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Perloff_397614_IM_Ch01 - Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter...

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Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter Outline 1.1 Microeconomics: The Allocation of Scarce Resources Trade-Offs Who Makes the Decisions Prices Determine Allocations How Prices Determine Allocations 1.2 Models Simplifications by Assumption Testing Theories Maximizing Subject to Constraints Positive Versus Normative 1.3 Uses of Microeconomic Models Uses of Microeconomics by Individuals and Governments Teaching Tips You might begin the first class by discussing with the students the role of the intermediate microeconomics class in the larger curriculum. Encourage the students to be interactive by asking questions, bringing in examples from the newspaper, and questioning concepts that seem untrue or unrealistic. For many professors, a primary goal of the course is to get them to think like economists. The material in Chapter 1 should help the students to understand what is required to do so. You might want to ask your students the policy questions listed below as a kind of pre-test. Simply ask them to write down the best answer they can for now, and then put their answers away. You can then return to these answers later in the semester. Some suggested policy questions (be sure to only ask questions that you will address later in the course): 1. How do minimum wages affect wages, employment, and unemployment? 2. Is the CPI a good measure of inflation? 3. Why do stores offer coupons instead of simply reducing the price by the value of the coupon? 4. Why is the price of electricity regulated in most areas? 5. Why do some workers prefer set wages rather than commissions, even if they might make more working on commission? 6. Agree or disagree: We should strive to be a zero pollution society.
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2 Perloff • Microeconomics: Theory and Applications with Calculus On a more pragmatic level, I stress to the students that success in the class is heavily dependent on their approach to the material. Specifically, I emphasize that memorization is an extremely ineffective tool for studying economics, and that students who memorize material are very prone to confusion and “drawing a blank” on exams. I try to persuade them that a much better approach is to press for understanding. I also stress that understanding usually comes only through active engagement with the material, both in class and out. The problems in the text, as well as the additional problems available in this manual and the Study Guide, will benefit the students in this regard. The conceptual and technical questions throughout these
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