AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

ECON 2302 - Principles of Microeconomics, Fall 2011

TTh:  12:00pm- 1:20pm - Cyprus

 

 

INSTRUCTOR:    Stuart Greenfield                                  TEL:  512-323-2232

OFFICE:             CYP 2204.                                           CLASSROOM:  CYP5 2231

OFF. HOURS:     TTh, after class                                    E-MAIL:      sjg@austin.rr.com or

                          and by appointment                                                sgreenfi@austincc.edu

                              

                              

COURSE MATERIALS:

– McConnell and Brue, Microeconomics, 19th. ed. (ISBN:  978-0-07-336595-4) or 18th (ISBN:  978-0-07-336595-4). See chapter correspondence document in Documents folder to see chapter correspondence between editions.

-          supplemental text material at http//sgreenfield.pageout.net, then select appropriate link to class

 

Course Description

The course concentrates on the analysis of the principles underlying the behavior of individual consumers and business firms. Topics include problems of international trade and finance, distribution of income, policies for eliminating poverty and discrimination, problems of environmental pollution, and effects of various market structures on economic activity.

Course Goals/Objectives

Bloom's taxonomy of learning separates the learning process into six categories—knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Although this breakdown is not the final word in classifications of this type, it is useful in making a point about learning economics. In an economics course, it is insufficient simply to memorize facts. A look below at the goals of this course reveals the levels of learning you should be able to demonstrate upon completion. After this course, you should be able to

  • use and understand economic terminology
  • explain how competitive markets work, and apply economic models to predict how events change market equilibrium price and quantity
  • compute price elasticity in a certain situation and predict how a change in price will affect a firm's total revenue
  • find the utility-maximizing combination of two goods, given appropriate data
  • compute the various measures of fixed and total costs, and use them to draw cost-of-production graphs
  • find the profit-maximizing level of output and price for each of the four market structures, given appropriate data
  • determine whether or not a loss-minimizing firm should stay in business or shut down, given appropriate data
  • compare the efficiency conditions and the long-run equilibrium for each of the four market structures
  • discuss marginal productivity theory of resource demand and its applications to real-life situations
  • bring together resource (labor) demand with labor supply to discuss wage rates
  • describe the role of the government in connection with the three types of market failure (of public goods, externalities, and information asymmetries)
  • analyze of the benefits of international trade
  • examine exchange rates and the balance of payments
  • discuss current events in relation to microeconomic theory

Cross-Curricular Initiatives

In addition to the course goals, this course also focuses on cross-curricular initiatives, detailed below, which are designed to help you build skills to enhance your career and overall professional effectiveness.

·         Effective writing. You will perform numerous writing assignments throughout the semester, which should reflect appropriate professional writing skills. They will be evaluated on the basis of grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and general writing principles. At least 10 percent of your grade on each writing assignment will be based on your proficiency in expressing yourself in writing.

·         Information literacy. You will be expected to demonstrate proficiency in research with the use of the library and online sources.

·         Globalization. An important outcome of this course will be your realization that microeconomic principles apply to global situations.

·         Computerization. The computer has altered the way in which microeconomic research is conducted. This course emphasizes the increasing use of the computer in microeconomics.

·         Historical perspective. This course charts the historical development of microeconomic theory to give you a context for current theories and practice.

·         Civic responsibility. Throughout this course, we explore ethical behavior and the role of microeconomics in society.

Course Introduction

Economics is one of the least understood disciplines, yet its application dramatically affects the average person's quality of life. Economics explains what and how many goods are produced for and purchased in the market, what prices are charged, the level of income and employment in the economy, and how far one's hard-earned dollar goes.

Principles of Macroeconomics introduced the methods and tools economists use to understand how markets work, to determine the health of the economy, and to detect and solve problems. It examined the economy as a whole and as divided into basic sectors (private, government, international).

This course covers microeconomics. In this course, we look at the decision-making processes of individual units within the market economy, including firms, industries, households, and government entities. We examine issues such as the ways in which

  • a household or an individual allocates a limited income among a vast variety of goods and services
  • a firm decides how much of a particular good to produce, and what price to charge
  • a firm determines the number of workers to hire and resources to purchase, and at what wage or price

Microeconomics further asks whether these decision-making processes result in an allocation of resources that best satisfies society's preferences and needs.

Economists develop models to help them analyze and understand relationships within the economy, and they bring a common set of tools and reasoning strategies to economic problems. Just as a model train lacks the complexity of a real train, however, economic models also, by necessity, are much simpler than the true economy. For instance, not all markets are equally competitive. Although economic tools and reasoning strategies may be consistent across models, the models themselves must vary according to the competitiveness of different firms.

Furthermore, the market does not always work toward the efficient allocation of society's scarce resources. Typically, we look to the government to respond in situations of market failure. Microeconomics questions whether the government makes decisions that result in the best allocation of resources, or whether the government produces inefficiencies, and if so, what they are.


Grading Information and Criteria

Principles of Microeconomics is a three (3)-credit course. Your final grade for this course will be based upon a weighted average of the individual grades received for five (5) graded exercises that include

  1. homework questions
  2. an individual economic research project
  3. 4 hourly examinations (best 3 used to compute grade)
  4. Extra Credit: in-class quizzes and participation in ten BB conferences

The following is an example of the computation of a student's final grade under this grading system:

Graded Exercise

Weight

Maximum Points Possible

Points Received

Final Grade Contribution

Homework assignments

15%

100

82

12.3

Individual economic research project

25%

100

85

21.3

4 Hourly exams (best three used)

20% ea.

300

225

45.0

Total points

100%

 

 

 

Course Grade

 

 

 

78.6% = B

5.       All final grades will be rounded to one decimal point (note that the final course grade for this hypothetical student is 78.6%, which is a C). Assume the student earned 5 Bonus Points (BB participation or Classroom Quizes). Their average would be 83.6%, which is a B.

6.       Note: Failure to take an exam or to submit a graded exercise will result in grade of zero for that exercise.

Below, we discuss each exercise:

1. Homework (15 percent of final grade)

During the semester a study question will be assigned from the various chapters. The assignment will usually be made on Thursday and one will have till the next class to complete and hand-in at class. One will also be required to upload the assignment to the Assignment folder in Blackboard. The best 10 of these assignments will be used to compute your grade.

2. Individual economic research project (25 percent of final grade)

This term paper will be evaluated based on the following three factors:

quality of supporting research and references

30%

understanding and application of economic concepts and formulas

60%

presentation approach, professionalism, logic, and persuasiveness

10%

To receive full credit, you must post your individual research project to your BlackBoard student assignment folder no later than midnight on the date listed in the course schedule. Late work will not be accepted.


Project Descriptions

The project paper should address a relevant economic issue, e.g., increasing employment, reducing deficit, stimulation economic growth. A one page outline of the issue/problem you will research and write up is due Oct 20. I suggest that the following format be used in developing your paper:

  1. Identify problem or issue.
  2. Background, supporting information on why it is an issue
  3. Alternative solutions to the problem
  4. Your recommendation and the benefit that would result.

The paper should adhere to the following:

·         Length: your paper should be no more than 10 pages, double-spaced, excluding the title page and references.

·         You must use the Web and other sources, such as textbooks, journals, newspapers, and so on, for information. You must use at least five (5) sources, and at least one must be a Web source.

·         The information in your textbook on your topic is only a starting point. Your paper must contain new information on the topic. This is a research paper, not a repeat of what is in the text.

·         Your paper should be typed (make it pretty), with a title page, and you must use standard bibliographic form (use any style guide you like).

·         Footnotes are required (you may use endnotes instead). If you are using someone else's thoughts, paraphrase them or put the words in quotes and give the author credit in a footnote or endnote. If you are caught plagiarizing, you will receive a zero for the paper. To ensure your paper is not plagiarized submit your paper to http://www.turnitin.com/ to have it evaluated for similarity. When registering the Class ID is 4186161 and Password: sgre144. .

·         Because effective communication is an important component of success in the business world, papers with poor grammar and spelling will lose credit. Also, late papers will be reduced by one letter grade.

·         Look at the course schedule to find the date the term paper topic is due. Knowing your topic will help me refer you to sources of information. I can also assist you in narrowing your topic or expanding it where appropriate.

3. Individual examination (60 percent of final grade)

The exams will be multiple choice, true/false and a short essay. The exams will be administered through Blackboard

Extra Credit - Participation in BlackBoard conferences and in-class quizzes (10points added to final average)

There will be at least eight (8) BlackBoard conferences throughout the semester. During the course, I will post specific course-related economic discussion topics in conference areas entitled Extra Credit Conference (EC) 1, Extra Credit Conference (EC) 2, and so on.

These discussion topics will be general in nature, and will be designed to encourage presentation of opinions and free dialogue on the course material. I will act as a moderator to keep general focus. This portion of your coursework provides a good opportunity for you to enhance your learning and to benefit from the knowledge and opinions of others in the class.

Credit for the conferences will be determined by your participate in a meaningful way (i.e., you don't just say, "I agree with Joe's comments."). A good rule of thumb is that each answer should be at least fifty (50) words.

To receive the full credit for participation in these conferences, you must post an answer to each of my topics AND a response to at least one other student's comment in each topic during each conference. Credit will be liberal for this exercise; however, failure to participate will result in an automatic grade of zero. As a reminder, you are expected to adhere to the general rules of online etiquette.

Classes Quizzes

There will be at least five (5) classroom quizzes during the semester. The quiz will be a True/False and Explain question, e.g., Mars is the closest planet to our sun. Answer: F, Mercury is the closest planet to our sun. One can earn up to 5 points, which will be added to your final average.

Grading Scale

Your final grade for this course will be a weighted average of your grades on each of the five graded assignments. Each letter grade has the assigned quantitative value we discussed above.

The grading policy for the course is as follows:

Letter Grade

Scoring

A

90-100%

B

80-89.9%

C

70-79.9%

D

60-69.9%

F

Below 60%

I

Incomplete.

Makeup Exam Policy

Students are expected to take all exams when scheduled.  In the event of illness or extraordinary circumstances, the student must contact the faculty member and provide documentation to request an exception and approval to take a makeup exam.  If the request is not approved, the exam grade will be recorded as a zero. 

Attendance

 

Regular attendance is expected. Frequent exposure to an instructor's explanations is an important factor in your ability to master the material covered. Although you will not be penalized for missing class (you are hurting yourself by cutting), current events used in class to illustrate course-work will be included in test questions.

 

 

Scholastic Dishonesty

 

Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by you is to be the result of your own thought, research, or self-expression.  Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes (whether taken electronically or on paper), projects (either individual or group), classroom presentations, and homework.

 

Penalties for scholastic dishonesty in this class can range from being assigned a zero grade for an assignment on which dishonesty took place to being dropped from this class with a failing grade for cheating on exams.  If the latter occurs, then the incident and the student will be reported to the Dean of Students. Further repercussions could follow from the Dean.

 

Students with Disabilities

 

Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester. During the first or second week of class, students with disabilities must present the instructor with the sheet from the Office for Students with Disabilities listing the reasonable accommodations they require.

 

INCOMPLETES

Incompletes are discouraged. They will be given only when extraordinary events intervene so as to make completion of the course impossible. If you want an incomplete, these events must be documented. To receive an incomplete the student must have completed the first exam with a C or better. The student must also come by my office to fill out an incomplete form. If the form is not filled out, an incomplete grade will not be given.

Incompletes will not be given to students who are behind schedule when the semester nears its end. Nor will incompletes be given to students who need just a few more points to make the next higher letter grade. Plenty of opportunity exists during the semester to accomplish your goals.

If you find yourself way behind or many points short toward the end of the semester you may withdraw without a grade penalty up to four weeks before the end of the semester. Please read the following note about withdrawals.


 WITHDRAWALS

Students are responsible for withdrawing themselves from this course if that is what their personal situation requires. This means that if you have taken no tests or only a few of the tests and the semester ends without you having withdrawn yourself, then you will receive an F in the course. The instructor makes no promise either implicit or explicit to withdraw students from the course. 

In addition, students should be aware of a change in the law regarding Withdrawals passed by the Texas Legislature in the spring of 2007. Starting in the Fall of 2007, entering freshmen are restricted to six non-punitive withdrawals for the whole of their undergraduate careers while attending state colleges.

The last day to withdraw from this course without penalty is November 17.

Academic Freedom:

Each student is strongly encouraged to participate in class discussions. In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, particularly about economic and political ideas, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. Students may not only disagree with each other at times, but the students and instructor may also find that they have opposing views on sensitive and volatile topics. It is my hope that these differences will enhance class discussion and create an atmosphere where students and instructor alike will be encouraged to think and learn. Therefore, be assured that your grades will not be adversely affected by any beliefs or ideas expressed in class or in assignments. Rather, we will all respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.

 

Blackboard

Blackboard is an on-line classroom management tool. It includes a grade book, a discussion board, and ways to communicate between students and between students and professor. Your Online Login username and password is your 7-digit ACC student ID number.

 

Please change your password while you are logged on for the first time. To change your password, click the "User Tools" button. When that page opens up, click on the line that says "Personal Information." When that page opens up, click on the line that says "Change Password." The rest should be self-explanatory. It is important to change your password so that you can be secure in the knowledge that no one besides your instructors can see your grade information. Even then, each instructor will only be able to see the grades in the course they are teaching.


Course Schedule

 

Exam 

Readings/Assignments

Due Date

1

Class Introduction
Introduction to Economics and the Economy

 

Readings
McConnell, Brue & Flynn: Part 1 and 2 (Chapter 1 – 5)

 

Introduce yourself in the Introduction Conference in BlackBoard

Register in PageOut at http://sgreenfield.pageout.net and select,
ECON2302 - CYP, FA2011: Micro Economics

Optional Assignments::
Do the Chapter assessment in the PageOut/Course Content by clicking on chapters 1 - 5

BlackBoard (BB): Introduction

Research Paper:  Topic of your research project should be posted in the Paper Topic Conference. This should be a paragraph or two. In your assignments folder there is a paper topic assignment. Please post your 1 page write-up there for my review. You have till September 29 to complete and hand in at class.

 

2

Part Three:  Microeconomics of Product Markets

Readings
McConnell, Brue & Flynn: Part 3 (Chapter 6-11)

Optional Assignments

BlackBoard (BB) Conference: Conferences 

 

3

Part Four:  Microeconomics of Resource Markets

Readings
McConnell, Brue & Flynn: Part 5 (Chapter 12-17)

Optional Assignments

BlackBoard (BB) Conference: Conferences 

 

 


 

Exam

Readings/Assignments

Due Date

4

Part Five:  Microeconomics Issues and Policies and International Economics

Readings
McConnell, Brue & Flynn: Part 5 (Chapter 20-22, 23-24)

Research Paper Due – December 1 - Please post a summary of your research paper in the Paper Discussion Conference. Each student is required to post at least two (2) comments in this conference. You should upload your paper to your Assignment folder. 

Optional Assignments

BlackBoard (BB) Conference: Conferences