp the concept and its basic calculations, applications of elasticity in economic analysis are nearly limitless.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Unit 4: Markets and Maximizing Individual Behavior

          You are now familiar with the workings of the market. You understand how changes in demand or supply affect prices and quantities for firms and consumers. In this unit, we revisit the demand and supply model to explore economic efficiency. Economic efficiency occurs if "the optimal amount of each good and service is produced and consumed."

          We introduce the concepts of consumer and producer surplus to analyze how free markets increase overall welfare. Then, we apply these concepts to analyze the effects of price controls on prices, quantities, and market efficiency.

          The market, on its own, does not always allocate resources efficiently. Economists talk about market failure when it falls short. We analyze how the government can alleviate these market failures.

          This unit concludes with an introduction to the causes and ramifications of income inequality. While much debate exists on long-term inequality, economists can objectively measure the problem's scope and offer options to manage this economic phenomenon. Protracted poverty and inequality can cause long-term harm to an economy's development.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Unit 5: Introduction to Consumer Choice

          As you know, consumers are driven by their unique preferences when they seek to maximize their satisfaction (utility) while considering their limited budgets. Despite the subjectivity of preferences, choices are also influenced by income and prices. This Unit introduces the economic theories behind consumer decision-making. We build upon the budget constraint concept from Unit 1 and demonstrate how economic theory helps predict consumption responses to price and income changes.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 6: The Producer

          In this unit, we dive into the world of production. Our focus is on understanding the behavior of producers and the costs associated with their operations in the short and long run. In other words, we explore the relationship between the quantity of output a firm produces and the cost of producing that output. We also analyze the relationship between various cost functions and identify the production function's characteristics in different timeframes. This chapter lays the foundation for a deeper understanding of how businesses operate and make crucial production-related decisions.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 7: Market Structure: Competitive and Non-Competitive Markets

          In this unit, we study how firms operate and compete within different market environments defined by the degree of competition. We introduce the concept of perfect competition, an ideal model that serves as a benchmark economists use to analyze real-world market structures. The model of perfect (or pure) competition results in an efficient allocation of resources. However, unregulated markets (which are central to perfect competition) often fail to create desired outcomes in the real world. Economists refer to these situations as examples of imperfect competition.

          Keeping the perfect competition model as the analytical benchmark, we transition to its polar opposite, the monopoly model. Following that, we venture into the realm of imperfect competition, encompassing two distinct models: monopolistic competition and oligopoly. Within the context of oligopoly, we introduce some concepts of game theory, such as the prisoner's dilemma model and the Nash Equilibrium.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 8: The Role of the Government in a Market Economy

          In this unit, we delve into how government intervention can address market failures, such as the existence of public goods, externalities, and income and wealth inequality. We analyze decision-making in the public sector, comparing public interest theory with public choice theory. Finally, we explore the Coase Theorem to determine whether private bargaining is preferable to government intervention when dealing with external effects.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

        • Saylor Direct Credit

          Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

          The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Proctor-Verified Course Certificate and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

          We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


          1. Desktop Computer
          2. Chrome (v74+)
          3. Webcam + Microphone
          4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credit-Recommended Course Completion Certificate and can request an official transcript.