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COURSE NUMBER: ECON 309
COURSE TITLE: Intermediate Applied Microeconomic Theory
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Gerda Kits
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Expansion and deeper examination of the major microeconomic theories, including those related to consumer behaviour, production, market structures, and market failures. The role that these theories have played in the development of Canadian economic policies and goals will be a major focus of the course. Descriptive and evaluative data on the Canadian situation will be examined throughout.

Prerequisites: ECON 203, 204
REQUIRED TEXTS: Required text: Frank, Robert H., Ian C. Parker, and Ingela Alger. Microeconomics & Behaviour. Fifth Canadian edition. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2013. 
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT: This course uses a grading scheme called specifications grading. This is intended to make grading transparent and allow students to flexibly adapt the course to their own goals. The course is divided into four units. Your grade depends on how many units you pass and at what level. 
  • Level 1 pass: Earn at least 80% on a short test based on Level 1 material for that unit. (Note: this is not like earning 80% on a regular exam. These are the easiest questions that would be asked on an exam. Also, if you fail the first time, you can try again.)
  • Level 2 pass: Earn at least 85% on a test of Level 2 material for that unit. 
  • Level 3 pass: Write a short paper drawing on material from the unit; specific assignments will be distributed for each unit. Papers are graded pass/fail based on whether the paper satisfies all the criteria specified in the assignment. Papers are due one week after the test day for that unit.
You must pass each unit at two consecutive levels (or twice at Level 1) to earn credit for that unit. Your pass level for the unit is the highest level you complete. You cannot skip directly from Level 1 to Level 3.

 Grades will be assigned as follows:
  • * F: Pass fewer than 2 units.
  • * D: Pass 2 units at Level 1 or higher
  • * D+: Pass 3 units at Level 1 or higher
  • * C-: Pass 4 units at Level 1 or higher
  • * C: Pass all 4 units at Level 1, plus any 1 at Level 2 or higher
  • * C+: Pass all 4 units at Level 1, plus any 2 at Level 2 or higher
  • * B-: Pass all 4 units at Level 1, plus any 3 at Level 2 or higher
  • * B: Pass all 4 units at Level 2 or higher
  • * B+: Pass all 4 units at Level 2, plus any 1 at Level 3
  • * A-: Pass all 4 units at Level 2, plus any 2 at Level 3
  • * A: Pass all 4 units at Level 2, plus any 3 at Level 3
  • * A+: Pass all 4 units at Level 3 
COURSE  OBJECTIVES: This course has three main goals. The first is to deepen your understanding of the theories that economists use to explain the behaviour of individuals, firms and markets. The second is to examine how these theories can be applied to Canadian public policy issues and how they shape current policy approaches. The third is to encourage you to begin questioning and critiquing these theories and their policy implications, especially from a Christian perspective. As we will see, these theories rest on many hidden assumptions and value judgements, as well as a particular understanding of what constitutes valid economic thinking. It is important to understand and evaluate these assumptions, rather than simply accepting the theories and their implications at face value.

This course examines the same theories covered in Intro Micro, but in more depth and with more use of the “rigorous” analytical techniques (i.e. graphs and math) that economists typically rely on to develop these theories. This approach is necessary for understanding the fundamental assumptions that lie behind the conclusions that we have already studied in the Intro course. Most of the basic concepts should already be familiar to you, so it is hoped that the addition of these analytical methods will not add too great a degree of difficulty. While is important that you understand the theory, the focus will be less on memorization of the techniques than your ability to apply them to real cases and to critique them in an informed and thoughtful way.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Sept. 2  Welcome & introduction to course
  • Sept. 5  No class - Labour Day
  • Sept. 7  Supply & demand review (Ch. 2)
  • Sept. 9  Unit 1: Consumer theory and demand curves (Ch. 3-5)
  • Sept. 21 No class - I.S. Conference
  • Sept. 30 Unit 1 test day
  • Oct. 3  Unit 2: Behavioural economics (Ch. 7-8)
  • Oct. 10  No class - Thanksgiving Day
  • Oct. 19  Unit 2 test day
  • Oct. 21  Unit 3: Theory of the firm and perfect competition (Ch. 9-11)
  • Nov. 11  No class - Remembrance Day
  • Nov. 21  Unit 3 test day
  • Nov. 23  Unit 4: Market power - monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition (Ch. 12-13)
  • Dec. 7  Unit 4 optional test day (can alternatively be written during final exam period)


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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