Economics Department
Course Syllabus

Course title:  Principles of Microeconomics (50 220 102 90) Online
Prerequisites:  None                           
Day, Time, Place Online
Instructor:  Robert Vaden
Phone: 856-582-9325
Email: robert.vaden@rutgers.edu

Catalog Description: Economic systems; supply, demand, and the role of the market;   consumer behavior and utility; firm behavior, cost, and profit; competitive and monopolistic products for markets and inputs; government regulation of markets.

Course Overview:   This course is the introductory course in microeconomics.  Emphasis is placed on understanding how a market economy works and the strengths and weaknesses of such an economic system. To this end, heavy emphasis is placed on understanding supply and demand and the role of prices, competition, and self interest in a market economy.

The course also covers the role of profits, a key variable, in a market economy.  The student will see how the economist has a different concept of costs and profits than the  non-economists.  The student will also learn the different definitions and types of costs and profits.  Special emphasis will be placed on economies of scale and their role in determining the structure and performance of the various industry sectors in the American economy.  

The course will provide a detailed discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the four major market structures in the American economy (pure competition, pure monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition). The demand for economic resources, including the determination of wages, will be covered in detail.   

Current issues relevant to microeconomics, such as the move to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and issues related to mergers and acquisitions, will also be discussed, as appropriate.

Required Texts: Microeconomics (Principles, Problems, and Policies), by Campbell, McConnell, Stanley Brue, and Sean Flynn.  Twentieth edition, McGraw Hill (paperback)    

Note:  Reading and studying the texts are very important and key to learning and understanding the course material.   There is no substitute for spending a significant amount of time each week with the texts. 

Course Objectives:

  • Introduce the student to the formal study of economics.
  • Improve the student’s level of economic literacy.
  • Stimulate a lasting interest in the student in the field of economics.
  • Provide the student with a good understanding of the principles of microeconomics and show how the lessons of economics can help them in day-to-day living.
  • Provide the student with the knowledge and understanding to better understand the economic issues facing the country today.

Grades:  There will be two tests, a final examination, and each week we will generally have a class discussion question or a short test which will be graded.   These weekly exercise grades will be averaged and count as one exam or one quarter of your course grade.  Note that all tests and/or exercises are cumulative, meaning each could include any material covered in the class to date.   

Final grades will be assigned as follows:

90+ = A;  
84-89= B+;
78-83= B;
72-77=C+; 
66-71=C,
660-65-D; 59 or less=F.   

Office Hours:  To be determined.  Students are strongly encouraged to use the office hours as a way to get to know the instructor and vice versa.  The office hours can also be used to get extra help and clarification for any course problems you might be having.  Office hours are one way to work around lack of personal contact in online courses.   

Course Format:  The weekly course outline provided in the course syllabus is very general and is only intended to provide an overview of the course and the topic to be covered in a given week.  For each week, there will be a weekly page that provides the more detailed information regarding the topics for that week.   

For example, for some weeks there may be links to outside websites that provide additional information on the topic for that week.  The instructor will, most weeks, provide supplementary information that is intended to help the student better understand the course material and the structure of the course.

Also, the weekly course exercises will originate from the weekly page. 

The page will generally become available on Monday of each week.    

Course Outline

Week of

Chapter Title

Chapter #

January 16 

Introduction

Limits, Alternatives, Choices

 

1

January 23

The Market System and the Circular Flow

2

January 30

Demand, supply and Market Equilibrium

3

February 6

Chapter 3,continued

Elasticity (Concepts)

 

6

February 13

Elasticity  (Concepts)  

Review

6

February 20

EXAMINATION 1

Market Failures:  Public Goods and Externalities

 

4

February 27

Market Failures:  Public Goods and Externalities    (continued)

Utility Maximization

4

 

7

March 6

Business Costs 

9        

 

Week of March 13-17  Spring Break

 

March 20

Pure Competition in the Short-run

10

March 27

Pure Competition in the Long-run

 

11       

April 3

EXAMINATION 2

Pure Monopoly  

 

12

April 10

Monopolistic Competition and  Oligopoly 

13

April 17

Demand for Economic Resources

Wages

14

15

April 24

Wages  (continued)

Rent/Interest/Profit 

15

16

May

 FINAL EXAMINATION      

 

Chapter Questions/Problems

The problems below, found at the end of each assigned chapter, will be covered in class.   The problems will not, however, be taken up or graded.  You should use these problems as a self-testing device to see if you understand the material. 

Chapter

Discussion

Review

1

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

 

2

1, 2,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

2,3,4,6

3

1,2,3,4,5,7

1,2,3,4,7,8

4

1,2,3,4,5,9

1,4,6

6

2, 3, 4

2,4,5,6

7

1,2,3,5

 

9

1,2,3,4,5,6,

2

10

1, 2,5,6

 

11

1,2,3,4,5

1,2,3

12

1,2,3,4,5,6,7

1,2 5

13

1,2,3,4,6

3,4,8

14

1,2,3,4

2

15

1,2