HONORS INTERMEDIATE MICROECONOMICS—ECO3101-002

Wilkes Honors College, FAU

 

Syllabus and Course Policies

 

INSTRUCTOR

Keith Jakee

112 Hibel

799-8131

kjakee@fau.edu

MEETING TIMES & PLACE

Tuesdays & Thursdays
12:30 - 1:50pm

HA102

HA102

Class website: http://home.fau.edu/kjakee/web/intermediate-micro/interm-mic-MAIN.htm

 

"EconLab" (Graded Quiz Site):  http://www.pearsonmylab.com/

Textbook's Companion Website: http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_pindyck_micro_7/100/25712/6582391.cw/-/t/index.html

OFFICE HOURS (may be subject to change later in semester)

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8:30 – 9:30am and 11:00am–12:00pm by appointment

PRE-REQUISITES

Principles of Microeconomics (Eco 2023) or equivalent.

DROPPING/ADDING

If you add or drop this course late, you must notify me by email.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This is the second course in microeconomic theory. It covers most of the well-known topics in microeconomics, such as market equilibrium, demand-side factors, supply-side factors, market structure, market failure, and various policy issues, but it does so with more sophisticated tools than you saw in your first micro class. A large part of the theoretical emphasis is on "maximization" techniques, a mainstay of the modern economic method. It is simply impossible to understand modern economics without this technique. While we will stress the mastering of theory, it should be kept in mind that the real objective of theory is to better understand the world around us and, to that end, we will try to apply the techniques whenever practical.

At the successful completion of this subject, students should:

·    Be able to apply core microeconomic concepts to problems facing individuals (consumers, managers and policy makers).

·    Understand how economists characterize and model individual and firm behaviors.

·    Understand how economists use maximization models to interpret an array of social phenomena.

·    Understand how economists characterize the nature and relevance of the costs facing individuals, firms, and governments.

·    Understand the characteristics, pricing policies, and profit maximizing conditions relevant to various industry structures (i.e., “competitive”, “monopolistic”, etc.).

·    Communicate microeconomic analysis to others in written and oral forms.

TEXT AND REFERENCES

Required Text and supplemental material:

· Pindyck, Robert, and Daniel Rubinfeld. 2013. Microeconomics 8th ed. Prentice Hall.

· New books will come with an access code for the on-line supplemental website called MyEconLab. This website offers a large variety of supplemental material, exercises, and on-line quizzes. This website also includes an on-line version of the book's Study Guide.You will need to do the on-line quizzes as part of your grade. The URL of the site is: http://www.coursecompass.com/.

If you are buying a used book you will have to purchase the MyEconLab access code to get onto the website.

· A variety of articles will be required reading. When possible, materials will be available as electronic links.

 

Suggested supplemental material:

· Pindyck & Rubinfeld’s companion website (for the 7th edition!) is: http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_pindyck_micro_7/100/25712/6582391.cw/-/t/index.html. This site is separate from the MyEconLab site and offers yet more exercises, online-quizzes, chapter summaries, etc.

· Among other things, the MyEconLab site includes a number of study aides, such as additional quizzes, videos, etc.

GRADES

You are required to complete the following assessment tasks:

Assessment

Week (Tentatively)

HONORS
Percentage of
overall mark

NON-HONORS
Percentage of
overall mark

Problem Sets (2 are likely)

2 and 12

10

30

On-line (or "pop") Weekly Quizzes
(drop your worst 2 scores)
Weekly 20 25

Midterm Exam

6 or 7

20

20

2 Brief Analytical Papers
  (1st = 10%; 2nd = 15%)

4 and 14

25

N/A
(or up to 10% extra credit)

Final Exam

Final Exam Week

20

20

(Positive!) Class Participation

 Throughout

5

5

Grading

Cutoff Cutoff Cutoff Cutoff Cutoff
A   ≥93% B+   87% C+   77% D+  67%  
A-    90% B     83% C     73% D    63% F  <60%
  B-   80% C-   70% D-  60%  

Problem Sets (Review Exercises)

In line with my belief that you have to do lots of problems that include graphs, some simple algebra, and written explanations of the foregoing, you'll have to submit your written answers to a select set of questions taken from the end of the chapters (or other sources). These are designed to force you to work through basic analytical concepts throughout the semester. Because so much of the course depends on your ability to maneuver these basic concepts, it is important that you get as much practice as possible. The problem sets are listed on the Course Schedule page and if you were really smart, you'd actually do the problems as we cover the chapter (i.e., in advance of when they're due); this would leave you with very little stress when the problem set is actually due.

On-line (or "pop") Weekly Quizzes

You will also have to do regular short multiple choice quizzes on-line (on the MyEconLab site). These quizzes cover material that we'll be working on at around the same time and is graded automatically when you finish it. Note that this grade is sent to me and I will sum these more-or-less-weekly scores for this component of your grade. Keep in mind that the Honor Code dictates your activities when it comes to taking these on-line quizzes  (i.e., these quizzes are to be done without the aid of any other human or any dishonest practice!).

Also, please note that I will routinely have in-class "pop" quizzes throughout the semester. These are designed to encourage you to keep up with the material.

Exams

Format of the exams (mid and final) might be any combination of multiple choice, short questions, and essays (the specific format will be discussed close to the exam). Students are responsible for all the material covered in class and any additional material (reading, web, etc.) that is assigned, regardless of whether we explicitly cover it in class. The final may cover any material from throughout the semester. The exams are designed to be challenging and time-constrained.

FAU's final exam website notes that final exam will be TENTATIVELY held at the following time:

T (R)

12:30 (reg. class time)

R (Apr 23) 10:30am-1:00pm

Because of the uncertainty of exam scheduling, you need to be prepared to
take the exam anytime during the regularly scheduled exam period
.

Brief Analytical Papers (2)

· These will require you to apply a particular area of economic thought to the assigned problem or case study. This paper will require a small amount of research, but is not designed as a "research-intensive" exercise. Roughly 30% or so of your overall effort on the paper should be research. There is a very strict size limit (three typed pages not counting cover, references, etc.); it is therefore meant to be like a policy brief, or a consulting report summary.

· Papers must be typed, space-and-a-half (or even double spaced) in a standard 12 point font; they must include a proper cover page, citations, references, etc. (see website details). Absent or unclear documentation will lead to lower grades.

· Papers will be judged on quality of composition, content and form (does it look good/adhere to discipline norms).

· In completing these assignments, you are responsible for understanding and adhering to the Honors College Academic Honor Code. Relying solely on the internet as a source of information is the first big mistake by college students. As an old colleague put it, "Any idiot can put something on the internet, and countless numbers have done so." You can pretty well figure out what this means if you don’t have—or cannot develop—the proper "filters" through which to interpret this mountain of sleaze, innuendo, and half-baked argumentation. Keep in mind that anything you can find on the net, I can also find—and you’d probably be surprised to know the things that I have found over my years in teaching. Furthermore, I reserve the right to check your paper using any sort of anti-plagiarism softward. Punishment for plagiarism can range from a zero for the assignment to failure of the course and the report of an Honors Code violation.

Class Participation (extra credit... or demerit)

Part of your overall mark will be allocated to your (positive or negative) contribution to class meetings/discussion. What you do out of class is, of course, your business, but I expect everyone to behave professionally and productively in class. I interpret positive class participation as:

  1. coming to class

  2. doing the day's assigned reading and

  3. being prepared to ask and answer questions, debate issues using economic arguments relevant to the work/readings at hand, and participate during the presentations.

Negative participation means:

  1. being impolite, interrupting others, talking when someone has the "floor", or just plain talking for the sake of making noise.

  2. leaving early, consistently coming late, or leaving the classroom in the middle of class (except in case of genuine emergency)

  3. leaving your cell phones turned on (or worse yet answering it!); best idea: don't bring your cell phone to class

  4. attending without your assigned classroom and reading materials

The latter four points, among other negative externalities that violate the spirit of the classroom, will be grounds to lower your participation mark.

Self-Directed Exercises (not graded... but a key to your success)

Economics is a lot of fun to study and learn, but ...  as you've probably already figured out in your introductory classes, it also catches a lot of people off guard. The reason is many students come to class with a passive attitude; they hear topics that sound familiar and they often feel like they're following things just fine; they even occasionally contribute to the class discussion. Often, they see me stand at the board (or overhead) and scribble a few curves or the occasional bit of algebra and think, "hmm... I can do that... I'll just run through a few problems a day or so before the exam." This is almost always a mistake.

Another type of student, who's strong at math, figures that because he or she can sleep through the technical requirements (the graphs and algebra), he or she can easily ace the class. This is almost always a mistake.

So, economics often surprises both kinds of students. When it comes to reproducing the analysis on a clean sheet of paper without notes or a book (which tends to involve considerably more subtleties than your principles class) in the context of the analysis of some social problem (which involves understanding something about facts, institutions, and human behavior), they tend to experience a degree of “dissonance”.

To do well in this course, I suggest you do the following—in addition to the graded assignments

  1. review the simple algebra exercises and derivative review provided on the class's website if you're a little rusty in this area

  2. read the material before we cover it in class; don't worry about bits that remain a little fuzzy

  3. come to lectures (and participate in a positive way; see above)!

  4. go back and look over the chapter material again to clarify any sections or analyses that were unclear the first time

  5. get a clean sheet of paper (or dedicated notebook) and re-create, with pen or pencil in hand, any graphs, tables or algebra; DRAW the graphs on your own and even change them (change the slope, starting info/assumptions, etc.) and make sure you understand how they work.

  6. do as many of the Self-Directed Exercises (taken from the back of each chapter, the companion website and the MyEconLab site) as possible—and certainly as many of those exercises as necessary to understand the material and feel comfortable answering questions on it.

A key to doing well in this class is putting pen to a clean sheet of paper and drawing graphs and writing out short answers/explanations of those graphs. Like a mathematics class, you're unlikely to do well in this class by simply reading the book.

There are an enormous number of resources available to you to practice the material and to do well at this course. In fact, the supplemental material is one of the principal assets of the book. As noted above, there are two different websites associated with the course and they are:

MyEconLab

Pindyck & Rubinfeld’s companion website

The two sites have different materials on each. The P&R companion website has an array of learning materials, such as:

Study Guide (which includes)

Multiple Choice (auto graded)
Essay Questions

You'll find the above-list in left-hand column after you've chosen a particular chapter.

You may also want to keep in mind that the answers to a select set of questions at the end of each chapter can be found at the back of your book.

 

So, there is a large amount of material (on both websites) available for each chapter! There are literally thousands of exercises and answers there. For example, just one of the great features is the multiple choice quizzes for each chapter. This solves a problem that students often complained about in the past: not having enough practice with MC. During many weeks, you'll have to do a MC quiz and your grade will be submitted to me. The system will mark you and suggest where in the book you need to review. If you can't find a whole bunch of exercises, answers, and supplemental material to help you learn microeconomics, you're not trying very hard.

In sum…

To achieve the objectives listed in the Course Description and to do well in this subject you will surely need to "engage with the material" beyond the activities that are explicitly graded. Specifically, you should not rely simply on class notes or your book, but prepare your own version of notes and exercises. These notes should include re-worked material from the class notes, material from the textbook and readings, problems from the textbook, and material from any other work that is relevant and useful.

As noted above, you're expected to have read the prescribed material beforehand. Because of the time constraint, I can usually only focus on the most important aspects of the material. I will cover graphs and key analytical points specifically, but you will be responsible for other material, even if I do not cover it. Furthermore, there is usually very little time to go over the self-directed material in class. You can certainly ask and I will try to get to any questions I have time for in class, but many of these questions are more appropriate outside of class.

Keep in mind that some of you will need to do considerably more work than others for the same grade; you need to be able to determine, yourself, whether you feel you understand the material and can reproduce it under an exam situation (or any other that might arise, like someone asking you to do an analysis, or work through a problem using the tools). In any case, you have at your disposal literally thousands of exercises of all types with answers and details including answers and feedback.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND LATE POLICY

If there are special health or other personal crises affecting your attendance or performance during the semester, you may request special arrangements with supporting documentation. I strongly urge students to see me as soon as possible under such circumstances. Unless there is an arrangement with me (with documentation), I will not accept anything late.

CLASSROOM COMPUTER/LAPTOP POLICY

In recent years it's become common to bring laptops to class. While they can often aid in your productivity, they can also be used as a crutch (for example, to hide behind when the instructor's looking for class interaction). There are also all kinds of disruptive behaviors associated with computers, such as IM, emailing, surfing the net and the like. This latter behavior will not be tolerated whatsoever: if you’re caught doing the latter, you’ll receive a zero for that class’s participation score.

POLICY ON RECORDING, PHOTOS, AND FILMING IN THE CLASSROOM

There will be absolutely no recording, filming, or photographing of any sort in my classroom at any time without my previous written permission.

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENTS ON Course Website and
Your Responsibility to Consult it Often

You are responsible for checking the course website, including the course schedule, frequently and for keeping up-to-date on what reading and other work (including assignments) are required for a particular class meeting. All reading and other work assigned for a given date must be completed prior to the class meeting on that date.

You might be alerted in class and/or through the FAU course website of any class announcements. Any changes to the schedule, etc. on the website supersede the paper copy received in the beginning of the semester. You will be notified on the website and in class of any changes.

· The website for the class is kept at:  http://home.fau.edu/kjakee/web/intermediate-micro/interm-mic-MAIN.htm

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students who require special accommodations due to a disability to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) and follow all procedures.  The OSD is apart of the Office of Diversity Student Services on the MacArthur Campus in Jupiter and is located in the Student Resource building in SR 117.  The phone number is 561-799-8585, and the TTY number is 561-799-8565. If you have a disability that hinders your academic performance, it is strongly recommended that make an appointment with me to discuss the accommodations you require in addition to registering at the Office of Diversity Services. This must be done within the first three weeks of the semester. If you believe you might have a disability that has not previously been identified, contact the Office of Diversity Services.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY

Students at Florida Atlantic University are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards. Academic dishonesty is considered a serious breach of these ethical standards, because it interferes with the university mission to provide a high quality education in which no student enjoys an unfair advantage over any other. Academic dishonesty is also destructive of the university community, which is grounded in a system of mutual trust and places high value on personal integrity and individual responsibility. Harsh penalties are associated with academic dishonesty. For more information, see University Regulation 4.001. The Honors College's Honor Code is here.

SEE PROVISIONAL COURSE OUTLINE/SCHEDULE for TENTATIVE SCHEDULE