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Intro to Microeconomics

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of microeconomics, and by doing so teach students the basics of how to think about economics. Students who adequately complete this three-week course will be well prepared to study economics at the university level. The solid foundation in economic analysis should also benefit students planning to take the AP examination in microeconomics.

The course has three objectives. First, it will introduce students to how product markets work. Students will develop intuition by learning the core concepts of economics: scarcity of resources, opportunity cost, comparative advantage and trade, property rights, and marginal analysis. Using this intuition, students will study how consumers and producers interact in the marketplace. They will learn how demand and supply jointly determine market prices in equilibrium, how price changes affect consumer or producer behavior, and how markets affect consumer utility and produce value for society.

Second, the course will cover how government policies affect markets. Students will study how price controls and taxes impact supply and demand. They will learn how to estimate the revenue raised by taxes and the cost placed on society. The course will also explain the positive effects of government in remedying various market failures, such as externalities, public goods, and anticompetitive practices.

Third, the course will explain how firms make decisions about production. It will introduce the concepts of diminishing returns and economies of scale. Students will learn how firms make decisions in the short- and long-run, and how to measure profits and quantities of good produced. The course will also introduce students to monopolies, and show how their decisions differ from firms engaging in perfect competition.

Students should be fluent in the concepts of microeconomics by the end of this course. They should be able to combine abstract concepts with formal analytical tools, in order to understand how consumers and producers make choices, and how those choices affect market outcomes. They will learn both the benefits that free markets provide to society, and their limitations in dealing with certain problems. Students will also become familiar with most of the concepts included on the AP exam in microeconomics.

The course requires knowledge of mathematics at the Algebra II level or higher, but no prior exposure to economics.