Syllabus

Course Syllabus for
Econ 302, Intermediate Microeconomics
Penn State, Second Summer Session 2011

Instructor: Frank Erickson
Grading Assistant: Bruno Teixeira
Prerequisite: Econ 002 or equivalent
Lectures: M-F 11:10 AM - 12:25 PM, 273 Willard

Office: 401 Kern Graduate Building
Office phone: 865-1108
Office Hours: TuTh 1:30-3:30 or by appt.
Email: fpe102 @ psu.edu
Textbook: Jeffrey M. Perloff, Microeconomics (PSU version) and Mark McLeod, Econ 302 Workbook

Web page: http://econ302.wikidot.com/ with grades on http://angel.psu.edu

Course Description

The goal of this course is to give you the core tools of microeconomics that will be applied widely in 400-level economics courses. We review the supply-and-demand model, and then cover consumer choice and exchange; the theory of production, perfectly competitive markets and welfare; and finally, monopoly, imperfectly competitive markets and other topics as time permits. A tentative outline is given below with relevant chapters from the textbook.

Economics is an analytical subject. You will learn to use inductive reasoning and other scientific methodology necessary to understand this and other (social) sciences. In short, you will learn to think like an economist.

Grading

M Tu W Th F
29 30 1Q
5 6Q 7 8Q
11 12 13Q 14 15M
18 19 20Q 21 22Q
25 26 27Q 28 29M
1 2 3Q 4 5Q
8 9 10Q 12F

There will be two midterm exams administered in class, on Friday, 15 July and Friday, 29 July. These will each count for 15% of your final grade. Some problem-solving skills will be required. The exams will cover material from all reading assignments, lectures, and preceding quizzes. Important points will be emphasized in class!

In addition there will be 10 short quizzes, covering recent material. These will take about 20 minutes of class (either the first or last, to be made clear by the day prior) every Wednesday and every Friday that is not scheduled for an exam. Your two lowest quiz grades will be dropped. The remaining 8 quizzes will each count 5% of your final grade, for a total of 40% of your grade.

The comprehensive final exam, administered on Friday, 12 August, will count 30% of your final grade.

The days of quizzes and tests (already stated above) are marked with Q, M and F, respectively, in the chart on the right.

  • 2 Midterms: 15% each (30% total)
  • Best 8 quizzes: 5% each (40% total)
  • Comprehensive Final Exam: 30%

If you think an error has been made in the grading of your quiz or exam, you should contact me (not the grading assistant). Generally, I will not renegotiate partial credit for partially correct answers.

Attendance

Although class attendance is not a criterion upon which your grade will be based, regular attendance is strongly encouraged. You will find that consistent class attendance and participation will greatly increase your chances for success, as well as lightening your workload outside of class. In short, if you come to class, I will tell you what you need to know.

DO NOT MISS TESTS! Makeup exams will not be given. If you miss a midterm exam, you will receive a zero for that exam. Exam dates are listed in the section on grading, above. Please be sure to check them now to ensure that there is no conflict with your schedule! In certain cases, you may receive an excused absence for an exam. The department's policy is described below. If you qualify for an excused absence for a midterm exam, the weight of that exam will be transferred to the subsequent exams.

Materials, course website and ANGEL

The primary textbook is Jeffrey M. Perloff's Microeconomics (PSU version). Mark McLeod's Econ 302 Workbook is good for practice and the source of my in-class numerical examples. Both books are available at the University Bookstore. I strongly recommend that you join a study group with at least one copy of the workbook.

I will use the course website for (i) posting presentation slides after class, (ii) archiving email announcements, (iii) clarifying the material you should know for upcoming quizzes and exams and (iv) linking to other study materials or resources. There is also space to comment on slides/presentations and a forum.

Readings from the textbook or online study materials may be assigned. Grades and email announcements will be handled via ANGEL.

Contact and Feedback

I will be available for office hours after class on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30-3:30. For those who cannot make it after class, you can also send me an email to make an appointment. Feel free to make joint appointments with members of your study group. If coming to office hours or an appointment to go over a problem, please be prepared to show how far you have gotten with it, so we can work it out from there. As mentioned above, for any questions about grading, you should come to me, not the grading assistant.

This course will go fast, so if you need help with some of the material, you should come talk to me about it, bring it up in class, or — if it is a quick question — send me an email. You can also try posting your question to website's forum. When sending emails, please put Econ 302 in the subject box. You may include other information to indicate the nature of the email if you wish. You are encouraged to email me about any arrangements or special needs you might have.

The department's policy on feedback is as follows: “If you have any concerns about this course, please contact the instructor directly. Should you feel uncomfortable directing your concerns to the instructor, you could utilize the department suggestion box located on the window sill in 608 Kern. Any anonymous concerns will be communicated to the instructor.” (Any quotation marks in sections below also denote department or university policy.)

Outline

This outline represents a basic course plan that is subject to change. You are responsible for any changes announced in class and/or via email (I'll use ANGEL, as mentioned above).

  • Unit 1 — The supply-and-demand model. Ch 2, 3
  • Unit 2 — Consumer choice and exchange. Ch 4, 5, 10

Midterm 1: Friday, 15 June

  • Unit 3 — Production, perfectly competitive markets and welfare. Ch 6, 7, 8, 9

Midterm 2: Friday, 22 June

  • Unit 4 — Monopoly and imperfectly competitive markets. Ch 11, 13
  • Unit 5 (extra) — Pricing, strategy, design and externalities. Ch 12, 14, 18

Comprehensive Final Exam: Friday, 12 August

Disability Access

“The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities and is committed to the policy that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access let me know as soon as possible.”

Academic Integrity

“Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 49-02). Please see also the Department of Economics integrity statement on the department’s web site at: http://econ.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/index.html#aca_int

Valid Excuses and Missed Evaluative Events

The Department's policy is reproduced from http://econ.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/index.html#valid below. I will choose option 2 whenever possible.

"During the course many possible situations may arise that would result in your inability to attend class, attend exams, or perform at a minimally acceptable level during an examination. Illness or injury, family emergencies, certain University-approved curricular and extra-curricular activities, and religious holidays can be legitimate reasons to miss class or to be excused from a scheduled examination.

"In the case of your own illness or injury, confirmation from a physician, physician's assistant, a nurse-practitioner, or a nurse is required. Be advised that University Health Services cannot provide such verification unless they have provided treatment and the student authorizes release of information to the instructor. Further, barring extraordinary circumstances, the confirmation must be available to the instructor prior to the missed course event.

"With regard to family emergencies, you must provide verifiable documentation of the emergency. Given the vast array of family emergencies the instructor will provide precise guidance as to what constitutes adequate documentation. Unless the emergency is critical you should notify the instructor in advance of your absence from the scheduled course event. In cases of critical emergencies, you must notify the instructor within one week of your absence.

"For University-approved curricular and extra-curricular activities, verifiable documentation is also required. The student should obtain from the unit or department sponsoring the activity a letter (or class absence form) indicating the anticipated absence(s). The letter must be presented to the instructor at least one week prior to the first absence.

"In the case of religious holidays, the student should notify the instructor by the third week of the course of any potential conflicts.

"If a student misses a class during which an evaluative event (e.g., a quiz or an exam) takes place, and the student has a valid excuse, it is the policy of the Economics Department that the missed event may be made up in one of two ways that are to be decided by the instructor:

"1. the student will take a make-up version for the missed evaluative event; or 2. the student will be excused from the missed event, and the weight of that event in the overall course grade will be reassigned to either the course final exam or to a subset of the subsequent evaluative events in the course."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License