Judith A Thornton
Analysis of decisions by individuals and by firms and of outcomes in factor and product markets. Policy issues and applications. Prerequisite: ECON 200; either MATH 112, MATH 124, MATH 127, MATH 134, or MATH 145. Offered: AWSpS.
Course Description: In this course we analyze the economic behavior of individuals and firms, exploring how they respond to changes in the opportunities and constraints that they face and how they interact in markets. We develop basic tools that are used in many fields of economics, including household economics, labor economics, production theory, international economics, natural resource economics, public finance, and capital markets.
We use microeconomics as a problem-solving tool to ask questions and to set up and solve qualitative and quantitative problems that allow us to think analytically about events that take place in the real world. We seek to apply a set of propositions or theories that will allow us to state refutable propositions and to predict the likely outcomes of changes in public policies. Developing the ability to use microeconomic tools actively to set up and solve problems takes time. The best way to acquire skill in problem-solving is intensive practice. There will be regular problems sets building on graphical and quantitative tools, applying algebra and calculus. You can get additional practice by doing the unassigned questions and problems in the text and by practicing using problems in the Study Guide or by using the on-line materials that accompany the text.
Student learning goals
Fundamental Knowledge Understand how individuals and firms respond to changes in opportunities and constraints in a world of scarcity; Understand how prices inform decisions about what to produce, how to produce, and who receives goods and services; Understand how government policies affect the allocation of resources in a market economy; Understand how market structures and economic arrangements influence the behavior of decision-makers and the allocation of resources.
Use microeconomic theory to understand and explain economic behavior; Use calculus and the Lagrangian method to solve constrained optimization problems; Consider decision-making in uncertain and imperfectly competitive environments to analyze the strategic choices of decision-makers; Evaluate the economic content of publications and presentations; Develop the skill to apply economic reasoning in thinking about real world economic choices.
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading