Travis W. Reynolds
PB AF 499
Examines selected issues of importance in all areas of public policy. Focus on in-depth analysis of vital public policy issues and the integration of economic, political, and administrative perspectives on them. Offered: jointly with POL S 404.
Introduction to Microeconomics and Public Policy (499A) is a preparatory course in microeconomic theory and practice with applications to social and environmental issues in public policy. Students will learn the fundamentals of microeconomic theory, starting with key neoclassical economic assumptions (e.g., rationality and utility theory), proceeding to common applications of the neoclassical economic framework (e.g., supply & demand, profit maximization), and concluding with an introduction to the economics of market failures (e.g., monopolies, public goods problems, and externalities) and the policy tools used to address them.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The course lectures will contain both mathematical (problem-solving) and anecdotal (problem-understanding) material. There will be an emphasis on the policy-relevance of the microeconomic framework in each class. Policy examples will be drawn from the text, from the media, and from students’ and the instructor’s experiences.
A basic level of math skills is expected: you should be comfortable performing simple calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) without a calculator. Some exposure to calculus (derivatives) will be helpful, but an extensive calculus background is not necessary.
Class assignments and grading
There will be three required problem sets and a final exam. The problem sets will each constitute 20% of your grade. The final exam will constitute 30% of your grade. Class participation will count for the remaining 10%.