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Spring 2015 - 61340 - PA393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

Instructor(s): Galbraith, James K.
Unique Number: 61340
Day & Time: W 9:00 am -12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.314/355
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Final Exam Information:May 14, 2015 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm SRH 3.314/355
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 class will provide a synthetic introduction to the theory and practice of economics relevant to policy.  It will be taught from a classical, institutional and Keynesian perspective, mixing micro- and macroeconomic themes.  

The course will unfold in a sequence largely governed by the evolution of major issues in the history of economic thought. 

The sequence of topics to be covered will include: value; growth, distribution, development and technological change; firms, corporations and regulation; money and finance; national income accounting and basic Keynesian theory; expectations, uncertainty, animal spirits and non-linearity; deficits and public debt; international trade, capital flow and exchange rates; inequality; fraud and financial instability; and the oncoming economics of resource scarcity and climate change.  The goal of the course will be a broad exposure to theoretical and policy issues that have concerned political leaders and policy economists over three centuries, ending with critical questions that confront the national and world economies today.

There will be homework, a mid-term and a final exam.  Mathematics will be deployed, assuming basic calculus, proficient elementary algebra and geometry, and the ability to program and graph simple dynamic functions in a spreadsheet. Students will be expected to reproduce technical arguments from their lecture notes; faithful reading and good note-taking skills will be highly rewarded.

This class meets the requirements of Advanced Microeconomics for Policy (AMP).  However it is not a course in neoclassical microeconomics.  Students seeking a course on neoclassical price theory, the theory of consumer choice, production functions, welfare economics, general equilibrium and cost-benefit analysis, etc., should choose one of the other sections.