ECON 306 - Microeconomic Analysis

Syllabus

[Fall 2018] | [Spring 2018.S1] | [Spring 2018.S2] | [Fall 2017] | [Spring 2017] | [Fall 2016.S1] | [Fall 2016.S2]

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. - F.A. Hayek, 1974 Economics Nobel Laureate

Microeconomics is a collection of analytical tools for modeling and understanding how decisions made by agents (individuals and firms) in a context of market institutions lead to social coordination and the creation of value. This toolkit is the analytical foundation for exploring all fields and applications of economics as a social science, has many practical applications in business, finance, politics, and insights into any realm of human endeavors. Economics, after all, is the study of human action. At the intermediate level, these concepts are made more rigorous through the use of mathematical models, but we will first and foremost lay the theoretical foundations with economic intuition. As such, this class assumes you have met the required prerequisite courses by taking introductory economics and basic mathematics.

This class will add rigor to your thinking about the world by empowering you with the ability to model the choices and interactions of people and organizations in their economic capacities – as consumers, producers, firms, voters, etc.

This course will have been successful if you are able to comprehend and apply the tools and insights of microeconomics towards explaining real world phenomena. Primarily, this means applying models of rational choices for individual and firm behavior, identifying key features of various market structures (perfect price competition, monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition), and understanding the role of market institutions of property rights, prices, and profit and losses in bringing about social coordination.

Lesson Slides Date Handouts Practice Problems Homework
1. The Tools of Microeconomics Aug 27 Preliminary Math Quiz (Answers)
2. Choice and Cost Aug 29
3. The Division of Labor Sept 5
4. Supply and Demand Basics Sept 7 Math Review
5. Comparative Statics Sept 12
6. Price Elasticity Sept 17 Elasticity Practice (Answers) HW #1
7. Markets and Surpluses Sept 19
8. The Social Functions of Prices Sept 26
9. Policies that Raise Transaction Costs Oct 1
10. Taxation Oct 3 Tax Problem Answers HW #2
11. Constrained Optimization and the Budget Constraint Oct 22
12. Preferences and Utility Oct 24
13. Solving the Consumer’s Problem Oct 29 Consumer Choice Practice Problems (Answers) HW #3
14. Building a Demand Function Nov 7 HW #4
15. Theory of the Firm Nov 12
16. The Firm’s Problem in the Short Run and Long Run Nov 14
17. Solving the Firm’s Cost-Minimization Problem Nov 26 HW #5
18. Cost and Revenue Functions Nov 28
19. Short Run Profit Maximization Dec 3 Competitive Supply Practice Problems (Answers)
20. Industry Equilibrium in the Long Run Dec 5
21. Sources of Market Power Dec 10
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