Department of Economics

Economics 52

Section 701

Principles of Microeconomic Theory (Online)

Fall 1999

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
Prentice Hall
ISBN 0-13-095725-9

The Logal Microeconomics Explorer CD-ROM
Prentice Hall
ISBN 0-13-020121-9

Information for an electronic age: email: buck@astro.ocis.temple.edu

 Books1.wmf (3718 bytes) 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 Site
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.

study01.jpg (33271 bytes) *

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 ( buck@astro.ocis.templ.edu).   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

Date Reading.wmf (11880 bytes)
Text Readings
notepc1.wmf (35990 bytes)Electronic Text PE02086A.gif (1977 bytes)
Other Reading
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Logal CD-ROM AN00130A.gif (2335 bytes)Discussion Questions BS00621A.gif (3644 bytes)
Problem Set
Aug 30 The Scope and Method of Economics,
Chapter 1

Graphs: Slopes and Intercepts

Graphs: Down and to the Right?

  Introduction Introductory Problems
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  

1. Equilibrium

2.bottle.gif (1422 bytes) Privatizing PA's Liqour Stores

3. hog-prices_1.gif (7061 bytes)Hog Prices

1. A change in the quantity demanded,

2. A change in the quantity supplied,

3. Find the Equilibrium.

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,
Chapter 5
Elasticity Health Care for the Poor

Demand for hotel rooms in Philly


Measuring Consumer Surplus

Measuring Producer Surplus

The Incidence of Taxation

Efficiency and Taxes

Elasticity: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3

  Marginal Analysis Consumer Surplus: Tarif Vert and Answer Key

Elasticity,  answer key

Sept 27 Household Behavior and Consumer Choice,
Chapter 6
Demand Theory: Part I and Part II   How Many Should You Buy

Getting the Most for Your Money

Individual Choice   Utility Maximization and key

Indifference Curves: Extra Credit

Oct 4 Production: Behavior of Profit Maximizing Firms,
Chapter 7
Production   Production from one variable input Production and Costs Real Firms

Input Substitution

Production from one input and answer key
Oct 11 Costs and Output Decisions,
Chapter 8
Cost and Supply


The Notion of Efficiency: Tying some ideas together

Grain: A Homogeneous Good Fixed, Variable and Total Costs

Production, and Average and Marginal Costs

Competitive Output

Firm Choices Competition The Competitive Paradigm
Oct 18 Monopoly,
Chapter 13
Monopoly Microsoft and Monopoly Monopoly Output and Price Monopoly Monopoly Price and Output under Monopoly
Oct 25 Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly,
Chapter 14
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,
Chapter 12
          Monopoly, Competition and Regulation
Nov 8 Antitrust and Regulation, Chapter 15   Microsoft's Antitrust Woes

The Mock Trial

Deregulating Electricity

    Antitrust and Regulation Antitrust or Regulation
Nov 15 Labor and Labor Markets,
Chapter 10
Factor Markets Labor Markets

Discrimination in Baseball

Competitive Labor Markets


Leisure and Income Factor Markets Labor Demand in competitive markets
Nov 22 Labor Markets and Unions,
Chapter 19
  The Living Wage and Philadelphia       The Demand for Labor in imperfectly competitive markets

Wage Determination Review

Nov 29 International Trade,
Chapter 21
Trade and Foreign Exchange Survey:NYT0nWEB.gif (2079 bytes)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


1. Foreign Exchange

2.100e.GIF (9378 bytes) 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:

Online study Hall from Prentice Hall


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Careers in economics.

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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.