Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Firms, Markets and Pricing
Academic Year
Semester 1
Also available in
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 6 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  80%
Semester Assessment 1 hour class based unseen test  20%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  Repeat failed element  80%
Supplementary Assessment Repeat failed element or equivalent  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Demonstrate understanding of the meaning of production costs and their derivation, and graphically represent and interpret cost curves;

* Distinguish between short-run and long-run production decisions, and understand the relationship between short-run and long-run costs;

* Derive a firm’s supply curve;

* Identify the characteristic features of market structure;

* Identify the characteristic features of market structure;

* Demonstrate understanding of the profit maximisation motive, and distinguish between various explanations of firm motivation and behaviour;

* Demonstrate understanding of what is meant by competitive strategy;

* Demonstrate understanding of the need for, and design of and implementation of, various pricing strategies.


This is a core module for Business and Management Single Honours (N122) and Major (N1**) degree schemes, and the Business Finance (N310) degree scheme. This module develops the analysis of the external environment introduced in the first year and provides an economic perspective on the interaction between the external and internal environment of the firm.

This module aims to provide an understanding of essential topics in intermediate micro-economics concerning producer theory to students in Business and Management and Business Finance schemes. It covers both theoretical as well as applied issues relating to production decisions in terms of output, prices and costs under different market structures.

Brief description

This module develops the economic environment component of the first year Business Environment module, to cover firm production costs and supply decisions, price and output decisions in different market structures, firm objectives, competitive strategy and pricing behaviour.


1. Production and Costs

Production decisions in the short- and long-run
Variable costs and fixed costs
Marginal and incremental costs
Returns to a factor and returns to scale
Economies and diseconomies of scale
The relationship between short-run and long-run cost curves
Minimum efficient scale and the optimum
Experience curve

2. Firm Behaviour

Economic profit and normal profit
Profit maximisation and the marginal output rule
Shut-down and exit rules
Critique of profit maximisation
Managerial theories
Behavioural theories

3. Market Analysis

Definitional and identification issues
Structural features
Firm, market and industry equilibrium
Perfect competition
Monopoly behaviour
Monopolistic competition
Oligopolies and strategic behaviour

4. Competitive and Pricing Strategies

Competitive strategy
Price takers and price makers
Generic pricing strategies
Price discrimination

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Demonstrate numeracy. Treatment of numerical problems and graphical analysis in seminars.
Communication Communicate effectively, orally in seminars, and in writing for the class quiz and exam, to demonstrate understanding of various complex and abstract economic concepts used and applied in the business world.
Improving own Learning and Performance Demonstrate effective self-management in terms of time, planning and behaviour; in preparation for attending, participating in, and reflecting on seminar sessions, and preparing for the class quiz and the examination.
Information Technology Demonstrate effective use of communication and information technology for accessing electronic material in preparation for seminars and accessing course information and material from the VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning Development of various personal and interpersonal skills, generally transferable in career terms, including initiative, independence and self-awareness.
Problem solving Effective problem solving using appropriate qualitative and quantitative skills, including data and/or graphical analysis, and, interpretation, extrapolation of and making use of economic models. Treated in lectures and applied in seminars.
Research skills Conduct research into business and management issues relating to firm production under different market structures in preparation for seminars. Obtaining, selecting, assimilating information from a variety of sources for use and effective participation in seminars, and production of notes and expansion of lecture material.
Subject Specific Skills Interpret graphical data in the context of the firm, apply theoretical models to the business context, and ability to think in the abstract.
Team work Participation in seminars through individual and group discussions will improve team-working skills of all the participants.


This module is at CQFW Level 6