Topic outline

  • This is the first half of the Intermediate Microeconomics course at Aalto. The course is taught by Marko Terviö. The Teaching Assistants (TAs) are Ellen Sahlström and Joakim Wikström

    The second half is technically a separate course, taught in period 2. See

    Make sure to read the syllabus carefully before registering for this course (link in the side panel at MyCourses). 

    Classroom lectures take place at Otakaari 1. (See Sisu for detailed time and classroom information.) 

    • The schedule for period 2 is still provisional.

  • Lecture slides will appear on this page as the course progresses, on the previous business day before the lecture by latest. Any substantive changes (so not the fixing of trivial typos) made after that will be pointed out on this page. 

    Lecture slides are mostly not in themselves readable material, but they should be helpful for making your own notes. Most formulas and graphs from the lectures will also appear in the outlines. After the lecture you should be able to understand all points made in the outline; if you are not sure about some even after discussing with your friends who attended the lecture then make sure to ask me about it, during or after the lecture! Also, there is always a chance to ask questions in the beginning of the following lecture.

    The course schedule shows which textbook chapters relate to which lectures. Material that is only covered in the listed textbook chapters, but not in the lectures or problem sets, is not central to the course (and will not receive much attention in the exam either). There will also be a few topics that are only covered at the lectures and not in the textbook, e.g. decision analysis. 

    For the schedule, see the Course Schedule linked from the Course home page. Small changes are always possible especially between consecutive lectures.

  • The teaching assistants (TAs) are Ellen Sahlström and Joakim Wikström. They will lead weekly TA sessions, which are a place where interested students can ask questions from one of the course assistants. Time and place of TA sessions will be announced here during the first week of classes. The main function of TA sessions is to help students to learn the necessary skills and knowledge to pass the course with a good grade. The priority is thus given to questions about basics. It is not aimed for those concerned with the more advanced topics or about whether they will get an excellent grade (4 or 5).

    The course has a Zulip chat here:   Use your aalto email address to login.

    You'll have a better chance of getting a comprehensive answer to your question if you post it on Zulip well in advance of the week's session. Short and simple pieces of advice may be given on Zulip, but the live session is better suited for the type of explanations that benefit from the use of a whiteboard.

  • Thinking through and working on problem sets is the most important learning method in this course. Most of the “self-study” in the estimated workload (see course syllabus) consists of working on problem sets. The schedule of problem set deadlines is available in the course schedule, which is linked from the course home page. (Working on problem sets is also the best single method of preparing for the exam.) While there is much variability between problems, on average one numbered problem in a set is expected to take about 1-2 hours to complete.

    Homework solutions to each problem set must be submitted in one pdf-file, unless otherwise noted. Add your clearly written student ID on the top of the first page, this makes graders’ work easier. (No need to write your name however.) Make sure to test your scanning quality well before the first deadline. 

    You are allowed and indeed encouraged to discuss the problem sets with fellow students taking this course. However, each solution must be individually written up (with the exception of specifically pointed out Group work). 

    For a solution to be acceptable it must include the explanation behind your reasoning. A mere bottom line answer is not acceptable. You don't need to outline all intermediate steps in a calculation (even if the model solution does) but you do have to explain the rationale behind your calculations. Why did you set up this computation, and what did you find out with it? You can use calculators and computers to aid you as much as you want and also to produce graphs. 

    Multiple attempted answers to one question are not allowed. If you offer two answers in one solution, then even if one of them is correct, you will not get credit for either. Irrelevant off-the point discussions lead to points deductions. If an otherwise reasonable answer includes a part that is sheer nonsense or "hallucination" that makes the entire solution set worthless.

    Standard interpretations

    The features explained in the initial part of a problem, before any possible subparts (a, b, c…) applies to the entire problem unless otherwise noted. The features in each subpart only apply to that subpart, unless otherwise noted. If there are further instructions after the list of all subparts these also apply to the entire problem unless otherwise noted. Maximum points for each question are shown in the problem set, they are equally divided between the subparts, unless otherwise noted.

    Unless otherwise stated, you can assume that decision-makers are risk neutral and maximize the present value of their own payoffs (typically profits for firms, utility or consumer surplus for consumers). For discounting purposes, you can assume that future periodic payoffs are realized at the end of a period. In particular, period t=0 refers to now immediately ("current period", "this year", etc), period t=1 to the end of first period, that is, "one period from now", "next year", etc. 

  • Model solutions to problem sets will appear here after the submission deadline.

    These model solutions often include additional commentary and steps than is needed for a perfect answer. To see what minimal perfect answers look like, check out the model solutions to old exams (linked from the Exams page). 

  • The course grade is based 60% on the exam and 30% on problem sets, and 10% on the group assignment (a case write-up). In order to pass the course you must obtain at least 50% of the possible total points for the problem sets.

    The total points for problem sets takes into account your 4 highest problem set scores out of the all 5 problem sets. This is meant to allow for one randomly missed deadline or sick days, etc.  Model solutions are released at the deadline so deadline extensions are not available under any circumstance.

    If the maximum points among all students from a problem set or the final exam is below 100 then the points for all students from that PS/exam will be rescaled so that the rescaled maximum is 100. (This does not apply to the retake exam, due to fewer takers).

    There are no secret methods for obtaining extra credit or additional retakes or deadline extensions. The same rules apply equally to everyone.