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Fall 2011 - 61395 - PA393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

Instructor(s): Boske, Leigh B.
Unique Number: 61395
Day & Time: M 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.216/219
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

This course covers microeconomic policy analysis and is usually taken during the first year. It acquaints students with the ways in which economic analysis bears on public policy issues. Students learn to identify the relevant economic analyses for their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the economic principles involved, and to comprehend and assess what professional economists can contribute to the public sector. The first portion of the course covers microeconomic theory with particular emphasis on determining price and output under perfect competition and other forms of market structure; general equilibrium and welfare theory; and the concept of market failure, including public goods, externalities, and imperfect market structure. The second portion of the course provides a rigorous coverage of the methodology of cost-benefit analysis and demonstrates its application through examination of specific case studies.

Section Description

This is a graduate level introduction to microeconomics for students with little or no prior background in economics. The course provides an analytic framework for policy analysis with a focus on understanding economic issues in both international and domestic U.S. policy contexts.

The course is organized into three parts:

  • Brief introduction to the history of economic thought: how did microeconomics evolve into its present framework?
  • Exposition of basic microeconomic principles, including consumer behavior, demand theory, the cost of production and supply, pricing, and market failure
  • The application of cost-benefit analysis both to illustrate the concepts of opportunity costs, consumer and producer surplus, economic efficiency, and discount rates, and to address a variety of public policy issues

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply economic theory and methodologies to international and domestic policy issues and problems
  • Use efficiency and equity criteria for evaluating governmental interventions in markets; and
  • Identify sources of market failure and appropriate interventions