Temple University

Department of Economics

Economics 1102 (was 52)

Principles of Economics


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. A basic understanding of the ideas presented in this class will be useful in understanding what is happening in the economy and provide a basis for further study in economics. This course contributes to the BBA program learning goal that business students understand critical business concepts. More specifically it addresses the following course goals: an understanding of

    1.  the use of supply, demand, equilibrium, and elasticity in analyzing scarcity.
    2.  how households and firms maximize in the short and long run.
    3.  the use of opportunity cost in the allocation of scarce resources.
    4.  perfectly and imperfectly competitive market structures.
    5.  Market failure and government intervention.
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.

Prerequisites: You must be prepared to do high school level algebra.  This knowledge base is acquired in high school or by taking college level algebra. Since I have two kids of my own I know what is taught in high school and so my expectations are reasonable.

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, Noon 'til 1:45 PM, in my office, 831 Ritter Annex.