Cal Poly Pomona, Fall 2009 Class Meets in 1-309
Professor: Bruce Brown TuTh 8-9:50
Required Website: : http://www.aplia.com Office: 1-339; Phone: (909) 869-5074
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hrs. Tu 10-1 & Th 10-12 PM
ECONOMICS 201 Section 8, CRN 72273 -- Principles of Microeconomics
Background and Motivation:
Economics can be defined as “the study of allocation of scarce resources by societies, firms, and households.”
Although many definitions exist, most include the terms “allocation” and “scarcity.” While economics is
closely related to business management, it is not directly about how to run a business firm or how to make
money in the stock market. Nonetheless, economic reasoning is useful and should indirectly help individuals
make beneficial market decisions. The relationship between economics and business is similar to that between
physics and engineering. In both comparisons the former is more theoretical, and the latter more applied.
Economics is a “social science” along with political science, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. It
analyzes the behavior of people. Economics focuses directly on individual consumers and producers and how
their interaction in markets can influence resource allocation (who gets what). In contrast, sociology focuses
directly on groups, their goals, perspectives and behavior. At some universities the economics department is in
the business school (e.g., Cal State Northridge), while at others it is grouped with social sciences (e.g., Cal Poly
Pomona, where it is in the College of Letters Arts and Social Sciences, or “CLASS”).
Microeconomics (EC201) examines the behavior of producers, consumers, and governments in the economy
and how these decision making “agents” interact within markets. It addresses determination of prices in
individual markets and how price changes effect production and consumption. In contrast, Macroeconomics
(EC202) focus on aggregate or economy-wide values such as national output, unemployment, interest rates, and
price inflation (or deflation).
Most students must devote a considerable amount of time to this course to understand the material. Expect to
read text material several times. Regular class attendance is essential and required.
Course Goals for Students:
i) Gain a basic understanding of economic ways of thinking and approaching questions.
ii) Be able to use simple theory to analyze real world issues. For example, understand and be able to use the
production possibility frontier; supply and demand; and cost curve models.
iii) Understand and be able to use the terminology of economics. For example: scarcity; opportunity cost;
efficiency; production; property rights; supply; demand; equilibrium; elasticity; utility; maximization; tax
incidence; government spending; regulation; short run; long run; firms; economic profit; accounting profit;
average cost; marginal cost; market structure (i.e., pure competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, and
oligopoly); cartels; collusion; price discrimination; antitrust regulation; international trade; quota; and tariff.
iv) Understand the role of “simple” and necessarily untrue models in describing the real world.
v) Appreciate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the economic approach in analyzing real world
phenomena (e.g., production; consumption; trade; income and wealth differences; business behavior; and
government policy), in comparison to approaches found in other social sciences.
vi) Understand how assumptions can be useful to clarify complicated real world phenomena, but how
different assumptions may lead to different implications. Understand how one’s beliefs regarding
appropriateness of particular assumptions influence beliefs regarding government policy and individual
behavior (e.g., how those who think consumers are well-informed and rational, and markets competitive, are
more likely to believe selfish behavior of one person in a particular situation will help rather than hurt others).
Grades are based exclusively on points (500 maximum) earned by students on:
i) one comprehensive (covering all material in the course) final exam (40% = 200 points)
ii) two midterm exams worth 100 points each, (in total 40%, = 200 points)
iii) problem sets submitted online via APLIA (20% = 100 points)
Students must bring a scantron #882 (or 882E , or 882E-Lovas) to enter answers for the objective portion, and a
photo ID to each exam.
Grade distribution: A: 90 % - 100 % of possible points; (e.g., 360 or more points)
B: 75 % - 90 % “ “ (e.g., 300 – 359 points)
C: 60 % - 75 % “ “ (e.g., 240 – 299 points)
D: 50 % - 60 % “ “ (e.g., 200 – 239 points)
F: below 50 % “ “ (e.g., below 200 points)
Students who miss a midterm will receive a score of zero points unless they have a physically documented
excuse, (e.g., a hospital record). In the event of a documented, excused, absence, the weight from the missed
exam will be placed on the final exam. If the final exam is missed, and an easily verifiable excuse is presented
before course grades are calculated, the student may receive an incomplete grade. Academic dishonesty will
result in an “F” grade for the class, and will be reported to Cal Poly’s Director of Judicial Affairs. Examples of
academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating during exams, use of unauthorized study aids, document
falsification) are defined in the university catalog under Policies and Regulations: Academic Integrity.
-- Aplia website access for $80 at: https://econ.aplia.com/af/servlet/login
This provides an eText version of our required textbook: Principles of Microeconomics, 5th edition, by N.G.
Mankiw which students may access online for the duration of the class. It also provides problem sets which
students submit online via Aplia. For students who would like a hardcopy of the text, they may purchase this
via our textbook store – but be sure to purchase the NEW version WITH Aplia Access code. A new hard
copy may also be purchased via Aplia when purchasing access to their site for an additional $45 plus shipping.
Students may use a used copy of this text, but will also have to purchase Aplia access as well. Realize the 4th
edition very similar to the 5th (the primary change was reversing Ch 16 & 17). Students may consider
purchasing a used copy of the 4th edition to supplement the eText accessible via Aplia (the 4th edition should
be very inexpensive at this point - see online booksellers such as Amazon). I have placed a copy of the 4th
edition of our text on two hour reserve in the library.
Tentative Course Outline - any deviations will be announced in class and posted on the message-board
Class will NOT meet Tuesday 10/20 or Thursday 11/12 as I chose this as one of the “furlough days”
Week Topics Chapters in Mankiw
2 Introduction, opportunity cost and production possibilities frontier (PPF) Ch. 1 & 2
3 Supply and demand, Elasticities; Ch. 4 & 5
4 Price floors and ceilings, excise & sales tax, Exam 1 - Thursday 10/15 Ch. 6
(Aplia Ch. 6 due 10/17)
5 Consumer and producer surplus - no class meeting Tu 10/20 Ch. 7 & 8
6 Efficiency; tax systems production &costs; cost curves, perfect competition Ch. 12, 13 & 14
7 Exam 2 - Tuesday 11/10 - no class meeting Th 11/12
8 Monopoly, regulation, price discrimination, monopolistic competition Ch. 15 & 16
9 Oligopoly, game theory, public goods, Ch. 17 & 10
10 Rivalry and excludability in consumption, Comparative advantage Ch 11
11 International Trade with PPFs and Supply/Demand Models Ch. 3 (p.45-52, 53-57) & 9
Classical & Keynesian views, Review
Final Exam Tuesday Dec. 8, 7:00 – 9:00 AM, in 1-309
- This course requires purchase and use of the Aplia: https://econ.aplia.com/af/servlet/login
- If you have difficulty accessing the required course website, speak to me ASAP (as soon as possible).
- Students should exchange emails addresses and/or phone numbers with at least one classmate. Be sure to find
out what happened in any class you may miss. Studying in groups is encouraged, though not required.
Student Registration and Payment Instructions
Course Name: EC 201 Regular in-class
Start Date: 09/24/2009
Instructor: Bruce C Brown
Course Key: M29G-DDG8-JUB9
You can begin working on your homework as soon as you register!
• In this course, you will use a textbook and Aplia's website.
• In most cases, you can save money if you buy Aplia and your textbook together. See payment
• You will have access to a digital version of your textbook using Aplia.
If you have never used Aplia before...
1. Connect to http://www.aplia.com.
2. Click the New Student link and enter your Course Key: M29G-DDG8-JUB9. Continue following the
instructions to complete your registration.
If you have used Aplia before...
1. Connect to http://www.aplia.com.
2. Sign in with your usual e-mail address and password and enter your Course Key when prompted: M29G-
DDG8-JUB9. If you are not prompted for a new Course Key, click the Enter Course Key button to enroll
in a new Aplia course. Enter your Course Key when you are prompted.
* You will have different payment options after you register for your course. If you choose to pay later, you
can use Aplia without paying until 11:59 PM on 10/04/2009.
Option 1: Digital Textbook with Aplia Access
• From Aplia: Purchase access to your course from Aplia's website for $80.00 USD.
Option 2: Physical Textbook with Aplia Access (also includes digital textbook)
• From Aplia: Purchase access to your course for $80.00 USD and a physical book for $45.00 USD
from Aplia's website.
• From Bookstore: Purchase an Aplia Access Card and a physical book together as a bundle from
your campus bookstore.
* If you purchased an Aplia Access Card from a bookstore, enter the Access Card's payment code on Aplia's
website as payment for your Aplia course.
* You will have access to your digital textbook up until the end of this course