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Syllabus_PAM_200_Spring_2009

Syllabus_PAM_200_Spring_2009 - CORNELL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE...

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C ORNELL U NIVERSITY C OLLEGE OF H UMAN E COLOGY D EPARTMENT OF P OLICY A NALYSIS & M ANAGEMENT I NTERMEDIATE M ICROECONOMICS PAM 2000, L ECTURE 1 S PRING 2009 The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking. Albert Einstein, Physics and Reality (1936) Rick Geddes Associate Professor Office : 251 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall Phone : 255-8391; e-mail : [email protected] Office Hours : Wednesdays, 10:00AM-12PM, directly after class, and by appointment Romita Mukherjee Teaching Assistant e-mail : [email protected] Course Overview Intermediate microeconomics uses the basic tools of economics to analyze the choices and behavior of individual units in society, such as markets, consumers, households, and profit-seeking firms. The economic approach is distinguished by the assumption that the entity under study pursues well-defined goals but faces scarcity of resources in doing so. The approach is versatile, and can be easily extended to include the behavior of other decision makers, such as politicians, bureaucrats, state-owned enterprises, non-profit enterprises and many others. The power of the analysis is illustrated throughout the course by applying it to contemporary policy issues. The course begins with a review of basic market operation, optimization, and essential economic concepts such as opportunity cost, incentives, scarcity and tradeoffs. The marginal cost/marginal benefit and supply and demand models are then applied to a variety of situations. They are used to analyze several policies, such as price floors and price ceilings. Each side of the market is then analyzed in detail to show how demand curves and supply curves are derived. This requires first an analysis of consumer behavior and then an analysis of firm behavior. Applications of the consumer choice model are explored. Analysis of firm behavior leads naturally into a discussion of market structures, which include competitive markets, monopolistic markets, and oligopolistic markets. The course then examines several additional topics in microeconomics that illustrate its versatility.
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