Fall 2009 Course Description

Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

Instructor(s): Pat Wong
Course: P A 393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis
(previously Political Economy I)
Unique Number: 63210
Day & Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.314
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

Description: Scope and Objectives: This is a graduate level introduction to microeconomics for policy analysis. The primary organizing theme is the neoclassical framework of rational choice, with its emphasis on allocation efficiency. However, we will also pay due attention to institutional structure, distribution issues, political decision making, and alternative views in political economy.

Students completing this course successfully will have acquired the basic logic of economic thinking, some experience in using this logic for policy analysis, and an appreciation of the limitation of the logic. This course is a prerequisite to Advanced Policy Economics.

Structure of Content: This course is conceptually organized into three parts:

(1) Part 1 Overview (two weeks) - big picture summary of history and major concepts.
(2) Part 2 The Neoclassical Story of the Market (six weeks) - the neoclassical framework of consumer choice, production, and market.
(3) Part 3 Market vs Government: Policy analysis & alternative views (seven weeks) - analysis of public sector action in the market on a variety of issues, to be selected by the instructor depending on student interests.

Learning Experiences: There will be five major projects spread throughout the semester, reflecting the progress from the mechanics of mathematical analysis through the modeling of simple analytics to creative policy application.

(1)Project 1: Analytic Problem-Solving (A) --(Friday, open-book, unlimited time)
(2)Project 2: Analytic Problem-Solving (B) --(Friday, open-book, unlimited time)
(3) Project 3: Policy Brief --(Early November, group-based)
(4)Project 4: Policy Presentation & Discussion --(Mid to late November, group-based)
(5)Project 5: Final Written Exercise --(Final exam week, open-book, unlimited time)

In addition, during the first half of the semester there will be two required problem sets and optional weekly exercises covered during tutorial sessions.

Expectation: This course is taught with mathematical language. Proficiency in differential calculus is a prerequisite. The fast pace of the course means previous microeconomics coursework will be helpful, but such background is not required. A Thursday evening tutorial will be offered. Abstention from long-hand note-taking in class is requested.

Return to Fall 2009 Course Schedule