Syllabus Busi 681 Fall 2010

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BUSI 681: Managerial Economics and Public Policy
Philip Young
Fall 2010


Philip Young
Office Hours: 5:00-6:00 p.m. before class (in the classroom) and by appointment. I’ll also be available after class for any follow-up questions after the regular lecture period. Phone: (202) 378-7343. Please use this number only for urgent matters. Email is generally preferred for communicating. I respond quickly to emails. Email:

Class meets Tuesday evenings from 6:25-10:00 p.m. on 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23, 11/30, 12/7 with a final exam on Tuesday evening 12/14.

This course is intended to provide the student with a basic introduction to the microeconomics of the firm. The emphasis will be on the firm decision-making process and how that process influences firm performance. Firm performance can have many dimensions, although this course will primarily concern itself with profitability. The course will examine the market environment of the firm and the role of government in the market. Topics to be covered include: * the basic microeconomic principles that firms utilize in making business decisions, including demand, elasticities, costs, productivity, and pricing; * the industry environment that firms face including the concepts of market structure, market conduct, and market performance; * common forms of market failures that affect firms; and

* the role of government intervention in the market, particularly in ameliorating market failures.  
The “managerial” in the course title is taken seriously, with primary attention given to applications. This is accomplished primarily by the use of a text that emphasizes the managerial applications of economic concepts and the use of cases. The cases provide practice in applying economic concepts to firm decision-making.


* Microeconomics, by Robert S. Pindyck & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, (Referred to as P&R below) Pearson Prentice Hall, Seventh Edition, 2009. ISBN 978-0-1-3208023-1. Please note that two options for the book will likely be posted on the Testudo website. One is the electronic version of the book (prefaced by EBK), which will be less expensive than the hard copy. You only need to purchase one of the two options. As always, you may purchase the textbook from any source you wish. The edition has not changed from last year, so you may be able to find used copies, too.

* BUSI 681 Course Packets (referred to as CP below). These contain the cases and notes and are available at (CPs #333079 and #334858).

* BUSI 681 Lecture Notes (to be distributed in class) The Lecture Notes contain problem sets and background materials covered in the lectures.

Problem sets (dates set out below):20%
Group case analysis:10%
Quiz 5%
Midterm exam:25%
Final exam:40%
Final letter grades will be assigned only for your overall course score, not for individual exams or assignments. However, I will provide preliminary letter grades, along with the mean and distribution of individually graded components. The policy of the Department of LBPP at the Smith School is that no greater than 35% of the class will receive A’s in core classes (this includes A and A-). This is a core class and I am required to implement this policy. Most students will receive the average grade of B. Grades of C, D and F will be assigned only to those students whose performance is appreciably below the class average.


The graded components are designed to use two separate methods—problem solving and case analysis—to evaluate your understanding of the class materials.

To ensure fairness in your evaluation please note the following class policies: 1
* Problem sets and case write-ups must be completed no later than the due date and time. Deadlines are binding and late materials will not be accepted. *...
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