Spring 2024 - 59735 - PA 393G - Microeconomics

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 (three to five in the semester)
Project 2: Analytic Problem-Solving Exercises (two in the semester)
Project 3: Memos on Independent Research (two in the semester)
Project 4: Friday Learning Experience (one, closed-book & time-limited)
Project 5: Final Learning Experience (one, closed-book & time-limited)

Expectation: Fluency in algebraic and geometric reasoning is expected—review
materials available on Canvas once fall semester is over. No prior background in
economics is needed. Daily news-reading habit is required. Class members are asked to
refrain from note-taking in class.

Instruction Mode