Fall 2022 - 61025 - PA 393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis


Scope and Objectives: This is a graduate level introduction to microeconomics. It includes three organizing themes: (1) history of economic thoughts and design of institutional structures; (2) neoclassical framework of rational choices and market exchanges; and (3) logic for understanding market failures and their potential solutions. 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. Course Structure: This course includes two components: classroom discourse and an independent research project. A. Classroom Discourse: The classroom component of the course requires class members to (1) develop an independent news-reading habit on a daily basis, (2) complete assigned reading materials before class, and (3) participate in discussion both in class and on the class Canvas discussion board. B. Independent Research: The second component of the course is an independent research project on a topic conducive to economic analysis. Each class member chooses their own topic and complete research reading on their own, with guidance from the instructor as needed. Learning Experiences: There will be five projects spread throughout the semester, covering the progress from (a) historical perspective to (b) mechanics of mathematical analysis of economic concepts to (c) more complex economic modeling and creative policy application. Project 1: Brief in-class pop quizzes (two to four in the semester) Project 2: Analytic Problem-Solving Exercises (two in the semester) Project 3: Progress Report on Policy Paper (Prospectus for independent research) Project 4: Friday Learning Experience (One, closed-book & time-limited) Project 5: Policy Paper (deliverable of independent research) Expectation: Complete fluency in algebraic and geometric reasoning is required. Calculus notations and concepts will be explained at the beginning of the semester. No prior background in calculus or economics is needed. Daily news-reading habit is required. Class members are asked to refrain from note-taking in class.

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