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
2022 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The course addresses key themes and recurring issues in economic organization over the past 250 years. The starting point is Adam Smith's view of the market economy in his groundbreaking work The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Then will be presented what later economists have said about the same topic. The course's pervasive theme is the market economy's opportunities and problems related to business, government and the individual's role and behavior in society. Modern economic theory that also explain the functions of the markets from information conditions and psychological factors are also taken up.
How one can handle financial crises, environmental and resource challenges and unequal income distribution issues in a market economy will be also discussed in reation to the ideas that are presented in the course. An important question is whether and how a markes economy also can creaste sustainability for the future.  

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completed course students should have:

  • Obtained kowledge of what are the basic mechanisms of a market economy, as Smith described it.
  • Become aware of the assumptions that lay behind Smith's model
  • Acquired knowledge of the consequences of different production and consumer conditions for how a market economy works
  • Acquired knowledge of the factors that can influence a market economy over time, especially the impact of new technology and other changes in production conditions, and income conditions and consumer habits
  • Gained further knowledge of what should be the role of government in a market economy, including the hoe the resource and environmental challenges can be met in the best possible way.
  • Learned about the role of information and communication for the market economy, including the effects of asymmetric information in markets.
  • Learn about the assumptions about behavior behind our actions in the markets, including full and limited rationality and the role of economic and social incentives play.
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 wiev of different interests in society.
  • Able to see the current economic problems and proposals and how these can be handled according to economic theory.
  • Manage to collect relevant information, analyze complex problems and convey this in writing
  • Set up, write and complete an academic assignement
General Competence
  • Develop greater awareness of the importance of economic institutions, economic organization and economic behavior of 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 what are the consequences for society, business and individuals of various forms of economic organization and human behavior in markets.
Course content
  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 and recent environmental economists.
  9. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and the market-friendly economists in the postwar period
  10. Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof. Tthe 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 and feedback from the lecturer on the written assignements. In addition, there will be teaching on Itslearning where it will be online learning resources across all BI campuses. 

The students will during the course work with practical / empirical issues and analyze them using theories and models of curriculum. There will be online activities and participation in online discussions. 

As a means to promote motivation and learning teaching will be based on electronic folders and participation in the course.

Grade in the course is based on 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 printed and delivered for final grading. The final submission should include the following elements:

  • Assigment I: Main elements of a market economy 
  • Assigment II: Crisis in a market economy 
  • Assigment III: Sustainability and the market economy 
  • Final submission can be done individually or in groups of up to three students.

The exact date and exam for submissions / publications announced at course start.

In course delivery as online courses, lecturer will, in collaboration with the student administration, organize an appropriate course implementation, combining different learning activities and digital elements on the learning platform. Online students are also offered a study guide that will contribute to progression and overview. Total recommended time spent for completing the course also applies here.

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


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.


Information about what is taught on campus and other digital forms will be presented with the lecture plan before the start of the course each semester.

Required prerequisite knowledge

No specific prerequisites is required.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
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
12 Hour(s)
2 sessions á 6 hours
Prepare for teaching
75 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
75 Hour(s)
38 Hour(s)
Portfolio Submission
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.