ELE 3742 Market, Crises and Sustainability

ELE 3742 Market, Crises and Sustainability

Course code: 
ELE 3742
Law and Governance
Course coordinator: 
Pål Nygaard
Course name in Norwegian: 
Marked, kriser og bærekraft
Product category: 
Bachelor - Electives
2025 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Market, crises and sustainability is about the history of economic theory. It introduces the most important economists and their theories in three parts: markets, crises and sustainability. In the first part which is about how markets functions, we study the foundation for market economies to work well, how actors behave and what the role of the state can and should be. We start with Adam Smith and the classical economists, and demonstrate their relevance for issues in the economy today, as well as modern economic theory. In the second part we discuss the causes of, course of, and consequences of economic crises. Is for instance war and pandemics the main causes of crises, or is it rather the capitalist economic system in itself that causes crises? In the third, and last part, we take on economic theories dealing with how to create a sustainable economy. Can we trust that market mechanisms is the best way, or do we need to push consumers and producers in a sustainable direction, or do we need state regulations in the form of command and prohibition?

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completed course students should have:

  • Obtained knowledge of what the basic mechanisms of a market economy are, as Smith other economists have described it.
  • Become aware of the assumptions that make up the foundation for economists' models
  • Acquired knowledge of the consequences of different production and consumer conditions for how a market economy works, including other factors such as technology.
  • Gained knowledge of what the role of government in a market economy should be, including how to respond to crises and how the resource and environmental challenges can be met in the best possible way.
  • Learned various economic theories on how to create a sustainable economy.
Learning outcomes - Skills

After completed course students should be able to:

  • Assess and discuss the market economy's strengths and weaknesses as seen from the point of view of different interests in society.
  • Able to see the current economic problems and assess proposals on how these can be handled according to economic theory.
  • Manage to collect relevant information, analyze complex problems and convey this in writing.
  • Collect relevant information to analyze complex issues, set up, write and complete an academic assignment.
General Competence

Students should be able to:

  • Develop awareness of the importance of economic institutions, economic organization and economic behavior towards the public sector, business and other organizations and individuals in the society.
  • Develop the ability to utilize theory and practical knowledge in combination in order to reflect on how various forms of economic organization and human behavior in markets have different consequences for society, business and individuals.
Course content

This course is structured around three essay-assignments with deadlines throughout the semester: one about markets, one labour crises, and one about sustainability. Although these essays are thematically differentiated, they also follow a distinct chronology. The first essay on markets targets the classical economists, while the essay on crises highlight John Maynard Keynes and his criticism of how neoclassical economics understood crises, and the essay on sustainability scrutinize newer economic theory developed to give answers on how to create a sustainable economy. During the course period, you might face some of these economists:

  1. Adam Smith. Invisible hand and the free market.
  2. David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, John Stuart Mill free trade, protectionism and economic development 
  3. Leon Walras, Catl Menger, Stanley Jevons,  Alfred Marshal and Vilfredo Pareto: the neoclassical theory of perfect competition
  4. Thorstein Veblen and and John K Galbraith. The critique of neoclassical theory
  5. Joan Robinson and the theory of imperfect competition
  6. John Maynard Keynes' theory on crises and unemployment. Paul Krugman and The New Keynesian theory
  7. Karl Marx and Joseph Schumpeter's view of why crises occur.
  8. Alfred Pigou, Roland Coase, William Nordhaus, and recent environmental and ecological economists.
  9. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and neoliberalism
  10. Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof. The consequence of the lack of information in the markets.
  11. Robert Shiller and Hyman Minky.The cause of the financial crisis in 2008.
  12. Daniel Kahneman. Bounded rationality.
Teaching and learning activities

The course will be conducted with a combination of lectures (synchronous activities), asynchronous activities on itslearning and feedback on the written assignments. There will be online learning resources across all BI campuses on itslearning. 

Grade in the course is set on the basis of portfolio assessment. On Itslearning students develop a systematic set of assignments that show effort, process, progress, and reflection. At the end of the semester assignments from the portfolio must be delivered for final grading. Final submission can be done individually or in groups of up to three students.


Where the course is delivered as an online course, the lecturer will, in collaboration with the study administration, arrange an appropriate combination of digital learning resources and activities. These activities will correspond to the stated number of teaching hours delivered on campus. Online students are also offered a study guide that will provide an overview of the course and contribute to course progression. The total time students are expected to spend completing the course also applies to online studies.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

For electives re-sit is normally offered at the next scheduled course. If an elective is discontinued or is not initiated in the semester it is offered, re-sit will be offered in the electives ordinary semester.


Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Required prerequisite knowledge

No specific prerequisites are required.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Portfolio Assessment PDF
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Group/Individual (1 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Portfolio assessment
Total weight: 
Student workload
16 Hour(s)
Lectures over 2 hours 8 times. Lectures are held two weeks apart.
Prepare for teaching
16 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
73 Hour(s)
93 Hour(s)
Portfolio Submission
Feedback activities and counselling
2 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.