Eco 101 - Principles of Microeconomics
This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of contemporary microeconomics. The primary focus of this course is on how individuals and societies deal with the fundamental economic problem of scarcity. The course begins with a discussion of the methodology of economics. This is followed by a discussion of several basic tools and concepts including:
- demand and supply analysis,
- the production possibilities frontier,
- marginal analysis, and
- the concept of opportunity cost.
Each of these introductory concepts are used to help illuminate the discussion of contemporary policy issues (e.g., the minimum wage, farm subsidies, and the economics of crime). The role of government in correcting for alternative types of market failure is also examined.
The next section of the course provides a more detailed discussion of the theory of consumer demand. In this portion of the course students examine the determinants (and the importance of) several measure of the elasticity of demand and supply. In particular, students examine how the price elasticity of demand can be used to predict the change in a firm's total revenue that results from a change in the price of its output. The determinants of individual and market demand are also examined in some depth.
After developing the theory of demand, the focus of the course turns to an examination of the theory of the firm under conditions of:
- Perfect competition
- Monopolistic competition
- Contestable markets
In each of these market models, students examine the determination of the equilibrium levels of price and output.
The final portion of the course provides a discussion of the determination of equilibrium levels of wages, rental rates, interest rates, and profits under alternative market structures. Particular focus is placed on the labor market and alternative sources of wage differentials among individuals.
Throughout the course, particular emphasis is placed on how economic analysis may be used to explain a wide variety of contemporary policy issues.