Introductory Microeconomic - Semester 1 Notes

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In this blog article, we delve into the key concepts of "Introductory Microeconomics - Semester 1".

Let's begin this enlightening exploration into the world of microeconomics!

Introductory Microeconomics - Semester 1 Notes 

Introductory Microeconomics Semester 1 Notes PDF Download
Introductory Microeconomics Semester 1 Notes PDF Download

Unit I: Introduction to Economic Trade-offs

(Topics: Resources and Opportunities, Gains from Trade, Individual and Society)

1. Resources and Opportunities

Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and societies allocate their limited resources to fulfill their unlimited wants and needs. Resources, also known as factors of production, are inputs used to produce goods and services. The main types of resources are:

  • Land: Natural resources like land, minerals, and water.
  • Labor: Human effort, skill, and knowledge used in production.
  • Capital: Physical tools, equipment, and machinery.
  • Entrepreneurship: The innovation and risk-taking ability to bring resources together and create value.

Opportunity Cost

  • Every choice involves an opportunity cost, which is the value of the next best alternative foregone when a decision is made.
  • Opportunity cost reflects the trade-off between competing uses of resources.

2. Gains from Trade

Comparative Advantage:

  • Individuals and nations have differing abilities to produce goods and services efficiently, due to differences in resource availability and technology.
  • Comparative advantage occurs when an individual or a nation can produce a good or service at a lower opportunity cost than others.

Mutual Gains from Trade:

  • Comparative advantage leads to mutually beneficial trade, even when one party is more efficient in producing all goods.
  • Specialization according to comparative advantage allows for increased total production and trade.

3. Individual and Society

Self-Interest and Social Interest:

  • Individuals often act in their self-interest to maximize personal utility or profit.
  • However, social interest takes into account the overall well-being of society.

Market System and Allocation:

  • In a market economy, resources are allocated through voluntary exchange in markets.
  • Prices play a crucial role in guiding the allocation of resources based on supply and demand.


  • Externalities are the unintended side effects of economic activities on third parties not involved in the activity.
  • Positive externalities lead to underproduction, while negative externalities lead to overproduction.

Public Goods:

  • Public goods are non-excludable and non-rivalrous, meaning they cannot be easily restricted to certain individuals and consumption by one person doesn't reduce availability to others.
  • Public goods can lead to free-rider problems, where individuals benefit without contributing.

Unit II: How Market Works

(Topics: Supply and Demand, Price and Resource Allocation, Elasticity, Market, Trade, and Welfare)

1. Supply and Demand


  • Demand refers to the quantity of a good or service that consumers are willing and able to buy at different prices during a specific period.
  • The law of demand states that as the price of a good decreases, the quantity demanded increases, assuming other factors remain constant.


  • Supply represents the quantity of a good or service that producers are willing and able to offer at various prices during a certain time.
  • The law of supply states that as the price of a good rises, the quantity supplied also increases, assuming other factors are constant.

2. Price and Resource Allocation


  • Equilibrium is the point where the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied, resulting in a stable price.
  • Market equilibrium efficiently allocates resources as neither shortages nor surpluses exist.

Market Forces:

  • Changes in demand and supply factors lead to shifts in the equilibrium price and quantity.
  • Increases in demand or decreases in supply lead to higher prices and vice versa.

3. Elasticity

Price Elasticity of Demand:

  • Measures the responsiveness of quantity demanded to changes in price.
  • Elastic demand (Ed > 1) indicates that consumers are sensitive to price changes, while inelastic demand (Ed < 1) suggests limited sensitivity.

Income Elasticity of Demand:

  • Measures the responsiveness of quantity demanded to changes in income.
  • Positive income elasticity for normal goods and negative for inferior goods.

Cross-Price Elasticity of Demand:

  • Measures the responsiveness of quantity demanded of one good to changes in the price of another.
  • Positive for substitutes and negative for complements.

4. Market, Trade, and Welfare

Consumer Surplus:

  • The difference between the maximum price a consumer is willing to pay and the actual price paid.
  • Represents the benefit consumers receive from purchasing a good at a lower price.

Producer Surplus:

  • The difference between the minimum price a producer is willing to accept and the actual price received.
  • Reflects the benefit producers gain from selling a good at a higher price.

Market Efficiency:

  • Allocative efficiency occurs when resources are distributed to match consumer preferences.
  • Productive efficiency occurs when goods are produced at the lowest cost.


  • The total benefit or well-being derived from the consumption and production of goods.
  • Welfare can be maximized when resources are allocated efficiently and equitably.

Unit III: Role of Government

(Topics: Taxation, Public Goods, Inequality, and Poverty)

1. Taxation

Purpose of Taxes:

  • Taxes are levied by governments to raise revenue for public expenditure and to achieve various economic and social objectives.
  • Taxes can also be used to influence consumer behavior, control inflation, and redistribute income.

Types of Taxes:

  • Direct Taxes: Levied directly on individuals and businesses, e.g., income tax and corporate tax.
  • Indirect Taxes: Levied on consumption, e.g., sales tax, excise tax, and value-added tax (VAT).

Tax Incidence:

  • Tax incidence refers to the distribution of the tax burden between consumers and producers.
  • The elasticity of demand and supply determines how the tax burden is shared.

2. Public Goods

Characteristics of Public Goods:

  • Public goods are non-excludable, meaning individuals cannot be excluded from using them.
  • They are also non-rivalrous, as one person's consumption doesn't reduce availability for others.

Free Rider Problem:

  • Public goods face the challenge of free rider problem, where individuals may enjoy the benefits without contributing to their provision.
  • This can lead to underproduction of public goods in the absence of government intervention.

3. Inequality and Poverty

Income Inequality:

  • Income inequality refers to the unequal distribution of income among individuals or households in a society.
  • Factors contributing to inequality include differences in skills, education, and access to opportunities.


  • Poverty is a condition where individuals lack the resources to meet basic needs for a decent standard of living.
  • Absolute poverty sets a specific income threshold, while relative poverty considers an individual's income relative to the overall society.

Government's Role in Reducing Inequality and Poverty:

  • Social welfare programs provide assistance to low-income individuals through direct transfers, subsidies, and services.
  • Progressive taxation and targeted expenditure aim to redistribute income and reduce poverty.

Unit IV: Individual Decision and Interaction

(Topics: Decision versus Strategic Interaction, How to Think about Strategic Interactions, Real-Life Examples)

1. Decision versus Strategic Interaction

Individual Decision:

  • Individual decisions involve choices made without considering the reactions of others.
  • These decisions are based on personal preferences, constraints, and available information.

Strategic Interaction:

  • Strategic interactions involve decision-making where the outcome of one's choice depends on the choices of others.
  • Participants must consider the actions and reactions of others to make optimal choices.

2. How to Think about Strategic Interactions

Game Theory:

  • Game theory is a framework used to analyze strategic interactions among individuals or entities.
  • It involves identifying players, their strategies, and payoffs to predict outcomes.

Nash Equilibrium:

  • A Nash equilibrium is a situation where each player's strategy is optimal given the strategies chosen by other players.
  • Players have no incentive to unilaterally deviate from their strategy.

3. Real-Life Examples

Prisoner's Dilemma:

  • A classic example of a non-cooperative game where two individuals face a dilemma between cooperating for mutual benefit or pursuing self-interest.
  • Both players often end up in a suboptimal outcome due to lack of communication.

Tragedy of the Commons:

  • A scenario where individuals, acting in their self-interest, deplete a shared resource, leading to an overall negative outcome.
  • This highlights the importance of cooperation and regulation to manage common resources.

Oligopoly and Price Competition:

  • Oligopoly is a market structure with a small number of interdependent firms.
  • Firms must consider how their pricing decisions affect the actions of competitors.

Stay tuned with for the upcoming sections where we delve into each unit in detail. Thanks for reading :)

About the Author

Hey everyone, I'm Ganesh Kumar! I'm all about money matters, from stocks and mutual funds to making money online. I've been figuring them out for 4 years, and I love sharing what I learn through my journey! Sometimes I even throw in so…

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