Lecture time: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 – 1:50 pm
Lecture room: Foellinger Auditorium
Instructor: Dr. Jose J. Vazquez-Cognet
Office: DKH 102
Office Hours: Wednesdays from 11-12pm; Thursdays from 2-3pm E-mail: contact your TA first!
The following is the course description for this course in our course catalog: Introduction to the functions of individual decision-makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. Primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, the theory of the firm under varying conditions of competition and monopoly, and the role of government in prompting efficiency in the economy. I would not be surprised if you were somewhat dismayed by this description. Most people make the incorrect assumption that economics is mainly the study of money. My primary goal in this course is to shatter this belief, then show you how economics deal with some of the most interesting and important questions for humanity. For instance, the following questions are just a few examples of the type of issues economists have dealt with during the last 50 years: About Love and Marriage
Why is the divorce rate so high and what should we do in order to reduce it? About the Environment
Why do we have so much pollution?
How much is an endangered species worth?
Why is legalizing many drugs the way to go if you want to reduce crime? About Labor Markets
Why the Federal Minimum Wage puts people out of work?
Why so many women entered the labor force during the last 40 years? About freedom of religion
Why are people so religious these days?
About things you should be worrying about
Why shouldn’t college be a smart investment?
Why are the presidential candidates missing the point on college costs? And about many other things
Why are vouchers the best way to finance public education?
Why a draft would only damage the army?
How to level the playing field in baseball?
We will be addressing many of these (and many more) questions during this course. Again, my main goal will be to make an “economist” out of you. To show you the way economists think and how to use this analytical system to answer questions related not only to these and other important human issues but pretty much to anything you end up doing with your life after this class. After all, as you will quickly find out, I believe everything is economics! SOME COURSE OBJECTIVES
At the end of the course students will be expected to:
Calculate the opportunity costs of an action.
Use the Supply and Demand framework to predict changes to price and quantity given certain changes in market conditions. Determine what would be the most cost-effective course of action for an economic agent (i.e. an individual or a firm) trying to maximize net benefits. TEACHING STYLE
You are probably used to classes where most of what is required of you is the memorization of a series of concepts, ideas, etc. Where lectures mostly cover what you can find in the textbook and where exams simply ask you to spit all this supposed knowledge into a piece of paper. If this is what you are used to in your other classes, then this course will prove difficult to swallow for you. This class is organized in several learning modules. Each learning module basically covers a different chapter of the textbook. Each learning modules has three major parts: Before Lecture – after completing the readings students try at least one attempt of the graded quiz. They write down questions they were not able to answer correctly and bring them to class. During Lecture – instructor delivers a very short lecture. Students engage in active learning activities in order to apply the concepts. Note: the lecture is not going to repeat topics found in the textbook. In other works, it is the student's responsibility to read the textbook BEFORE THEY COME TO CLASS. After...
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