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Course information 2016-17

FP0002 Foundation Course: Economics


This is the foundation course on which subsequent, more specialised economics
courses are based. The course offers an overview of key economic concepts and their
applications to everyday situations and current economic affairs using modelling
techniques.

Aims and objectives

Learning outcomes

The major aims of this course are to:

At the end of the course, and having


completed the essential reading and
activities, students should be able to:

introduce students to a range of key


issues and questions at the centre of the
study of economics
appreciate how economics contributes to
the understanding of the wider economic
and social environment
develop an understanding of current
economic affairs and the role of
institutions that affect everyday life
provide tools that support students in
critical evaluation of these economic
models and methods of inquiry
select, interpret, analyse and evaluate
appropriate data from a range of
different sources and understand the
relationship between data, decisions of
economic agents and policy formation

Essential reading
Anderton, A. A Level Economics Student Book.
(Harlow: Causeway Press)
Gillespie, A. AS & A Level Economics Through
Diagrams. (OUP Oxford)

Demonstrate familiarity with key


economic concepts
Use a range of simple microeconomic
and macroeconomic models to predict
market behaviour and analyse current
economic affairs
Provide reasons for and explain the
implications of market failure and the
impact and effectiveness of government
policies
Contrast and assess different approaches
to the same economic problem
Interpret data presented in different
forms, carry out simple calculations and
construct diagrams
Describe measures of economic
development
Explain possible causes and remedies of
the current financial and economic crisis.

Assessment
This course is assessed by a two-hour unseen
written examination.

Students should consult the Programme Specification and the Programme Regulations for the International Foundation Programme
for further details of the programme and for rules relating to the registration and examination of courses. These documents are
reviewed annually.

FP0002 Foundation Course: Economics

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Syllabus
This is a description of the material to be examined, as set out in the Regulations. On registration, students
will gain access to a detailed subject guide which provides a framework for covering the topics in the syllabus
and directions to the essential reading.

The nature and scope of economics. This unit


provides a broad introduction to the study of
economics and its main lines of inquiry. The
focus is mainly on the basic economic
problem of choice and scarcity, and the
concept of opportunity cost. You are required
to use standard production possibility
frontiers to illustrate simple applications of
the problem to various real-life situations.
Competitive markets. This unit examines how
the price mechanism allocates resources in
different markets through the demand and
supply model. It introduces the concepts of
elasticities and social welfare. You should be
able to use the model to illustrate changes in
factors influencing the price of commodities
(for example, consumer taste and cost of
production).
Market failure and government intervention.
This unit considers a range of reasons why
market forces may not be able to allocate
resources efficiently. These include
externalities, public goods, asymmetric
information, factor immobility and market
power. It examines possible government
interventions and critically assesses their
effectiveness. The unit is taught mainly
through specific case studies (for example,
pollution and congestion charges).

FP0002 Foundation Course: Economics

Managing the economy. This unit provides an


introduction to key measures of economic
performance and the main objectives and
tools of economic policy. A basic model of
aggregate demand and aggregate supply is
used to represent unemployment and
inflation, as well as the effectiveness of
government interventions.
Development and sustainability. This unit
focuses on the meaning and measures of
economic development (for example, the
Human Development Index and Gross
Domestic Product per capita). You should be
able to identify common and diverse features
of both developed and developing economies,
as well as understand why development must
be sustainable.
The recent financial and economic crisis. This
unit introduces you to the recent financial and
economic crisis, outlining its causes,
consequences and possible cures. You are not
required to have extensive background
knowledge of the crisis, although a basic
understanding of the crisis is helpful.

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