Module code: ECO3051

Module Overview

The module examines the nature and behaviour of households in modern economies. It will use economic theory and empirical evidence to illuminate why families are organized as they are and how this has changed in recent years.  This will encourage students to adopt a critical perspective on the patterns they see in society and in their personal life. Students will make use of the Microeconomic knowledge and Econometrics skills that they have developed in Level 5, applying them in a new context. The research focus of this module will serve as a good preparation for students taking the Economics Project (ECO3050) or planning to undertake further study.

Module provider


Module Leader

BLANDEN Jo (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 87

Lecture Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

An understanding of the marriage market, including what happens when there is an imbalance in the sex ratio. The explanation of sex imbalances provides insight into how cultural factors, policy and economic factors affect family outcomes around the world.

How families decide on the goods produced in the household and how they are distributed between family members.  Understanding this has important implications for gender equality in work and access to resources.

Fertility and investments in children and the implications of household decisions have implications for the persistence of inequality between generations.



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test Online Test within a 4hr window 20
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 20

Alternative Assessment

Group presentation can be substituted with an individual presentation if necessary. 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of household behaviour and contemporary family policies. This is assessed by two tests which include primarily multiple-choice questions based on the theory and key papers studied in the main module content.  This ensures students are assessed on all of the material covered in the module.

The presentation allows students to demonstrate their ability to work in teams and produce a clear economic argument that is based on research and well-communicated, both visually and verbally. 

In the individual project, students will use the feedback I have provided on their presentation to develop their own research-based written analysis of the problem. This will demonstrate their ability to synthesise data and research to evaluate different arguments and evidence

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Tests to check knowledge across the range of material in the module.

  • an online test 

  • a group presentation 

  • an individual report based on the group work 

  • an online examination 

The formative assessment for this module consists of:

Self-tests on Surreylearn, discussion in class.

Feedback on the tests will help to develop skills and understanding needed for later assessment.  

Students will be supported as they develop initial plans for their presentation.

Feedback on the presentation will give students the opportunity to reflect on their performance and help improve it as they develop their final report. Additional feedback on draft reports will be available in student consultation hours.


Module aims

  • To extend students' microeconomic toolkit to analyse fundamental contemporary questions concerning the individual's behaviour relating to relationships and children.
  • To help students to understand contemporary issues in economics and public policy concerning the formation and dissolution of families, family decision making, and investments made in children. The coverage of this material will emphasize their implications for inequality, both within and between households and reflect on differences between countries and communities within them.
  • To give students the opportunity to develop teamwork, communication, research and evaluation skills, preparing them for employment or higher-level study.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Apply economics to fundamental contemporary questions concerning individuals' behaviour inside and outside the family. KCT
002 Describe the main features of, and trends in, the UK household patterns and family policies, comparing how these patterns differ from those found in other countries and why. KCT
003 Interpret relevant data and empirical findings on household behaviour, adopting a critical perspective when possible. KCT
004 Assess appropriate policies for various social problems related to these phenomena and their implications for inequality between genders and across socio-economic status. KCT
005 Gather own evidence from academic research and other sources, synthesise and evaluate it. CPT
006 Work in a small group to produce a coherent and attractive presentation, based on your research. CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to present new facts and economic theories so that students can apply their economic analysis to a new area of study. We will also consider how Government policy decisions shapes family responses. As the module develops, students are exposed to research which evaluates important theories and debates in Family Economics, enabling them to develop their capacity to synthesise research in this area; and most importantly to begin to evaluate the quality of research they find.

The learning and teaching methods include:


Workshops in small groups

Additional time (around 1-2 hours) spent with the lecturer discussing presentations and reports.

Data exercises, reading and self-tests which are included as guided learning exercises on Surreylearn.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECO3051

Other information

The School of Economics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to enhance students' knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas. 

Sustainability: This module helps students develop their understanding of inequalities in income and wellbeing across both socio-economic and gender dimensions.

Global and cultural capabilities: Examples will be taken from a variety of contexts and the interaction of cultural , policy and economic factors in explaining household behaviour will be discussed.

Resourcefulness and Resilience:  The module contains substantial engagement with research which will enable students to develop skills in finding relevant materials and becoming critical consumers of the latest evidence. Students will develop their ability to respond to feedback as they develop their material between the presentation and the report. 



Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics and Data Analytics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics and Finance BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.