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A Student Guide to Managerial Economics at Dickinson College * January 2001 Stephen Erfle Associate Professor and Chair International Studies Dickinson College Carlisle, PA 17013 [email protected] * Comments are greatly appreciated. Your comments will help make this class more useful and enjoyable to future IB&M majors. If you prefer to provide your comments anonymously, just email them to the IS/IB&M secretary – she can take your name off, and give them to me.
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Managerial economics teaches you how to use the economic tools you began learning in introductory microeconomics in order to make managerial decisions. This guide provides an overview of how the various parts of managerial economics tie together. I hope this guide will provide a roadmap for the course. Certain parts of the course are admittedly difficult, but they will be less difficult, or at least more manageable, if you understand why I am teaching each topic that is being covered in class and in lab. Before I begin this discussion, I would like to briefly explain why I think this is an integral part of the International Business and Management (IB&M) curriculum. Background and overview During the 1994-95 academic year, I took a sabbatical in which I worked as an economist for Seagram Classics Wine Company . Although I am trained as an industrial organization / regulation economist, I became interested in how managers might more effectively use economics for decision-making purposes, i.e., I got interested in managerial economics. When I returned to Dickinson College in the fall of 1995 I had revised my vision of how I could best teach economics to students. Basically I had come to believe that economics might best be understood by placing greater emphasis on practical applications, and less on theoretical development. Too often, economists focus on theoretical modeling at the expense of empirical relevance. Upon returning from sabbatical, I became actively involved with a group of faculty who were attempting to create a business major at Dickinson . The faculty of the College approved the resulting major, IB&M, during the fall of 1996. As you are undoubtedly aware, one of the core courses in this major is managerial economics. In my view, managerial economics is most appropriately taught using the same toolkit that business managers rely on – today, that means use Excel as the platform to teach the course. My initial vision for this course was to teach a variety of topics covered in managerial economics textbooks using Excel as the teaching platform. I wanted to use this class to simulate what students will face working in a business setting. In such settings, quantitative issues are typically examined via Excel . (I found this out first hand at Seagram – I had never used Excel (or other spreadsheet programs) prior to starting work there – learning Excel was a byproduct of one of my first tasks that year.) I began searching for managerial economics texts that were integrated with spreadsheet programs
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