Department of Economics
Principles of Microeconomic Theory (Online)
|Instructor:||Andrew J. Buck
|815 Ritter Annex
|Office Hours:||By arrangement at either the main campus or the Ambler campus|
|Textbook:||Principles of Microeconomics, 5th Edition
Karl Case and Ray Fair
The Logal Microeconomics Explorer CD-ROM
|Information for an electronic age:||· email: email@example.com|
Listserv Web site - - Archive This takes you to a gateway page. Click on Fox School of Business and Management, then click on our class: Principles of Microeconomics(Econ52). After entering your username and password you will enter the course site. At the left edge of the page click on "Communication", then on "Discussion Board". Alternatively, try clicking here.
|Electronic textbooks:||· Essential Principles of Economics:
or go to the Mirror
· Principles of Economics
· An online course: Principles of Microeconomics
· College Mathematics Review
· TU's Calculus on the Web Project
The text and its supplements: The text is a new one for me. The book is not difficult to read, but you will encounter a lot of new vocabulary. Create your own glossary by writing definitions in the margins. At the end of each chapter is a review. It is good practice to read the review before and after you read the chapter. There are also review questions at the end of each chapter; read them even if you don't write out answers. At the very bottom of the page is a link to the publisher's online tutors. If you are a careful reader with good comprehension and retention skills then you may not find the tutors important. You should have also bought the Logal CD-ROM titled Microeconomics Explorer. There are references to this multimedia extravaganza in the syllabus.
Course Requirements: There will be a variety of assignments every week. The assignments are shown in the calendar below. There will be discussion questions, a problem set, and a short quiz each week. Your course grade will be computed as follows:
Discussion Questions (There are thirteen of these assignments. Each is graded on the basis of 20 points.)
Problem Sets (There are 18 of these assignments. Each is graded on the basis of 20 points.)
Quizzes (There are 14 quizzes to be taken online. You will have to go to the official online course web site of the Fox School of Business and Management for these.)
Goals of the Course: Microeconomic Principles will acquaint you with some of the basic models used by economists to explain the everyday behavior of individuals and firms. The science of economics is built on a specialized vocabulary. If you don't learn the vocabulary, then you won't learn the science. Mastery of the science of economics will involve learning to manipulate the vocabulary in order to systematically describe behavioral outcomes. We then try to generalize these outcomes as 'laws' or models. The 'laws' of economics are the basis of all of the other business disciplines. Most of the founding and noteworthy scholars in the other disciplines received their initial training in economics.
The fundamental result that you MUST keep with you throughout the rest of your academic and working careers is that firms and individuals make decisions at the margin. That notion was formalized more than 200 years ago by Adam Smith2. Adam Smith proposed that we choose that course of action which resulted in the greatest net incremental benefit. The principle was understood by one of our founding fathers and local luminary, Ben Franklin. Franklin recommended that one divide a page in half, listing the costs on one side and the benefits on the other. The correct course of action would then be dictated by weighing the costs and benefits and looking for the greatest net gain.
What makes this class different from Econ 52? This is an online class. We will not have any face to face meetings. One function of class meetings is to keep the students on track and moving forward. Another function is to write exams that allow the instructor to assess your performance. Since we don't have class meetings to exchange ideas I will rely on the weekly discussion questions and problem sets to keep you on track. These assignments will be available to you throughout the semester so you will be able to do them more or less at your own pace. The discussion questions and the problem sets are linked to the syllabus provided below. The quizzes will also be available during the whole semester. To do the quizzes you will have to go to the official online course web site.
Words to the Wise: Remember that learning is hard work. It can be fun, but it is still hard work. Reading assignments, and homework exercises are all part of the learning process. To paraphrase the wisdom of Confucious:
What I hear, I forget.
What I hear and see, I remember a little.
What I hear, see and ask questions about or discuss, I begin to understand.
When I hear, see, discuss and do, I acquire as knowledge and skill.
What I teach to another, I master.
The dates in the following calendar all fall on a Monday and are to indicate the corresponding week. Both the discussion questions and the problem sets, where appropriate, are to be emailed to me by Friday at 10 PM of that week. The quizzes will become available at least by Friday afternoon and must be complete by the following Monday. For example, during the week of August 30 you should read chapter 1 of the text, read the intro chapter of the electronic text, and work with the Mathview tutuorials. By Friday, September 3, at 10 PM you should have completed the first discussion questions and emailed them to me ( firstname.lastname@example.org). By Monday, September 6, at 10AM you should have completed the online quiz. That would be the ideal scenario.
As a practical matter, things may work out differently. Some of you may want to go through the work very quickly. Others may vary the pace throughout the semester. To accomodate you all I will accept material at any time. But, there is one caveat. You must have everything completed by December 17, 1999. There will be NO incompletes.
For administrative reasons the online quizzes are not linked to this web page. To take the online quizzes you will have to go to http://isc.temple.edu/courseinfo . At the opening page click on the Fox School of Business. At the next page click on our course: Econ 52 Section 701, Principles of Microeconomics. You will be asked for your course ID and password. Then Click on the assignments button so that you can take the quiz. There is a test quiz set up for you to try.
Timetable for assignments, readings, and exams
|Logal CD-ROM||Discussion Questions||
|Aug 30||The Scope and Method of Economics,
Graphs: Slopes and Intercepts
Graphs: Down and to the Right?
|Sept 6||Scarcity and Choice, Chapter 2||Neoclassical Perspective||Opportunity Cost||Production Possibilities Frontiers:Production Possibility Frontiers: Movements and Shifts
A video on PPF's.
|Scarcity and Choice||Production Possibilities, and Answer|
|Sept 13||Demand, Supply and Equilibrium, Chapter 4||Supply and Demand||
3. Hog Prices
change in the quantity demanded,
4. A change in demand
5. The effect of a change in demand, on equilibrium
6. A change in supply
7. The effect of a change in supply on equilibrium
|Market Analysis||The Price System||Supply and Demand Shifts and Answer Key
Equilibrium, answer key
|Sept 20||Further topics in Demand, Supply and Elasticity,
Care for the Poor
Demand for hotel rooms in Philly
Measuring Producer Surplus
|Marginal Analysis||Consumer Surplus: Tarif Vert
and Answer Key
Elasticity, answer key
|Sept 27||Household Behavior and Consumer Choice,
|Demand Theory: Part I and Part II||How Many Should You
Getting the Most for Your Money
|Individual Choice||Utility Maximization and key
Indifference Curves: Extra Credit
|Oct 4||Production: Behavior of Profit Maximizing Firms,
|Production||Production from one variable input||Production and Costs||Real Firms||Production from one input and answer key|
|Oct 11||Costs and Output Decisions,
The Notion of Efficiency: Tying some ideas together
|Grain: A Homogeneous Good||Fixed, Variable and Total Costs
Production, and Average and Marginal Costs
|Firm Choices||Competition||The Competitive Paradigm|
|Monopoly||Microsoft and Monopoly||Monopoly Output and Price||Monopoly||Monopoly||Price and Output under Monopoly|
|Oct 25||Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly,
|Imperfect Competition and Game Theory||Monopolistic Competition||Startegy and Choice||Oligopoly and Imperfect Competition||A middle ground: Monopolistic Competition|
|Nov 1||General Equilibrium and the Efficiency of Perfect Competition,
|Monopoly, Competition and Regulation|
|Nov 8||Antitrust and Regulation, Chapter 15||Microsoft's Antitrust Woes
The Mock Trial
|Antitrust and Regulation||Antitrust or Regulation|
|Nov 15||Labor and Labor Markets,
|Factor Markets||Labor Markets||Competitive Labor Markets||Leisure and Income||Factor Markets||Labor Demand in competitive markets|
|Nov 22||Labor Markets and Unions,
|The Living Wage and Philadelphia||The Demand for Labor in
imperfectly competitive markets
Wage Determination Review
|Nov 29||International Trade,
|Trade and Foreign Exchange||Survey:and World Financial Crises
A Foreign Trade Primer from the NY Fed. This is like a comic book. Try it, you'll like it.
NAFTA after 5 Years
2. The Euro
3. The World Financial Crisis of 1998
|Importer or Exporter?
Absolute and Comparative Advantage
The Gains from Trade
|Discussing Trade||Two Country Trade: Part 1
Two Country Trade: Part 2
Assorted Links for your use:
|The three icons above will take you to online textbook stores. I have haven't done careful comparison shopping and don't know about shipping, but they may be cheaper than where you customarily buy your textbooks.|
The cartoon near the top is by Tim Bloom and appeared in the NYTimes, 6/11/99.