Department of Economics
ECON 130 - Section 03
Principles of Microeconomics
Spring 2007 Semester
MWF 12:30pm 1:20pm
Instructor: Kyle Hampton. Saunders #504 (808)956-7938 firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: MWF 10:30am-11:30am
Teaching Assistant: Hao Zhang email@example.com
Office Hours: TTr 9:00am 10am
Course Description: Economics examines the incentives that lead us to make the decisions we do. These incentives can take many forms and can influence a wide range of behaviors like how we work, what we purchase, and with whom we trade. On a larger scale, these decisions are constrained by the scarcity of resources available to individuals and, by extension, our entire society. Economics also consists in looking at how all of these individual decisions combine to direct how these resources are distributed. In this class, you will learn to use the tools and language economists use to describe this process. You will learn to think like an economist.
Topics addressed in the class include models of supply and demand, determinants of consumer demand, and the theory of the firm. In addition, the course will require you to apply your understanding of economics to a variety of public policy issues. These topics will include taxation, trade, market failure, and antitrust. A basic understanding of graphical analysis is critical to getting the most from the course.
Course Structure: Predominately lecture-based with in-class discussion encouraged. The structure of this discussion will depend upon the size of class, the size of the classroom, and the willingness of students to participate. Students will be asked to show some aptitude for integrating their understanding of economics in analysis of real-world events.
Students will also be required to participate in hands-on experiments that demonstrate economic principles. These experiments will take place both in and out of class and students will be able to earn extra credit points through their participation.
Mankiw, N. Gregory, Principles of Microeconomics, 4th edition, Thomson South-Western, 2004.
Aplia Online Course Materials.
All coursework will be done through the Aplia website. This has several advantages. Most importantly, it provides you with timely grading and feedback on your homework. It also provides you with the opportunity to solve practice problems that closely approximate the graded homework problems.
It is important to note that the deadlines for your Aplia homework are absolute. There are absolutely no exceptions. Therefore, it is critical that you not wait until the last second to start the homework. Technical issues are not an acceptable excuse for not having done the coursework.
Economics represents a rich set of critical tools for examining the world around us. As we go through the semester, I will be drawing on current events, history, and cultural artifacts to demonstrate the power of economic science to illuminate our understanding of the world. But in order to fully grasp this power, students need to actually engage in the process.
To this end, students will be asked to compose small writing assignments which draw on the lessons of economics. These take the form of 200-500 word posts on the course message board. There are no specific guidelines on the structure of these posts. They can consist of an observation, a criticism, or a question. My primary concern is that the student demonstrates a grasp over the concepts described in the course.
After the mid-term, each student will be scheduled a due date for their first post. The student will have the option of beginning a new topic or replying to a prior post by another student. Replies are more difficult, however, as students will be expected to provide some original insight beyond that offered by the prior posters.
Each post is graded on a 15 point scale (15 being the highest.) You can post as many times as you like. Only your top post score will be considered in your final grade. While dialogue and dissent are encouraged, any student making personal attacks on another will automatically receive a score of zero.
In recent years, laboratory experiments have allowed students to actively participate in the market dynamics discussed during the course. This semester, you will be asked to participate in several experiments conducted through the Aplia software. During these experiments, you will be interacting with your fellow students in simulated market environments.
During these experiments, you will be earning money. This money will be kept in an account for you during the course of the semester. At the end of the semester, your earnings relative to your classmates will determine the number of extra credit points added to your final grade.
Top 20% - 5 points
40%-20% - 4 points
60%-40% - 3 points
80%-60% - 2 points
Bottom 20% - 1 point
On the day that experiments are scheduled, you will not attend class during the class period. You will be asked to log into the experiment on the Aplia website from a secure internet connection. There are several computer labs on campus for students who may not have home access.
If you do not attend the experiment, you will receive zero earnings, will be marked absent, and will receive zero credit on the assignments that deal with the results of the experiment. If you are late for the experiment or log out early, you will be marked as absent.
Determination of Grades:
Aplia Homework 25%
Writing Assignment 15%
Mid-Term Exam 1 20%
Mid-Term Exam 2 20%
Final Exam 20%
A curve may be used for the homework and/or the exams at my discretion. However, the curve will only be used to raise the grades of students in the class. You cannot have your grade lowered due to the curve.
Please bring several No. 2 pencils and an official UHM picture ID on the day of the exam. Calculators are permitted. Examinations will consist of multiple choice and true and false questions. Exams are closed book, closed notes. The final exam will be comprehensive.
Final letter grades will assigned in plus/minus format with A+ being the highest grade possible. Dues to the curving of exam and homework grades, final grades will not be curved.
Attendance will be taken during each class.
Students are expected to attend lectures. Of course, sometimes it is simply not possible. For this reason, students will be permitted eight (8) absences during the course of the semester. This should provide ample flexibility for any conflicts that may arise. For this reason, there is no need to provide excuses for missed classes.
For each absence in excess of eight, a point will be deducted from the students final grade. Long-term absences requiring over eight missed class periods should be discussed with the professor. In most instances, this will require retaking the class at a later date.
Attendance at examinations is mandatory. There will be no opportunity for taking a make-up examination under any circumstance. Students who miss either examination will be assigned zero points. Any student missing an examination is encouraged to drop the course immediately.
Tentative Course Schedule:
Week 1 Chapters 1 and 2 Ten Principles of Economics, Thinking like an Economist
Week 2 Chapters 3 - Gains from Trade
Week 3 Chapter 4 - Supply and Demand
Week 4 Chapter 5 Elasticity and its Application
Week 5 - Chapter 6 - Supply, Demand, and Government Policies
Week 6 Chapters 7 and 9 Market Efficiency, International Trade
Week 7 Midterm Exam #1 (October 3)
Week 8 - Chapters 13 and 14 Costs of Production, Firms in Competitive Markets
Week 9 - Chapters 15 Monopoly
Week 10 Chapter 16 and 17 Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition
Week 11 Mid-Term Exam #2 (October 31)
Week 12 Chapters 10 and 11 Externalities, Public Goods
Week 13 Chapter 19 and 20 - Income Inequality and Poverty, Earnings and Discrimination
Week 15 Chapter 22 - Frontiers of Microeconomics
Week 16 - Exam Review
Final Exam December 10, noon 2pm