SØK 3420 Economics I

SØK 3420 Economics I

Course code: 
SØK 3420
Course coordinator: 
Dag Morten Dalen
Ann-Kristin Undheim
Course name in Norwegian: 
Samfunnsøkonomi I
Product category: 
Bachelor - Common Courses
2024 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Unlock the secrets of the economy with Economics I - a journey through the forces shaping markets and societies.

Economics I provide tools, concepts, and models to understand real-world problems, challenges, and opportunities facing the business world and society. Economic models and data allow you to study how of individuals, firms and politicians make choices, and how these choices affect markets and the allocation of scarce resources in the economy. Economics I also provide concepts for understanding economy-wide fluctuations in production, employment, and sources of long-term economic growth.

The course is aligned with CORE Econ (Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics), a global network of researcher and educators sharing a vision of transforming economics education to contribute to a more just, sustainable, and democratic world.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completing the course, the candidate will have acquired knowledge of the central themes and problems, empirical patterns, and theories within the field of economics. This includes acquiring knowledge about:

  • Key global economic characteristics and their historical development, with emphasize on income, inequality, and major environmental challenges.
  • The industrial revolution, and role of economic incentives for innovation.
  • How individuals and households make their choices with limited means and scarcity of resources.
  • The role of firms in the market economy, and cooperation and potential conflicts of interest between owners, managers and workers in firms.
  • What characterizes competitive markets, and how the interaction between supply and demand determines prices of goods and services.
  • The concept of efficiency in economics.
  • Key characteristics of labor markets, including wage-setting and employment.
  • Central macroeconomic aggregates, and how economies fluctuate between booms and recessions.
  • The role of monetary and fiscal policy in the economy.
  • Inflation and why governments try to keep inflation low and stable. 
Learning outcomes - Skills

The candidate should be able to:

  • Define and explain key economic terms, variables, and concepts.
  • Independently find and extract information about key macroeconomic variables to illustrate and explain broad patterns and trends, using online data sources, such as e.g. OECD, World Bank and EU.
  • Explain and illustrate, in their own words and using graphical representations of:
    • the key characteristics and mechanisms of individuals and households constrained choices
    •  the interests of owners, managers and works in firm
    • what characterizes and determines a market equilibrium and price formation.
  • Define and explain central macroeconomic aggregates (the national account, GDP, and the aggregate production functions) and their components
  • Explain, using key concepts and examples, what characterizes the structure and institutions of Norway, including the labor market, potential advantages and disadvantages relative to less centralized bargaining systems, and what are the key challenges of managing an oil-economy.
  • Explain how monetary and fiscal policy can influence aggregate production, employment and inflation.  
General Competence

The candidate:

  • is conscious about how her own values, culture, and the historical context might affect her own value-judgements about the distribution of income, wealth, and the burden of environmental costs across individuals and countries, and over time (i.e., to reflect upon fairness, ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility)
  • displays the ability to critically assess and discuss economic information and theoretical concepts and insights (including their core assumptions and key implications)
  • understands that economic outcomes generally depend on a combination of resource endowments, individual preferences, technology, and cultural and institutional context (e.g., norms of behavior and regulatory framework)
  • has the ability to independently extract information and produce and communicate simple economic analyses and assessments in both Norwegian and English
Course content
  1. Economics. In order to clarify what lies in the overall goal of acquiring broad knowledge of key topics, issues and theories in economics, the course starts with the question "what is economics, and what is the subject concerned with"? Keywords are:
    • Standard of living
    • Income distribution.
    • Sustainability - economy and environment.
    • Economic history – the development of capitalism.
    • Institutions, governments, and the economy.
  2. Technology and growth.  This theme introduces models and empirical data that will give the candidate knowledge about the industrial revolution, and the importance of economic incentives for its development. An economic model is used to shed light on the role of prices, costs and profits for development of the Industrial Revolution. The theme introduces isocost lines that are used to highlight the connection between technology choices and production costs.
  3. Scarcity and economic choices.  This theme provides knowledge about how individuals and households make choices. A central model in the course is presented and applied for providing insight into the supply side of the labour market. The model is also used to shed light on economic forces behind changes in working hours, and why average working hours vary between countries.
  4. The firm.  In this part, the candidate will acquire knowledge about firms’ role in the market economy. The topic will provide knowledge about what distinguishes decisions within companies from transactions between buyers and sellers in the market. Key economic issues related to management, ownership and control in companies is discussed.
  5. Competitive markets.  Some markets face strong competition. The candidate study examples of such markets, both in Norway and internationally. Here, the candidate will acquire knowledge of the concept of equilibrium and apply the theory of competitive markets to explain how prices and volume are affected by supply- or demand-side shocks. The candidate will also acquire knowledge about key concepts such as economic surplus, and how this is distributed among producers and consumers in competitive markets. 
  6. Labor markets.  In these markets, individuals who provide their work force connect with firms that need employees to produce goods and services. In this part of the course, market theory is used to shed light on employment and wages. Students will gain knowledge about how wage negotiations are conducted in Norway and what the “three-part cooperation” is about. Candidates will also familiarize themselves with historical developments in employment, unemployment, real-wage growth, and education levels, both in Norway and internationally.
  7. Business cycles and economic policy.  This topic brings back the concept of national product, introduced in part 1 of the course. The concept is further developed by introducing key macroeconomic variables. Students will gain knowledge about the volatility of key macroeconomic variables such as private consumption and investment, and what causes fluctuations of the economy. Students are introduced to the role of economic policy in the economy.
Teaching and learning activities

The course will engage students in several teaching and learning activities. These are digital learning resources (asynchronous), lectures and lecture-facilitated discussion and group-work (synchronous), and student-facilitated tutoring sessions (synchronous).

  1. Digital learning resources include CORE videos – both tutoring videos and “Economists in actions”. In addition, each main topic is introduced with a BI-produced video. Online questions, multiple-choice, will be help student to test their understanding with each section/topic of the course.
  2. Lectures and class-discussions will allow our lectures to motivate, provide examples, and explain concepts and models in more detail. Discussions and group-work will allow students to practice and tests their understanding and skills with, with lectures present. This will be synchronous, organized by one 2-hours block every week.
  3. Student assistant-led sessions with problem sets.
  4. Work-requirements throughout the semester to help students to evaluate their learning outcomes. These will be designed as a series of 5 multiple-choice tasks every second week, starting after lecture week 2.


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
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".

Higher Education Entrance Qualification.


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

Required prerequisite knowledge

No particular prerequisites are required.

Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredComment coursework
Mandatory 5 3
Mandatory coursework:
Mandatory coursework:Mandatory
Courseworks given: 5
Courseworks required: 3
Comment coursework:
Exam category: 
School Exam
Form of assessment: 
Structured Test
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Support materials: 
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
3 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
SØK 34201
Grading scale: 
Examination every semester
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
28 Hour(s)
Digital resources
30 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
48 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
52 Hour(s)
Individual problem solving
39 Hour(s)
In addition to working on tasks individually and/or in groups, it is recommended that students participate in student-led guidance seminars. The focus of the guidance seminars will be task solving and simple exercises in extracting data and analyzing these using Excel.
3 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.